“My Arms Stay Open All Night”
Written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
January 19, 1990
Tanya Tucker’s hot streak continues with her first No.1 hit of the nineties.
The Road to No. 1
Tucker’s hit career started in the early seventies, with a string of southern gothic hits like “Delta Dawn,” “What’s Your Mama’s Name,” and “Blood Red and Goin’ Down,” all recorded and released in her early teenage years on Columbia Records. A move to MCA in 1975 kept the hits coming, as Tucker dabbled with pop sounds and a more mature image.
But her biggest stretch of success at country radio kicked off in 1986, as she joined the roster of Capitol Records and scored an uninterrupted run of big hit records. She was only 30 years old when Capitol released Greatest Hits, Tucker’s third collection with that title – each from a different label, and each genuinely packed with hits.
“Daddy and Home” served as the bridge single, appearing both on the hits collection and her previous studio album, Strong Enough to Bend. Tucker followed it with the one new track recorded for the collection.
The No. 1
“My Arms Stay Open All Night” follows the template of Tucker’s eighties hits, which typically alternated between Tucker pining for love and recovering from heartbreak. Here, she makes the case to a potential lover that she’ll be waiting, 24/7, for him to come around whenever he’s ready.
It’s a pleasant enough affair, and Tucker’s vocal prowess can lively up the most anti-septic production. Just listen to that bridge, and how she lets loose vocally on it and the final chorus, like a tiger breaking through its restraints.
But this is as by-the-numbers as it gets for Tucker, and it doesn’t have the punch of the nineties hits that would power her to platinum sales in the next two years.
The Road From No. 1
Tucker’s final No. 1 hits on the Billboard chart came in the eighties. In the nineties, “Arms” would be one of six records of hers to get stuck at No. 2. But thanks to the inclusion of Radio & Records rankings, we’ll be seeing quite a bit more of Tucker in this feature.
“My Arms Stay Open All Night” gets a B.
Previous: Clint Black, “Nobody’s Home”