This feature is back upon popular request. Today, we'll look back at the top twenty country singles from sixteen years ago. For the writers of this site, the nineties are considered a golden age in country music. In 1992, the genre was nearing its commercial peak, and some of the greatest artists of that era were coming into their own. However, there was still quite a bit of chaff among the wheat.
Top 20 Country Songs
August 15, 1992
“You and Forever and Me”
This is the prototypical early nineties country ballad, one part Alabama and two parts Restless Heart. There was always a faceless quality to the harmonies of Little Texas, and there's nothing particularly distinctive about their material here, either. C
There's a quaint charm to this single, by a band that never quite made an impact. But in the end, it's pretty forgettable. B-
He's mostly remembered for his horrendously sappy love songs, but when he put his impressive vocal chops to work on a honky-tonk number, the results were fantastic. Ironically, it's most of his other work that should carry warning labels, particularly for diabetics. This one's a winner. B+
“I Wouldn't Have it Any Other Way”
Nobody did working class anthems better than Aaron Tippin. Given that nobody's doing them at all anymore, at least on country radio, this is even more welcome listening now than it was back then. A
“Five O'Clock World”
Leave it to Ketchum to transform this pop hit into blue-eyed country soul. His vocal on the chorus is otherworldly. A-
“Could've Been Me”
Billy Ray Cyrus
He wasn't the one-hit wonder he's often remembered to be, and his follow-up to “Achy Breaky Heart” was a much better record. B+
“I Saw the Light”
The singles off of Wynonna's debut solo album struck a perfect balance between smart material and radio-friendly production. This is one of her biggest and most charming hits. A
“A Woman Loves”
Sweet, simple and honest. All the hallmarks of a good Steve Wariner record. B
“I Still Believe in You”
A masterpiece ballad. It won the CMA for Song of the Year, and deservedly so. A+
“What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am”
Lee Roy Parnell
It's amazing how effective
ly Nashville smoothed the edges of Lee Roy Parnell's music to make it palatable to country radio. It's a solid song, but the muted production doesn't serve it well. B.
“Billy the Kid”
Dean's autobiographical trip down memory lane manages to be cute without cloying. B+
This gem from his debut album is a great example of how a song can be conventional and radio-friendly, but still an enjoyable listen. He's one of the best B-listers country music ever had. B+
It's an inspirational classic that I never found that inspiring, but I love the production and Garth's vocal on it. B
“This One's Gonna Hurt You (For a Long, Long Time)”
Marty Stuart & Travis Tritt
Good things always happened when these two paired up. Stuart's the stronger force on this one, and he grounds it in traditional country. B+
“If Your Heart Ain't Busy Tonight”
Those trying to make the case that Tucker's later hits weren't nearly as compelling as those from her early days can use this as Exhibit A. B-
“I'll Think of Something”
Chesnutt's searing take on this Hank Jr. classic is one of his strongest performances ever, a honky-tonk tour de force that would make Jones and Haggard proud. A+
“I Feel Lucky”
Mary Chapin Carpenter
Oh, for the days when something this intelligent could find a home on country radio. Carpenter's wry sense of humor makes this a winning single, and won her a second Grammy and a surprise victory at the CMA's for Female Vocalist.. A
“Take a Little Trip”
They held on to their slot at radio much longer than most of their eighties counterparts by freshening up their sound to keep up with changing times. This single's a good example of that. B+
“We Tell Ourselves”
This was one of Black's best singles ever, a ferocious performance that he tears into with all he's got. The instrumental work that closes it is nothing short of astounding. A+
“Boot Scootin' Boogie”
Brooks & Dunn
It was originally the b-side to their debut smash “Brand New Man”, but when it was sent to radio, it became a monster hit. For better or worse, the groove that was first introduced with this single has been part of their sound ever since. B
OK – I probably own at least half of the albums listed on this — that scares me – I have been listening to country for longer than I thought —
I’m glad you brought this feature back. Seeing as how I wasn’t even actively listening to country music back in the 90’s (I was less than ten years old for most of the decade), I could use some filling in!
Wow, that was a fun trip down memory lane! I didn’t officially start listening to country music until ’94, but I’ve heard most of those songs, since they were only less than a couple years old at that point, so still played on the radio. I’ve never heard of the Remmingtons though. I like so many more songs on that top 20 than I like the one’s on today’s.
I was only 8 years old on August 15, 1992, but somehow I knew every song on the list (good memory or too much music – you decide) … this is my favorite feature on the site. Glad you revived it.
nice feature, but it leaves as much room for a lively thread as a review of a “best of album” – almost none, i’m afraid.
To each his own, Tom.
you mean a topic that results in an outcry of resounding silence is really fun on a blog?
how good can a bone be if the dogs can’t even be bothered to get up?
We love the comments, but we don’t simply write for comments alone. I can’t speak for Kevin, but I think part of the reason we write is for educational purposes. Not to preach, but to put information out there that might motivate people to look deeper into country music. For example, there were several entries on Kevin’s 100 Women list that did not garner very many comments. This does not mean that the articles were not appreciated. Furthermore, it doesn’t mean that Kevin shouldn’t have posted them. People learned from them and I believe that’s our ultimate goal.
