Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Little Texas, “What Might Have Been”

“What Might Have Been”

Little Texas

Written by Porter Howell, Dwayne O’Brien, and Brady Seals

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 20, 1993

A sextet kicks off a run of three consecutive No. 1 singles.

The Road to No. 1

Little Texas experienced success earlier than many bands, scoring a recording contract in 1989, just one year after establishing their name and lineup.   Three years after they signed with Warner Bros., they released their debut album, First Time For Everything, which produced four top twenty hits, including the top five ballad “You and Forever and Me.”

The album would eventually sell gold after the band broke through commercially with their sophomore set, the aptly titled Big Time.  Its first three singles went to No. 1, starting with the nostalgic ballad featured today.

The No. 1

“What Might Have Been” is warmly delivered and tastefully produced, with lead singer Tim Rushlow giving a heartfelt and earnest performance.

The backup harmonies don’t do much to elevate the record, and it’s easy to imagine Collin Raye knocking this out of the park with studio singers in a way that Little Texas can’t quite pull off.

Honestly, it’s the video that I remembered most when revisiting this song.  I remembered all of the dialogue played over the track better than the song itself.

Still, this is the best of their three chart toppers by a wide margin.

The Road From No. 1

Unsolicited airplay preceded the release of their next single, which we’ll cover before the end of 1993.

“What Might Have Been” gets a B.

 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Sawyer Brown, “Thank God For You”

5 Comments

  1. This is definitely one of Little Texas’ best singles, imo. I personally love it, and it’s one I always enjoyed hearing on the radio. The beautiful melody, Tim Rushlow’s performance, and the harmonies have always been a winning combination for me. Speaking of the harmonies, I have to disagree about them not adding anything special to the song. The band members’ harmonies have always stood out to me on this particular track, especially during the more stripped down part of the song after the bridge, and on the last “what might have been..” at the very end. It always sounded quite beautiful to me.

    My introduction to Little Texas was “Some Guys Have All The Love” in the Fall of ’91, and that’s probably the song of theirs that brings back the most fond early childhood memories for me. I actually love all the singles off their debut album, and wish at least one of them reached the top. I do remember hearing “What Might’ve Been” a few times in 1993 when it was new, and when I really got back into country radio in the mid 90’s, I instantly remembered it when hearing it as a recurrent, and it’s one I always loved hearing on the radio from that point on. It was actually still getting some decent recurrent play around 2003-2004, not long before I started to bail on country radio for good.

    As for the video, I remember being a bit annoyed by it as a kid when the characters would talk over parts of the song because I more interested in hearing the song, instead of following the video’s story. As I got older and matured though, I grew to appreciate it more, and now I think it’s one of the more touching country videos of the decade.

  2. This song came out just a bit before I got into country music, but I heard it a lot on a pop station that I listened to. So, I was surprised to learn that it was a country song by a country group when I started listening to country radio. It’s when I started learning what crossover hits was. I liked the song.

  3. It’s telling the video and the collective amount of hair is more memorable than the performance itself. For years, things had been coming up roses in country music with all the classic songs and artists. Things started to smell off in Nashville with the arrival of Little Texas.

    “What Might Have Been” is inoffensive, soft, and muted. Tailor made MOR to maximize crossover appeal.

    Stephen H. -I would love to hear why you rank this song so highly and what about it resonates with you. I ask because I distrust myself when I so quickly dismiss a song and/or an artist.

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