Written by Max T. Barnes and Skip Ewing
#1 (3 weeks)
January 4 – January 18, 1992
Radio & Records
#1 (3 weeks)
December 20, 1991 – January 3, 1992
A breakthrough hit for Collin Raye ends 1991 on a high note.
The Road to No. 1
Collin Raye had already been a professional recording artist for many years by the time he broke through as a solo artist. He got his start in the family band The Wray Brothers Band, which used the spelling of his given name. Later, they shortened their name to The Wrays, with Collin adopting the stage name Bubba Wray. The band was intermittently active on the country charts for a long stretch in the eighties, first for independent labels and then with Mercury Records, where they had their biggest hit, “You Lay a Lotta Love On Me,” which peaked at No. 48 in 1987.
After they were dropped from Mercury, Bubba Wray become Collin Raye and he earned a solo deal with Epic Records. His first single, “All I Can Be (is a Sweet Memory)” was a moderate hit, peaking just outside the top twenty. The label followed up with “Love, Me.”
The No. 1
How many more times are we going to have new artists release instant classics?
“Love, Me” is the tender but powerful tale of a young couple that doesn’t have the blessing of the girl’s parents, and are forced to live apart for a while before they can be together.
Then we get the sucker punch in the second verse, and find out that the tale of young love that a grandfather is telling his grandson is being shared at a church, while his grandmother is nearing her death.
Raye’s empathetic and sincere delivery further heighten the emotional impact of one of the best country songs of the decade. He’d go on to record some more great records through the years, but with the exception of a No. 1 we will cover when we get to the summer of 1994, he never quite reached these heights again.
The Road From No. 1
And just like that, Collin Raye was a core radio artist, and would remain so for the rest of the decade. Epic released one more single from All I Can Be, the top five hit “Every Second.” We’ll see Collin again in the fall of 1992 with the lead single and title track from his sophomore album.
“Love, Me” gets an A.