Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Ricky Van Shelton, “I’ve Cried My Last Tear For You”

“I’ve Cried My Last Tear For You”

Ricky Van Shelton

Written by Tony King and Chris Waters


#1 (1 week)

June 2, 1990

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

May 18, 1990

Ricky Van Shelton scores his second No. 1 single of 1990.

The Road to No. 1

Earlier this year, Shelton had topped the Radio & Records chart with “Statue of a Fool,” the first single from his third studio album, RVS III.  Its followup did one better, topping both surveys.

The No. 1

“I’ve Cried My Last Tear For You” might sound like another classic country cover from Shelton, but he could never help that.  His rich vocal style always sounded like something from country’s first golden era, flirting with the Nashville Sound but keeping both feet firmly planted in pure country.

So this new song, co-written by the brother of Holly Dunn, fits in perfectly among his series of covers on RVS III.   It’s a quick number, barely clocking in at 2 1/2 minutes, but it gets the job done, as Shelton simply expresses that he’s been crying his eyes out of this woman.  But guess what? He’s done.

We’re not going to get many more records that sound like this, so enjoy it while it lasts.

The Road From No. 1

RVS III produced two more singles, with the new compositon “I Meant Every Word He Said” and his exquisite cover of Charlie Rich’s “Life’s Little Ups and Downs” both reaching the top five.  I’d argue that they were the two best singles from the album.   Shelton won’t resurface on this feature until 1991, which will produce three chart-toppers for him, starting with a romantic duet with the greatest female country artist of all time.

“I’ve Cried My Last Tear For You” gets a B+. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. Has there been anyone since Ricky Van Shelton who seemingly so effortlessly conferred the rich range and depth of country music’s tradition on to almost everything he recorded?

    Maybe it was as simple as that voice.

    With it, this songs breezes and bounces along. It feels like Bakersfield. It feel like Texas. It feels like Nashville. The production and instrumentation are so simple and spot on. He sounds amazing and it feels like a classic.

    Obviously, my infatuation with Shelton is showing. He was my favourite vocalist of this era.

    His first three albums measure up against the first three albums from Clint Black and Garth Brooks, and Lyle Lovett, three artists in my mind who improved their output album to album to album.

    This is the golden and bright sound of Shelton at his best.

  2. I loved RVS and hate that his career lasted such a relatively short time. I agree with this as a B+ and also agree that “I Meant Every Word He Said” and “Life’s Little Ups and Downs” were solid A’s (although I liked Charlie Rich’s original of Life’s Little Ups and Downs” even more – it was written by Charlie’s wife Margaret Ann, and Charlie invests the song with a certain depth that no one else has ever managed).

  3. Nothing new to add, but I’ll echo the comments that Ricky Van Shelton really makes his songs sound like classics, including this one! This really is a good song from a great album.

  4. This has always been one of my all time favorites by RVS. This and Vince Gill’s “Take Your Memory With You” are two of my most favorite honky tonk shuffles from the early 90’s that sound like they could’ve been covers long lost 50’s or 60’s tunes. I pretty much share Peter Saros’ infatuation with Shelton, as well, especially since he provided much of the soundtrack to my early childhood, and I’ve always just loved that voice.

    I remember my step dad bringing home both this album and George Strait’s “Chill Of An Early Fall” on cd in the Fall of 1991 when I was six and recognizing this song immediately and loving it when he first put it in the stereo. And yes, I really like the two follow up singles after this one, as well, especially “I Meant Every Word He Said.”

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