Every #1 Country Single of the Nineties: Collin Raye, “In This Life”

“In This Life”

Collin Raye

Written by Mike Reid and Allen Shamblin


#1 (2 weeks)

October 3- October 10, 1992

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

September 25, 1992

A gorgeous ballad becomes an instant wedding standard.

The Road to No. 1

After topping both charts for multiple weeks with “Love, Me,” Collin Raye had another top five hit with “Every Second.”  He followed it with the lead single and title track from his sophomore album.

The No. 1

“In This Life” is among the best ballads of a career that’s full of them.

Raye’s already grown as a singer, and he nails the delivery of this intelligent and heartfelt ballad that was co-written by Mike Reid, who surprisingly didn’t keep it for himself.

Garth Fundis is best known for producing Trisha Yearwood, but you can hear on this track why he was so successful working with Don Williams for so many years.  He keeps things clean and straightforward, and allows the lyric to shine as brightly as the singer delivering it.

Raye kicks off a run of extraordinary No. 1 singles to close out 1992.

The Road From No. 1

In This Life didn’t produce another No. 1 hit, but all three of its other singles went at least top ten: “I Want You Bad (and That Ain’t Good),” “Somebody Else’s Moon,” and “That Was a River.”

Raye kicked things into a higher gear with extremes, his third album.  We’ll see him again in 1994 with a No. 1 hit from that set, and it’s his artistic highwater mark.

“In This Life” gets an A. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. BTW, Collin Ray’s 2020 album, Scars, is really good! The title track was written by his brother, Scotty, who was Miranda Lambert’s lead guitar player until his health made it so that he can’t tour much anymore. She sings background vocals for this song and there are videos of her singing the song and talking about how much she loves it in her live shows.

  2. Such a beautiful song! I really love Collin’s performance and Garth Fundis’ production on this one. It’s definitely one of my favorites of his more contemporary leaning ballads. It’s also one of my favorite Mike Reid songs that was a success for another artist.

    Not to sound like a broken record, but like the Randy Travis song recently covered, this is yet another song that takes me back to that late Summer, and early Fall period in 1992 after we had moved into our current house, along with various times of visiting Fredericksburg, VA. I also remember hearing it on the radio in the car with my step dad before and after we saw the movie, Home Alone 2: Lost In New York, lol.

    And also like the Travis song, “In This Life” remained a steady recurrent on our stations for the rest of the decade and then some. I actually remember still hearing it a lot during the late 90’s, especially, and really liking it then too. I particularly remember it being on the radio while my dad was driving us to Ames (if anyone remembers that store) one day around late 1998/early 1999.

    The In This Life album is also another one of my favorite Collin Raye records, and it’s too bad he didn’t work with Garth Fundis more often, because I really love his production throughout the album. It also includes some of my all time favorite non-singles from Collin like “Latter Day Cowboy,” “You Can’t Take It With You,” “Many A Mile,” “What They Don’t Know,” and his cover of “Big River.” Of the actual singles, besides this one, I also like the rocking “I Want You Bad (And That Ain’t Good) and the pretty waltz, “Somebody Else’s Moon”. Because I was listening more to my mom’s favorite oldies station by mid ’93, I never heard “That Was A River” until I got this album in the next decade.

  3. Raye was a radio presence I certainly appreciated. He sounds amazing singing this ballad, even if the lyrics are a bit tidy and predictable. Despite liking many of his singles, I was never interested enough in Raye as as artist to purchase any of his albums. He also always seemed to somehow play just outside the mainstream in terms of awards and recognition.

    Perhaps listening to an album now, and spending some time with some of the songs Jamie shared liking, will deepen my appreciation of Raye as an artist.

  4. My personal favorite albums from Collin are his first two (partly because they’re two of his most traditional sounding ones), along with 1998’s The Walls Came Down. Most all of his 90’s albums are solid, though.

    Leeann- I’ll have to check out his latest one. I really like the song you shared!

  5. Leeann – I’m with you on That Was a River – I might actually prefer it to In This Life.

    Peter – there were a number of artists, Collin Raye included, whose singles I really enjoyed, but I never ended up purchasing their CDs (except for Greatest Hits collections in some cases). This is one of the nice things about streaming – the ability to go back to these artists and explore their back catalogues.

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