“I Love the Way You Love Me”
John Michael Montgomery
Written by Chuck Cannon and Victoria Shaw
#1 (3 weeks)
May 15 – May 29, 1993
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
May 14, 1993
The first post-Garth superstar arrives.
The Road to No. 1
A native of Kentucky, John Michael Montgomery was another breakthrough country star of this era that got his start in a musical family. His parents had a popular family band that included his older brother Eddie, who would later become part of the superstar country duo Montgomery Gentry. John Michael was the last to join that band, and after his parents divorced, he began performing on his own.
Atlantic Records spotted him at a live show and quickly signed him to their new Nashville division. His debut album, Life’s a Dance was launched with the top five title track. The label then released the first of his many smash love ballads.
The No. 1
The influence of Garth Brooks is all over this record. Indeed, John Michael Montgomery was the first big country star to break through by clearly following Garth’s successful formula.
“I Love the Way You Love Me” is co-written by a Garth alum – Victoria Shaw – who had her breakthrough by co-writing “The River.” Montgomery’s phrasing and delivery sound eerily similar to Garth’s earliest hit ballads, but he doesn’t have the same level of interpretive skill as a vocalist.
So we end up with something that is going to become very common in the next three years: a guy in a hat singing like Garth and looking like Garth, but coming off as a bland imitation of him.
To Montgomery’s credit, he’d carve out a bit more of an individual niche for himself with his later records, and he isn’t anywhere near the worst of the hat act wave. If anything, he was one of the best.
But the era of distinctive traditional vocalists breaking through with their own unique styles was coming to an end, as country music became a bigger business that looked to preserve its market share by giving audiences more of what they already had.
The Road From No. 1
“Beer and Bones,” a hilarious honky tonk number that had more personality than Montgomery’s first two singles combined, peaked outside the top twenty when it was released as the follow-up single to “I Love the Way You Love Me.” So Atlantic readied a sophomore set that would feature four different love songs as its singles. The first and biggest of these will be covered in early 1994.
“I Love the Way You Love Me” gets a B.
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