Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Clay Walker, “Dreaming With My Eyes Open”

“Dreaming With My Eyes Open”

Clay Walker

Written by Tony Arata


#1 (1 week)

August 27, 1994

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 19, 1994

Clay Walker and Tony Arata join forces for a fantastic single.

The Road to No. 1

After two No. 1 singles from his debut album, “Where Do I Fit in the Picture” narrowly missed the top ten.  Giant finished up the platinum-selling set with the opening track, which happens to be the best of the album’s three No. 1 hits.

The No. 1

love this record.

Walker’s infectious energy and formidable vocal talent are applied to a composition by Tony Arata.   This feature keeps proving that Arata was so much more than “The Dance.”

It features one of the decade’s best opening lines:  “I spent half my life on bended knee, begging somebody to change, and the other half praying to God that they never would.”

And it’s not even the best line of the song.  Check this out:  “I learned that one step forward will take you further on than a thousand back or a million that ain’t your own.”

So much of what this part of the decade got wrong was thinking that being youthfully appealing and maturely intelligent were mutually exclusive categories.

Walker shows here how you can be both, showing a wisdom beyond his years while still harnessing the optimism that comes with most of those years being ahead of you.

The Road From No. 1

Alan Jackson pens Walker’s next No. 1 single, which serves as the lead release from his second studio album.  We’ll get to it by the end of 1994.

“Dreaming With My Eyes Open” gets an A. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Randy Travis, “Whisper My Name”


  1. Love Clay Walker.

    This was my favorite single from his first album for sure. Maybe my favorite single of his period.

    He was definitely one of my favorite artists of the 90s. I still like to hear his music – both older and newer. Great voice.

  2. Clay Walker really did some great material. This song always came off as catchy, uptempo country pop to me as a kid, but I never listened that closely to the lyrics. I appreciate the review, here…this is really a sharply written song, and I never realized how good it was because the chorus/hook stuck out to me more than the lyrics did. I also think you appreciate this type of material more as you grow older, and have some more years under your belt. But, I love it when you rediscover something from your past that’s better than you remember it being.

  3. As somebody who knew nothing of Walker’s album cuts beyond his singles, I always liked this song the best of his hits.

    Walker’s enthusiasm is well matched with Arata’s lyrical wisdom here. There is an optimistic urgency to this performance that is charming and inviting.

    I have read enough comments about Walker that I will do what I never did in the moment and listen to an entire Clay Walker album to see what I seem to have missed or unfairly dismissed.

    Thank you Clay-nation!

  4. I’m really enjoying the Clay Walker love on this feature and in the comments so far! I either like or love just about all the singles he released in the 90’s and early 00’s, and I can’t really think of a song of his I dislike from that time span. And despite him getting a lot of flack back in the day for being another hat act or “George Strait clone,” I actually think he has a very distinctive voice, and was a lot more traditional sounding than what his critics let on. His Texas twang is pretty easy to pick out, and I could always tell it’s him singing.

    As for this song, it’s yet another one I remember hearing quite often on the radio while in the car with my dad, just when I was really getting back into country in 1995. By the mid 90’s, my parents and I also went bowling a lot, and this song’s video is one of many I saw for the first time in the bowling alley, since they usually had GAC playing on the TV monitors for the vacant lanes. I always liked this song back then, but it really became one of my favorites after I picked out his debut album for my birthday in 2000.

    For one, I still absolutely love that opening electric guitar solo! And then when it finally kicks off with the rest of the band playing, it just really gets me pumped. I just love the entire production of this record overall, and sonically, it’s another tune that makes we want to go on a long drive. Also, I love the steel guitar playing throughout the second verse, and the sound the fiddle makes in the chorus after Clay sings “So I’ll do my dreaming…..” Similar to Mike above, I also never realized how deep the lyrics were when I was younger because the song is just so catchy, and it has that overall feel good vibe. Also like him, I find it to be something more relatable as I’ve gotten older.

    Speaking of Tony Arata, another one of my favorites that he wrote is Patty Loveless’ “Here I Am,” which I was reminded of when it recently came up on my Spotify.

    Peter – I really like all of Clay’s 90’s albums, but my personal favorites are his debut (1993), Hypnotize The Moon (1995), and Rumor Has It (1997).

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