Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Travis Tritt, “Foolish Pride”

“Foolish Pride”

Travis Tritt

Written by Travis Tritt


#1 (1 week)

July 16, 1994

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

July 8, 1994

Travis Tritt returns to the top with one of his very best singles.

The Road to No. 1

After scoring one No. 1 hit from his third Warner Bros. album, T-R-O-U-B-L-E, Tritt struggled at radio with the next three singles, all of which missed the top ten and one of which missed the top twenty.  Tritt regrouped, working on a new album and autobiography of the same name, Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof. The lead single from his fourth WB set returned him to the top.

The No. 1

“Anymore” is Travis Tritt’s best ballad…unless it’s “Foolish Pride.”

Seriously, this song is a mini masterpiece.  He gets into the inner monologues of a female and then a male lover, each estranged from their partner and forcing themselves to endure consequences that they would rather avoid, choosing mortal wounds to their souls over temporary wounds to their pride.

“She thinks if he calls him, it just shows weakness.  So the hurt goes on with every tear she’s cried.”

“To apologize to her would be so simple. But instead he cries, ‘I’ll be damned if I’ll crawl.'”

Tritt does his best to play mediator in the chorus, speaking not to his doomed characters but to his listeners who recognize themselves in those characters: “Turn out the light, the competition’s over. The stubborn souls are the losers here tonight.”

1994’s No. 1 singles are giving me a little bit of whiplash.  This year has brought some of the worst No. 1 singles of the decade, but “Foolish Pride” is easily one of the best.

The Road From No. 1

Tritt’s next two singles from Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof didn’t fare as well as “Foolish Pride.”  The title track missed the top twenty and “Between an Old Memory and Me” missed the top ten.  But with a clever music video strategy that reprised the characters from Tritt’s landmark “Anymore” clip, the fourth single returned Tritt to the top.  We’ll cover it in 1995.

“Foolish Pride” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. Kevin is right to hold this song up in comparison to “Anymore” as candidate for Tritt’s best ballad ever.

    I tend to fall on the side of “Foolish Pride.” The production has a more timeless country quality to it. The song structure is brilliant and uncommonly fair to both sides of the story. Vocally, Tritt as it his absolute best capturing the hurt and waste of what has been lost due to such a useless emotion.

    Kevin also highlights the couplet that has always hit me the hardest: “Turn out the light, the competition’s over, the stubborn souls are the losers here tonight.”

    Tritt performance provides play-by-play for a failing relationship while also offering the depth of a colour commentator. It’s heartbreak as spectator sport or news event.

    The mood set by the percussion (is that kettle drum rolling like distant thunder? ) timpani, and tambourine creates the atmospheric tension between both the destructive and fragile elements of the song. I checked the liner notes from my cassette copy of this album and Sam Bacco is the musician behind all those magical sonic features.

    A brilliant classic and another artistic highpoint from 1994.

  2. There is a line from Randy Travis’ song “Don’t Ever Sell Your Saddle” that says, “Don’t use words you don’t understand.”

    I have spent some time in the “T”s of a music dictionary and have learned the difference between tone and timbre (for my comments on the Blackhawk entry).

    I also learned a timpani IS a kettle drum.

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