“I Never Knew Love”
Written by Larry Boone and Will Robinson
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
January 7, 1994
Doug Stone charts his final No. 1 single to date.
The Road to No. 1
Doug Stone was a frequent visitor to the penthouse over the course of his first three albums. His fourth release, More Love, was led off with another heartfelt ballad, and it is his most recent visit to the top of the charts.
The No. 1
I have clear memories of finding Doug Stone’s work too sappy, and that More Love felt like the moment it got overbearing.
Revisiting “I Never Knew Love,” I think I can better diagnosis what went wrong. The song itself is pretty good. It’s the arrangement and the performance that make it all too much like a Hallmark Card put to song.
Stone never taps the lower register of his voice or uses very much of its power. There’s a forcefulness to his earlier performances that’s absent here. The production doesn’t help, as it’s maudlin AC radio ballad in style. If this had a traditional country arrangement, it would’ve added some heft and perhaps coaxed a more compelling vocal from a singer who was far more capable than this.
As is, “I Never Knew Love” sounds like a Michael Bolton record sung by Tiny Tim.
The Road From No. 1
Doug Stone went top ten with the next two singles from More Love, and repeated that success with “Little Houses,” the sole single from his optimistically titled Greatest Hits Volume 1. A string of bad luck followed, as his promotion of the quite strong album Faith in Me, Faith in You was interrupted by near fatal health issues in 1995. He resurfaced on Atlantic Records for one project in the late nineties, and then recorded several independent projects. Stone has remained a popular draw on nineties package tours, including one with Bryan White and Shenandoah.
“I Never Knew Love” gets a C.
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