Every #1 Single of the Nineties: George Strait, “I’d Like to Have That One Back”

“I’d Like to Have That One Back”

George Strait

Written by Aaron Barker, Bill Shore and Rick West

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

February 11, 1994

George Strait’s interpretive skills are put to the test.

The Road to No. 1

Easy Come Easy Go kicked off with the No. 1 title track, and the second single repeated its chart success on the Radio & Records survey.

The No. 1

If you need a refresher course on why George Strait is one of the all-time greats, check out this largely forgotten No. 1 single.

It doesn’t have much of a melody and the lyrics are a bit clunky.  But with George Strait at the mic, it becomes something more.  His ability to give a nuanced performance, knowing down to the syllable where emotional emphasis is needed, turns a song that isn’t anything special into a record that is.

Thing is, there is so much George Strait to choose from that there really isn’t a need to revisit this particular record.   It’s B-level Strait.  But none of his peers could’ve gotten it to that level.

The Road From No. 1

Two more top ten singles from Easy Come Easy Go followed: “Love Bug” and “The Man in Love With You.”  The latter record is a ballad more worthy of rediscovery than the chart-topper discussed here.  We’ll see him again with the first two singles of his next studio album.

“I’d Like to Have That One Back” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Mark Chesnutt, “I Just Wanted You to Know”


  1. This is one of my favorite Strait songs as well. It took me getting a bit older I guess, but I’ve really come to appreciate how the subtlety of the vocals and the easy, laid-back instrumentation belie the punch of the lyric. This, “Chill of an Early Fall” and “I Know She Still Loves Me” are favorites these days that I totally overlooked the first time around.

  2. Add my name to that list of people who love this song! The slight melody and clunky lyrics capture the confessional charm of this. These are the lyrics of a mind battling itself, the sound of deep regret. As such, it is bound to challenge any expectations of structure. It’s a controlled form of emotional country chaos. I tend to gang this with Strait’s “So Much Like My Daddy.” It has that same raw immediacy. It drips with sadness, and even shame at having lost what he has. His heart is the only one he can talk to about his loss.

  3. Is there room for another one who actually loves this song? lol This has become another one of my favorite Strait ballads of all time, mostly for the reasons J.R Journey and Peter described. While George still has that signature smooth crooning style in his performance, you can also hear the sadness and deep regret in his vocals as he finally realizes what a good thing he lost when his significant other walked out. And similar to his previous single, it still sounds sonically fresh today, and it could’ve very well gone on any of his 2000’s albums, as well. And as usual for many Tony Brown produced Strait records, Paul Franklin’s steel is used to great effect here.

    Again, this is another song I first discovered while listening to the independent station near our area in the early 00’s. This was around late 2001/early 2002 when I was listening to it on the radio in my Walkman. I immediately loved it, and it was actually one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to get the Easy Come, Easy Go album shorty afterwards. This song (and that album) still takes me back to that time period in my life today.

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