Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Tracy Lawrence, “Today’s Lonely Fool”

“Today’s Lonely Fool”

Tracy Lawrence

Written by Kenny Beard and Stan Paul Davis 

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

April 24, 1992

Tracy Lawrence goes two for two.

The Road to No. 1

Following his chart-topping debut single, “Sticks and Stones,” Tracy Lawrence repeated the feat with his second single.

The No. 1

“Today’s Lonely Fool” is a reflective ballad about jealousy and regret.   The chorus is as good as anything he’s ever done, making the wry observation that “yesterday’s jealous man is today’s lonely fool.”

The verses don’t quite measure up to that chorus, particularly the half-spoken, half-sung second verse that awkwardly promises to be proud when other men check his partner out.

But Lawrence could sing the phone book and still sound great.  (Indeed, he often did.)

The Road From No. 1

One more No. 1 is on deck from Sticks and Stones.  We’ll get to it later this year.

“Today’s Lonely Fool” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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5 Comments

  1. As was first pointed out with his debut single, Lawrence is such a gifted vocalist he can elevate a less realized lyric to something special. On this song he alternates snarling and growling his way through the song with a smooth, almost crooning- capability. He even flirts with a recitation. For a second single from a debut album, Lawrence displays and impressive facility with his vocal range and style.

    I think this song is great performance of a good song. What is the cliche about superstar athletes, that they make the players around them better?

    Lawrence is one of those singers who can be described as a songwriter’s best friend. He can straighten out a limp lyric in short order.

  2. This has always been one of my favorites of Tracy Lawrence’s early singles, and probably one of my favorite songs of his of all time. It’s also another one that brings back so much early 90’s nostalgia for me! I’ve always loved the song’s beautiful melody, and the solid production with some lovely steel playing, and even some great harmonica in the first verse (Randy Travis’s music, which also featured harmonica pretty often, still seemed to be a big influence). I also love Tracy’s emotional and sincere performance, and the crooning style (as Peter pointed out) he took on here. You just can’t help but want Tracy’s character in the song to be forgiven, thanks to his convincing performance. I’ve always loved the recitation part in the second verse as well, and I always thought that it was pretty cool that recitations in songs were still around in the early 90’s. Another thing worth noting is how surprised I was when I eventually find out that he was only 23 when he released his first album. He had always sounded older to me, especially on this song, as well as “Somebody Paints The Wall” and others.

    Of course, this song brings back memories from when my step dad got me Tracy’s first album on cassette in early 1992, as I had mentioned in the Sticks And Stones entry. Also, I always enjoyed this song whenever it came on the radio, and I even got it on a couple of my tapes. One of my favorite tapes I recorded in early 1992 includes this song, plus “Born Country” by Alabama, “Where’ve You Been” by Kathy Mattea, “Cadillac Style” by Sammy Kershaw, “Linda On My Mind” by Conway Twitty, “Oklahoma Swing” by Vince and Reba, “Treat Me Like A Stranger” by Baillie & The Boys, “My First Taste Of Texas by Ed Bruce, “Waitin’ For The Deal To Go Down” by Dixiana, “Home” by Joe Diffie, “Til I’m Holding You Again,” by Pirates Of The Mississippi, “Down That Road Tonight” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Jealous Bone” by Patty Loveless, “Every Second” by Collin Raye, and “Bonnie Jean (Little Sister)” by David Lynn Jones. That’s probably one of the tapes that brings back the most memories of when we were living in my dad’s house. :) I remember we had our big stereo in one room, plus dad’s old stereo in another room, and the little pink radio in our bedroom all on at the same time while I was recording it, lol.

    I also got it on another tape I recorded in early 1993, and I remember this song really taking me back when I was revisiting that tape around early 1996, as it had already been quite a while since I heard it on the radio. Unfortunately, none of Tracy’s singles from his debut album seemed to get much recurrent airplay in our area.

  3. By the way, I absolutely love this pic of young Tracy! I really miss those colorful western shirts that everybody was wearing back then! Also love the mullets and he, Aaron Tippin, Joe Diffie, Billy Dean, and countless others were sporting back then.

  4. This is not one of my favorite Tracy Lawrence songs.

    I’m never a fan of a random spoken word part of a song. I’m okay if the whole thing is spoken, but I don’t like the sudden/random speking of a couple lines in a song. It almost works for me in “He Stopped Loving Her today”, since George Jones makes it sound so forlorn, but I’d still probably prefer that he just sang it instead.

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