Today, we kick off a new retrospective feature at Country Universe, one that has been percolating in the back of my mind for a while now: a look back at every #1 country single from the nineties.
Why the nineties?
A few reasons.
First, one of the best historical country books is The Billboard Book of Number One Country Singles, written by Tom Roland. It goes through every No. 1 single from 1968 to the end of 1989, ending with Ronnie Milsap’s “A Woman in Love.” It has yet to be revised, so where it ends is a great place to begin.
Second, the charts changed around this time. With Billboard moving to an airplay-only chart based on monitored spins, the country charts entered a new era of accuracy just as a wave of new acts were ready to replace the old guard.
Third, and most importantly, it’s the nineties, man. My favorite decade of country music. This is as good a way as any to look back on the biggest hits of the era.
How it works:
The Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart will determine the chronology of the series, with each No. 1 hit covered in the order that they topped the chart. However, songs that topped the Radio & Records chart will also be covered as we go along. Because the Billboard charts couldn’t be as easily influenced with the methodology change, record labels turned their attention to Radio & Records, where they could exert more influence over the final results.
Because of this, Radio & Records charts in the nineties looked like the Billboard ones in the eighties, with more songs going No. 1 and most of them staying there for just one week. Inclusion of these No. 1 hits will allow for more songs and artists to be covered.
Each entry will have the normal components of our single reviews – artist, songwriter, and grade – along with chart information for the No. 1 single. A look at each artist’s career before and after the No. 1 will also be included.
Hopefully we’ll get the same enthusiasm in the comments as we see with our Sirius 1000 list. This is an endeavor that will move a bit faster with individual posts, but should still take a very long time to complete…at which point, we’ll probably just keep going with Every No. 1 Single of the 2000s.
Let’s get started!