Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Doug Stone, “I Thought it Was You”

“I Thought it Was You”

Doug Stone

Written by Gary Harrison and Tim Mensy

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

September 20, 1991

Doug Stone launches his second album with his second No. 1 single.

The Road to No. 1

Doug Stone’s self-titled debut single produced three singles.  The first two went top five (“I’d Be Better Off (in a Pine Box)” and “Fourteen Minutes Old”), and the third went to No. 1 earlier in 1991 (“In a Different Light.”)  The lead single from his next album, I Thought it Was You, was the title track.

The No. 1

And it’s a heartbreaker.

“I Thought it Was You” is one of Stone’s weepiest hits, although it lacks the morbid intensity of his debut single.  But just because he isn’t imagining his dead body on a slow train back to Georgia doesn’t mean he’s not hurting.

The title does most of the heavy lifting, bookending the chorus with its two meanings.  He sees a face in the crowd that he thought was her, and it reminds him that “there’s one special love in each life, and I must look like a fool. I thought it was you.”

His voice is perfectly suited for material like this.

The Road From No. 1

After firmly establishing himself a balladeer, Stone would top both charts with his next single, which is an uptempo honky tonk number.

“I Thought it Was You” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. Another one of my absolute favorites from Doug! I’ve always loved how his voice sounded on this song, especially in the chorus when he hits the low notes, and towards the end when he once again croons out the title followed by “Why couldn’t it be you?” There’s a sense of bewilderment, sadness, and defeat in his vocals that fits the lyrics about a man letting what he thought was the love of his life slip away so perfectly. I also love the fading instrumental near the end with the guitars and steel sort of reflecting the confusion the narrator feels and how the woman’s memory still haunts him. And as Kevin mentions, I love how the writers made great use out of the title’s double meaning.

    As much as I love this song, though, I actually have very little recollection of hearing it during its original chart run or nearly the rest of the decade. I fell in love with it when I heard it on the independent station we started listening to in the late 90’s, which was still regularly playing many early 90’s songs that the other stations had forgotten about. It’s too bad that most other stations only hung on to “In A Different Light” and “Why Didn’t I Think Of That” and seemed to forget the rest of Doug’s hits.

    This album is also another one of my favorite early 90’s country albums, and it includes some of my favorite hidden cuts from Doug like “For Every Inch I’ve Laughed (I’ve Cried a Mile),” “The Feeling Never Goes Away,” “If It Was Up To Me,” and “The Right To Remain Silent.”

    Another great video, too, btw!

  2. Great song.

    Most people don’t realize what an outstanding acoustic guitar player is Doug Stone. After his run at the top he continued to play smaller venues, some of which were more traditionally oriented than was Doug’s music, and where the house band did not know his material . When he appeared at the Florida Sunshine opry in Eustis, FL, he carved out a 15 minute section when he sang some of his ballads accompanied only by his own guitar.

    While the Sunshine Opry Band did know his material, this segment still was a real highlight of his show. I wish he had put out an acoustic album

  3. Stone is best suited to ballads like this but there is still something weak about the performance. It is without intensity altogether. Maybe it is just too weepy as Kevin mentioned. In so many of his hits, Stone felt like a chronicler of the idea of love more than a person directly touched by actual love, for better or for worse.

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