Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Wynonna, “I Saw the Light”

“I Saw the Light”

Wynonna

Written by Lisa Angelle and Andrew Gold

Billboard

#1 (3 weeks)

July 4 – July 18, 1992

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

June 26, 1992

Wynonna tops the charts with the most played song of 1992.

The Road to No. 1

Wynonna’s debut album had already produced a No. 1 single with its lead-off release, “She is His Only Need.”  MCA/Curb followed with an uptempo hit that became the first female single to spend three weeks at No. 1 since Anne Murray’s “I Just Fall in Love Again” in 1979.

The No. 1

Wynonna is not covering the Hank Williams classic here.  Instead, this is a kiss-off number directed at a cheating lover.  It has the rhythm and cadence of a classic sixties girl group hit, infused with just enough twang to keep the proceedings country.

And it’s funny.  The setup is particularly damning:  “Baby when the curtains moved, I couldn’t believe the view. I saw the light in your window tonight.  I saw two shadows holding each other tight.”   Believing her eyes over his lies, she wryly notes that “they say that love is blind.  Baby, not this time.”

It’s another winner in a string of them from her outstanding debut album.

The Road From No. 1

“I Saw the Light” topped the year-end Billboard chart for 1992, even though it wasn’t the longest-running No. 1 single of the year.  It wasn’t Wynonna’s longest-running chart-topper either. That’s up next.

“I Saw the Light” gets an A. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Joe Diffie, “Ships That Don’t Come In”

4 Comments

  1. Great song! It would have been so fun to be a country music fan in the early nineties when all of these songs were released. I didn’t start becoming a fan until late ’93. If I’m remembering correctly, “Rock Bottom” was the Wynonna song that was on the charts at that time.

  2. This is also one of my top favorites of Wynonna’s solo singles! Unlike many of the other number ones recently covered here, this one remained a steady recurrent on the radio for us for the rest of the decade and into the early 00’s. And I would always absolutely love it every time it came on! Today, it’s still just as catchy and enjoyable as when it first came out.

    This is the song that brings back the most memories of when my parents and I were looking at new houses during the summer of 1992, before we had settled on the one we’d eventually move into. I remember this song playing on the radio just when we were pulling up to a house we were about to check out, and having it still going through my head while we were all in the kitchen which had this nice big white ceiling fan (ceiling fans were another one of my biggest fascinations as a little kid, and it was one of the first things I’d always look for when we checked out a new house, lol). Overall, this song just screams Summer of 1992 for me, and it brings back a lot of great memories. :) I also remember this song still getting a lot of recurrent airplay around late 1998/early 1999 and really enjoying it at that time, as well.

    Overall, I really enjoy all four of Wynonna’s singles from this album!

    Leeann – “Rock Bottom” is another song I wouldn’t get to hear until much later, since I was more busy listening to my mom’s favorite oldies stations by late ’93 (A choice I sometimes kick myself for making, but I’m also very thankful for the great 50’s and 60’s music I discovered then). Actually, I wouldn’t hear that one until my dad put Sirius in his car around 2004.

  3. Leann,I have shared in previous posts how alive the entire country music scene from this era felt to a high school kid in Minnesota. Prior to this boom in popularity, country music classics were something I read about in magazines, discovered on my own through my parents’ vinyl collection, or oddly, through the library. Up until 1986, country music was an artifact to be discovered from the past. Discovery always involved looking backwards. The best country music necessarily seemed to be of the past. That was just the deal. Loving country music was a back street affair.

    Suddenly new stars rose in real time on the charts. People other than musical archeologists were into the sounds and songs of Nashville. Country music was young and alive. The 90’s turned everything around for me and had me eagerly looking forward. Country was inescapably cool.

    Hearing new songs, and loving them for their excellence, as they climbed the charts and won awards was such a thrill. To see those same songs later celebrated and honoured a as classics is surreal. Aaron Tippin’s “When Country Took the Throne” touches on some of the pride and excitement that came from being there “when the whole world sang along” to a country song.

    To stay on point, this Wynonna song is one of those classics the whole world seemingly sang along with.

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