Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Brooks & Dunn, “Neon Moon”

“Neon Moon”

Brooks & Dunn

Written by Ronnie Dunn

Billboard

#1 (2 weeks)

May 9 – May 16, 1992

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

May 1, 1992

Brooks & Dunn’s third No. 1 single is their best yet.

The Road to No. 1

Brand New Man produced No. 1 singles with the title track and “My Next Broken Heart.”  Arista Nashville followed them up with the duo’s first ballad, and it repeated the success of its uptempo predecessors.

The No. 1

We just wrote about “Neon Moon” as part of our endless Sirius feature, where it was featured as the highest-ranked single from the legendary duo.

It was their highest ranked single, which was one of the few times that Sirius got it right.

“Neon Moon” is a flawless honky tonk ballad, brilliantly sung and cleverly written: “If you lose your one and only, there’s always room here for the lonely, to watch your broken dreams dance in and out of the beams of a neon moon.”

They became true superstars with the line dance craze inspired by their next single, but this is the hit that has best stood the test of time from their excellent debut album.

The Road From No. 1

Get your boots on.  We’re gonna boogie later this year.

“Neon Moon” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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12 Comments

  1. The debut album from Brooks and Dunn was a revelation to country music. Especially with what duos put together by record companies could achieve. Having said that, for 30 years I have always felt that releasing all singles from this album with Ronnie’s lead vocals overshadowed any leads that Kix Brooks did later. Kix did some GREAT leads!!

  2. Great song, of course, but I always felt that Kix Brooks was underrated as a vocalist. The relatively unsuccessful TIGHT ROPE album, which features more vocal spotlight on Kix, remains one of my favorite B&D albums although it could have been sequenced better

  3. Another true classic from B&D’s debut album! No matter how many times I’ve heard it by now, it still sounds just as good as when I first heard it on that album. The production is simply perfect for the mood of the song. I love the fiddle, steel, and keyboards, plus I also love the electric guitar heard throughout, including the memorable solo. This also remains as one of Ronnie Dunn’s finest performances of his career. And finally, I love the imagery in some of the lyrics (Ex: “There’s a run down bar across the railroad tracks” and “I see you in the shadows of this smoke filled room”). It’s yet another song in which as soon as I hear the intro and Ronnie’s voice, I’m instantly back in the early 90’s.

    Brooks & Dunn’s debut album was another one my step dad and I bought when we were still staying in my dad’s house in early 1992, and I believe either this or “My Next Broken Heart” was the current single at the time. When we got home and listened to the cd together track by track, I remember the first two songs (“Brand New Man” and “My Next Broken Heart”) instantly ringing a bell, and for the first time, I was able to put the name and faces together with those songs. I also remember this song being one of the standouts for us on the cd (along with “Lost And Found” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie”), and it wasn’t too long after that I started hearing it often on the radio, as well. It pretty much remained a constant presence on the radio throughout the rest of 1992 and even into early 1993. For instance, I remember hearing it one night while we were driving and hauling some of our stuff to put into our new house later that summer. I also remember still hearing it often around late 92/early 93 as I was starting a new school year in a new elementary school. It was during this time that I would always think Ronnie was saying “Watch your broken dreams dance in and out of the BEANS” lol! Needless to say, that was back when I still didn’t have much of a clue on what most of these songs were really saying, lol. Of course, as I got older, I came to really appreciate the cleverness of that line. Oh yeah, this song did get on one of my tapes from early 93, as well. :)

    Paul – I’m completely with you on Kix being very underrated as a vocalist. I personally love a lot of the songs he sang lead on, including the great, catchy “Lost And Found” from this album (which really should’ve been number one, too). I’m also with you on the Tight Rope album. That’s actually become one of my personal favorite B&D albums, with the Kix lead vocal songs being one of the major factors. I absolutely love “Don’t Look Back Now,” “The Trouble With Angels,” “I Love You More,” “Can’t Stop My Heart,” and “Texas and Norma Jean” from that album, and Kix does some of his best singing on those songs, imo.

  4. This is such a great song!

    I like Kix Brooks’ voice for what it is, but I don’t love it. Ronnie is a much stronger singer and I don’t think Kix would’ve been able to pull off many of the hits that Ronnie sang lead on whereas I do think Ronnie could have easily pulled off the songs that Kix sang lead on.

  5. Fantastic song that sounds as good today as it did back then.

    I agree with some of the comments re: Kix Brooks. I appreciated the contrast between the two singers and enjoyed having the variety in the songs. Ronnie Dunn is a superior singer, but some of my favourite B&D songs are ones where Kix sings lead (particularly “Lost and Found” and “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone”).

  6. Sounds like “Lost and Found” would be pretty high up on many people’s list of favourite B&D songs!

  7. This song is pegged to another high school memory for me. A good friend and I worked on the school yearbook. I distinctly remember listening to this song while working after hours in the school to meet a deadline. I think we even managed to incorporate a few of the lyrics into some of the yearbook copy!

    This song was so good it managed to reclaim “neon” as relevant country signifier for a whole new generation of country listeners. Chris Young could confidently sing about his favourite colour being neon because of this work Brooks & Dunn did celebrating neon in 1992.

    It’s a classic.

  8. Leeann – I really love “Why Would I Say Goodbye,” as well! Sadly, that’s another one of their “lost” hits, as I never heard it on the radio again after its chart run was done. Some great memories with that one, too!

    Kevin and Frank – “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone” is also one of my favorites, and it’s one of the first ones I think of when it comes to the Kix Brooks leads.

    I always liked “Days Of Thunder” from their first Greatest Hits collection, as well, and I remember at the time wanting it to be a single, but unfortunately it never was.

    There is no doubt that Ronnie Dunn has one of the finest voices in the genre, and is the superior vocalist of the two. His voice was especially perfect for much of the honky tonk material they did in the 90’s. That said, I always thought Kix had a good voice, as well, and had his own more laid back style that was also likeable. As Frank mentioned, I like how the two different vocal styles made for some variety on their albums. Even when I first heard the Brand New Man album as a little kid, I remember thinking how neat it was having two different voices featured on different songs, though I admit Ronnie’s voice did stand out more to me at the time.

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