“Billy the Kid”
Written by Billy Dean and Paul Nelson
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
July 24, 1992
An autobiographical tune brings Billy Dean back to the top.
The Road to No. 1
After topping the charts with “Somewhere in My Broken Heart,” Dean released his second album, Billy Dean. It produced two top five singles with “You Don’t Count the Cost” and “Only the Wind,” followed by two chart-topping singles from the project.
The No. 1
“Billy the Kid” tells the story of country music’s journey to suburbia as well as any record from the era.
Once called “Country & Western” music, even the eighties still had a handful of chart-toppers in that vein, like “Pancho & Lefty” and “Highwayman.”
Now, the western theme returns, but in the most suburban way possible: a grown man recollecting playing cowboy games in his neighborhood as a child, when “being late for supper was my only fear.”
Now, he’s missing “Billy the Kid,” as the day-to-day struggles of adulthood leaves him wondering where he went: “I guess he must have got caught, his innocence lost, I wonder where he is.”
It’s not an incredibly deep train of thought, but it makes up for it with the sincerity of its nostalgia.
The Road From No. 1
Billy Dean has one more solo No. 1 hit in his quiver, and we’ll cover it later this year.
“Billy the Kid” gets a B.
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