We love a healthy debate as much as the next blog, but we don’t write articles for the express purpose to stir up those debates.
PS. I, personally, wouldn’t equate the commenters here to dogs.:)
‘Throw me a frickin’ bone here, Scott’ …
PS. I, personally, wouldn’t equate the commenters here to dogs.:)
Sorry Leeann, I’m having trouble taking this remark seriously, given your user picture!
Wow, I didn’t know you guys had a topic like this before! And I’m very appreciative you brought it back, I’m actually proud to say I was a 90’s child well ever since I was born in 1993 at least. I’m proud that I know at least half of these. I also think that the 90’s was a great decade for country music and other genres. Hope to see and read more! :D
just a thought – next time you do this feature, why don’t you compare your average rating of the historic top-twenty with the rating you’d apply to the current top-twenty. perhaps we find out that the quality of the songs back then was much higher or maybe quite the opposite – who knows.
it would be educational and might be surprising or even astonishing. quite nice ingredients for a lively thread and a civilized exchange of opinions and thoughts. as it stands now, it’s like looking at last month’ weather map.
Yes, but Dan, I *would* equate dogs to people!:) My dog, Amigo (who is the subject of the pic) is cooler than many people I encounter.
BTW. After reading some posts I just gotta say: How can the topic be short comments when it was just posted today?
Thanks for the feedback, Tom. That would be an interesting concept to explore.
Ahh, the summer before my senior year. I enjoy this feature a lot, whether it makes for good debate or not. Man…I truly hate #1. It’s one of the songs that kept me from truly embracing country music for a few more years. I’ve never heard of the Remingtons.
Reading some of these comments I feel damn old! Born in 1993. 8 in 1992. I was 13 when this list came out though. So i’m not all that old (I’m turning 30 the end of September).
Mary-Chapin Carpenter is the only one I own or care for on this list. A bit before my interest in country really kicked in heavily.
I particularly like the Wynonna Judd, Lee Roy Parnell, Vince Gill, B&D, Billy Ray Cyrus, Clint Black, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mark Chesnutt and Tracy Lawrence songs on the list. The others, with the exception of the one I’ve never heard of, are okay. So, that’s a pretty good list compared to what I’d say about today’s chart.
well at least the country charts are consistant…only 3 women in the whole top 20
I was two when this came out but I can vaguely remember some of them. but it was probably a few years down the road that I heard them.
P.s. I guess I’m the only one who heard of The Remingtons before this was posted?
This is a really cool feature. I would love coverage of the top 40 from that era to see what sort of strangeness pops up. Mostly excellent songs (although the early appearance of Little Texas reminds me of why I left country radio about a year later).
No Jordan you’re not the only one who’s heard of The Remingtons. I was actually thinking about a song of theirs called “Eternally Blue” during yesterday’s comment thread (about album cuts), but I decided it was too obscure a band.
They were sessioners with amazing credits: Jimmy Griffin was in Bread, the two other guys were in Cymarron and unofficial band members included Bernie Leadon (of the Eagles) and Larry Lee (of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils).
“A Long Time Ago” was an amazing single, and something to build upon, but the next two songs (“Two Timin’ Me” and “I Could Love You With My Eyes Closed”) were pretty dire.
This is a real oddity – I actually own 19 of the 20 CDs on your list (everything except the Alabama disc) – I mostly agree with your assessment of the songs.
I’d give solid A’s to
“Five O’Clock World”
“This One’s Gonna Hurt You (For a Long, Long Time)”
I would also give a B+ to “If Your Heart Ain’t Busy Tonight”
Wow..16 years ago for some of these songs. Time really flies. The date is about 2 1/2 months after i graduated high school. Love this feature; its a great walk down memory lane. Can we propose dates we’d like to see?
I don’t see why not. I try to make the day the same as the posting date, but the year is always up for grabs.
I’m ready to do one that goes back earlier (70’s or 80’s) actually, but I’m open to suggestions.
I love this new feature! Please continue it! Fascinating to compare today’s charting singles with yesterday. Love the commentary, too. Too bad Steve Wariner isn’t charting anymore…
I don’t know that I’d consider 1992 the best year for country music but it was the best year in recent memory.
I’d regard 1952-1957 as the absolute peak years for Country music. The tragedy of the rock ‘n roll explosion of 1956 was than in addition to wiping out the tepid pop music of the early 50s, it also wiped out the best music in the history of the country music genre. The subsequent schlock of the “Nashville Sound” era was in direct reaction to Elvis and was an attempt to recapture lost market share
OK, so should we contact you privately about dates we’d like to see or put them here..just curious about some top 10’s on some important peoples birthdays.
OK, just a few requests for specific dates. all from the 70’s thru 90’s with one exception:
Sept 11, 2001…I’d like to see that list..those songs would be a very poignant trip down memory lane
All the rest are birthdays of me and people important to me. Thanks in advance for any of these lists you can do.
Oct 15, 1974
Oct 5, 1992
March 17, 1991
Feb 23, 1992
Oct 17, 1988
July 24, 1991
All I have to say is by reading some of these comments – I feel really old — I was in my second year of college when these songs were popular — which makes me 35 — old enough to be some peoples mother —