Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Travis Tritt, “I’m Gonna Be Somebody”

“I’m Gonna Be Somebody”

Travis Tritt

Written by Jill Colucci and Stewart Harris

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 10, 1990

Travis Tritt scores his second No. 1 hit with a song about making it big in the music business.

The Road to No. 1

After reaching the top ten with his debut single “Country Club,”  Tritt earned his first chart-topper earlier in the year with “Help Me Hold On.”  As the third single from Country Club, his debut album, Warner Bros. chose “I’m Gonna Be Somebody.”

The No. 1

There’s something that just works about these kinds of songs when they come early in an artist’s career.  Tritt didn’t write “I’m Gonna Be Somebody,” but it still comes off as autobiographical, as it tells the story of a young and determined man to become a successful singer and musician.

The third verse gives it some extra potency, as the singer notices a young man in the front row of his concert that has the same hunger in his eyes as the protagonist once did.

It’s not quite as great as “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” or “Wrong Side of Memphis,” lacking the specificity of the former and the rhinestones and grit of the latter, but it’s still a winning tale of young man dreaming big and having that dream realized.

The Road From No. 1

Country Club went gold in the fall of 1990, as Tritt received his first CMA Horizon Award nomination.  At the 1990 CMA Awards, he performed the fourth and final single from Country Club, “Put Some Drive in Your Country.”  Even though it fell short of the top twenty, the single established Tritt’s image better than any of the singles that came before, and laid the groundwork for the superstardom that came with his second major label album, It’s All About to Change.  We’ll be seeing a lot more of Tritt in 1991.

“I’m Gonna Be Somebody” gets a B+.


Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. This song was so appropriate to the big moment that was the burgeoning ’90’s country scene. So many of the new artists we have already heard from – and even more yet to come – we’re poised to “be somebody” in Nashville.

    Even as fans, we increasingly felt we were part of this new movement as we shared in the the excitement and widening popularity of country music. This had never happened in my lifetime.

    Maybe we were not all the sandy-haired river boy dreaming of being on stage, but we were just as excited to be part of that same audience, sitting next to him and celebrating what was happening with equally hungry eyes and heart.

    I simply love the raw determination of this song which I consider essential Travis Tritt.

  2. My wife once said it was a shame TT was known for “Here’s A Quarter” and not this song, an observation with which I mostly concur. (My favorite from him has always been “Anymore.”)

  3. Another all time favorite of mine from Travis. Unlike some songs from this time, this song does not sound dated at all to my ears, production wise, and it still sounds very fresh today. I’ve always loved Tritt’s spirited performance on this song, which matches the lyrics perfectly. I especially love that high note he hits on the very last “One of these days, I’m gonna breeeaaak these chains!”

    Funny how you mentioned “Wrong Side Of Memphis” as one of the similar themed songs, since I have both that song and this one on the same side of a tape I recorded in early 1993. Also thought this song might’ve been very relatable to Travis personally, since according to several bios of him, his parents did not approve of his career choice as a musician until he began to have radio success.

    Btw, nice thoughtful comment, Peter! Even though I was loving the music from this time at 5-6 years old and wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, it would’ve been cool to be a little older to fully appreciate and soak in all the amazing things that were happening in the genre at the time.

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