Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Dan Seals, “Good Times”

“Good Times”

Dan Seals

Written by Sam Cooke


#1 (2 weeks)

August 4 – August 11, 1990

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

July 20 – July 27, 1990

Dan Seals charts his final No. 1 – and final top 40 – country hit.

The Road to No. 1

After a remarkable run of hits in the eighties, Dan Seals topped the charts earlier in 1990 with “Love On Arrival,” the lead single from his 1990 studio album, On Arrival.  The label followed it with a cover of a classic Sam Cooke song.

The No. 1

It shouldn’t be a surprise, given the relentless charm of “Bop” and the seventies pop success Seals enjoyed as “England Dan,” that he knocks this cover out of the park.

“Good Times” is a thoroughly enjoyable listen, updating the soul classic with just enough Nashville trimmings for it to work as a country song.  Seals is having a good time of his own singing it, and that radiates throughout the record.

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, and it may seem almost slight in comparison to 1990 No. 1 hits like “Here in the Real World,” “The Dance,” and “When I Call Your Name.”  But not every single needs to be “Here in the Real World,” “The Dance,” or “When I Call Your Name.”  We need some moments of levity, too.

The Road From No. 1

Two more singles followed from On Arrival.   Both “Bordertown” and “Water Under the Bridge” fell short of the top 40.  Another studio album followed in 1991, but like last two singles of its predecessor, all four singles from Walking the Wire fell short of the top 40, with the final single not charting at all.

Seals released one final album for Warner Bros. in 1994, then moved to the independent label world, releasing two well-received acoustic albums under the In a Quiet Room banner. A final studio album was released in 2002, and Seals spent much of that decade touring with his brother Jim, who’d been part of the successful pop duo Seals & Crofts.   A struggle with cancer led to his untimely passing in 2009 at age 61.

“Good Times” gets a B. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. I enjoyed this song but do not regard it as one of Dan’s better efforts. Still, I would take this song over most of the songs currently being played on country radio (or during the last ten years, for that matter)

  2. A harmless stylistic reach that doesn’t offer much to either celebrate or criticize. The song just pleasantly exists as a fun opportunity for Seals to push himself vocally. I guess it best represents the hoped for “no need to change the station” middle-ground of country radio at the time.

    In this song selection, I hear an artist
    who isn’t convinced this new-traditionalism fad will last.

  3. Unlike “Love On Arrival,” I do remember this one getting played very frequently on one of our stations well into early 1991 when I first started recording tapes. I also like this one a lot better, and it’s still a very fun listen today.

    Compared to other songs on the charts by guys like Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, George Strait, etc., it definitely reminds me more of something that was popular in the 80’s, especially with it being one of my last singles to have such a prominent saxophone in the mix. For me, that makes it all the more impressive that it went to number one, and it was pretty cool how more contemporary leaning songs like this were still getting a lot of support from radio even in the middle of the new traditional movement.

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