Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Vince Gill, “No Future in the Past”

“No Future in the Past”

Vince Gill

Written by Vince Gill and Carl Jackson

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

July 2, 1993

Another stone cold country weeper from Vince Gill.

The Road to No. 1

Vince Gill reaches the middle of his ten consecutive No. 1 run.

The No. 1

“No Future in the Past” follows the “When I Call Your Name” template, with an identical two stanza verse – chorus – instrumental break – chorus structure.   That chorus goes for the same plaintive bluegrass wail of his breakout hit as well.

What’s missing in this retread is the aching sense of desperation, which might be directly connected to the missing Patty Loveless harmony vocal.  She might have been recovering from vocal surgery when this album was recorded.  Her absence is present here.

It’s still a very good record.  Vince Gill sounds fantastic, and the pure country arrangement is timeless. Anyone from Ray Price to Ricky Van Shelton would sound just as much at home over the backing track.

But it’s still the weakest single from I Still Believe in You, which isn’t as much a criticism of “No Future in the Past” as it is a credit to the other four releases from the album.

The Road From No. 1

George Jones makes a cameo in the video and the lyrics of Gill’s next chart-topping single.

“No Future in the Past” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Garth Brooks, “That Summer” |

Next: Alan Jackson, “Chattahoochee”


  1. I absolutely love this song, and it’s actually one of my favorite singles from I Still Believe In You. Yes, it follows just about the same formula as “When I Call Your Name,” but since I adore that song, too, that’s one thing I’ve always loved about it. This one stands on its own just fine, though, imo. It’s simply another winning waltz from Vince featuring another excellent performance from him. Love those high notes he sings in the chorus, especially the lines “Why I can’t I forget it? Why can’t I admit it….” And how can you go wrong with that lovely steel solo and piano playing? I do agree that it would’ve been even better with Patty’s harmonizing, though. As I had mentioned earlier in this feature, I personally love slow sad songs, and this is one that always comes to mind for me as a perfect one to crank up and get lost in.

    Unfortunately, this one seemed to get little to no recurrent airplay in our area. The first time I was introduced to this song when when my dad got me a copy of Souvenirs for my birthday in early 1998. Because “When I Call Your Name” was already one of my favorites of his, and I’ve always loved Vince’s traditional country ballads in general, this one quickly became one of my favorites on that album. Since I missed out on hearing it in 1993, this song tends to take me back to that time in early ’98, instead. This is one of the songs that really makes me wish I had continued to listen to country radio regularly in ’93, though!

    And again, it’s simply amazing how a gorgeous traditional country ballad like this could still go to number one just as Summer was getting started! Damn, I miss the 90’s.

  2. I agree that the structure of this song is very similar to “When I Call Your Name”, but I agree with Jamie that it’s what contributes to it being such a good song. It’s still enough different to stand on its own.

  3. It is a gorgeous song and proof of Gill’s facility with all the best tropes, stylings, and sounds of classic country.

    Gill continues to separate himself from the pack of amazing vocalists as “THE” male vocalist in Nashville in the nineties.

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