Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Tanya Tucker, “It’s a Little Too Late”

“It’s a Little Too Late”

Tanya Tucker

Written by Roger Murrah and Pat Terry

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

March 12, 1993

Tanya Tucker’s final No. 1 single.

The Road to No. 1

Tanya Tucker reached her commercial peak in the early nineties, and had a string of radio hits to go with it.  This was the last one to top the chart.

The No. 1

“It’s a Little Too Late” was Tucker’s contribution to the line dance craze of this era, as the music video below showcases.

But danceable as it is, it’s not a disposable ditty.  Tucker gives a fiery performance as she acknowledges that she’s heading for a likely heartache, but she couldn’t care less.  She’s going to enjoy the ride anyway.

It’s sharply written, too: “Turn the jukebox up, throw some sawdust down, I’m too far gone to turn this heart around. I may be wrong, but I don’t want out.”

You get a clear visual of her external actions and her internal emotions at the same time, all to a driving country beat.

It’s a winner.

The Road From No. 1

Tucker’s hitmaking slowed considerably by the end of the nineties, but her next two singles – “Tell Me About It” and “Soon” – went top five, as did “Hangin’ In” from the Soon album.  She’d score one more top ten hit in 1997 with “Little Things,” but after that, her run at radio was essentially over.

She remained a popular touring act and recorded a handful of independent albums, but Tucker went quiet on the recording front for a long time.  But in 2019, she resurfaced with a Brandi Carlile-produced comeback album, While I’m Livin’.  It received rave reviews and earned Tucker the first two Grammy Awards of her career.  After nearly fifty years in the business, and more than a little too late, she’s finally getting the respect that she’s always deserved.

“It’s a Little Too Late” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Alabama, “Once Upon a Lifetime” |

Next: George Strait, “Heartland”



  1. Yet another one of my all time favorite songs from Tanya! Besides “Two Sparrows In A Hurricane,” this is the other song of hers from this era that brings back the most childhood memories for me. It’s on another one of my all time favorite tapes that I recorded in early ’93 that I used to listen to countless times, and I even remember the first time hearing it while in the car with my dad. And as I mentioned in the “Two Sparrows..” entry this is also one of her songs that seemed to get the most recurrent airplay for us throughout the rest of the decade and into the early 00’s. Today, it’s still such a fun listen, and it never fails to bring a smile to my face and remind me of great times!

    I actually never thought of this one as being part of the line dance trend until you mentioned it here, but I can totally see it now. I always thought of it as just a fun, high energy honky tonker. As you mentioned, this song has aged quite well because it actually has some meat on its bones, instead of just being pointless and overly goofy like many other songs from that trend tended to be. It also helps that Tanya gives it an excellent, memorable performance. And of course, it’s still very solidly country sounding as well, featuring some great fiddle, steel, and telecaster picking. In fact, this is probably one of the best examples I can think of on how country music can still be fun and cool while still actually sounding country and not having to borrow from other genres.

    Btw, I always thought the music video was just as fun as the song itself! I especially always loved the part when Tanya jumps out into the crowd and starts dancing with a random guy.

    Also pretty neat seeing her perform it here on the 1994 Superbowl halftime show! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNzb4WBIkwc

    It’s a shame to learn that none of the singles from her excellent Soon album made it to the top. I especially love both the title track and “Hangin’ In.” I actually consider “Soon” to be one of her finest ever ballads.

  2. It is impossible to overstate how important Tucker’s output in the nineties was to so many artists who followed. This song is a great example of why. The percussive punchiness is matched by the gravel and confidence in her vocals. New country was not pejorative when contemporary production sounded this good being performed by a mature star.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.