Every #1 Single of the Nineties: George Strait, “The Big One”

“The Big One”

George Strait

Written by Gerry House and Devon O’Day

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

December 3, 1994

King George keeps the No. 1 hits coming.

The Road to No. 1

After two No. 1 hits from the album Easy Come Easy Go, Strait went top ten with “Lovebug” and top five with “The Man in Love With You.”  Strait then previewed his fifteenth studio album for MCA, Lead On, which would also launch with two consecutive No. 1 hits.

The No. 1

Lead On is one of my favorite George Strait albums.  It’s remarkable just how slight its lead single is.

With a running time barely over two minutes, “The Big One” plays out like an old George Jones ditty from the early years.   Jones would’ve knocked this one out of the park, but Strait doesn’t really have the playfulness as a vocalist that would be necessary to make this work.

Thankfully, the rest of the singles from this album are among his very best songs ever sent to radio, and we’ll get to cover one of them in this feature.

The Road From No. 1

As noted above, the next single will go to No. 1 as well, and it’s a winner.  We’ll get to it early in 1995.

“The Big One” gets a C.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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6 Comments

  1. The “Big One’ should sound bigger, no?

    This song weakly trembles as a foreshock for an emotional earthquake; it barely registers.

    Thankfully, Strait and the band sound great even if the song isn’t.

    1
  2. I liked this song a lot at the time, though had forgotten about it since then. This was one of the songs my local station loved to play when it was almost :28 or :58 and they needed to get to the news break; guessing that helped with first-run airplay if other stations did the same.

    1
  3. I definitely thought this could have been a George Jones cover based on the song length and style. George sings it fine. It’s not a bad a song, just not one his more memorable songs. I agree that Lead On is a great album. I love the cover of I Met a Friend of Yours Today.

    1
  4. Lead On was the first piece of music I ever bought with money I made working, a few months after it came out. I agree this was its weakest single. “Adalida” was my favorite then and so it remains.

    CJ, I also love that cover; I later sought out the Mel Street original and loved it too, as well as the rest of Street’s catalog. He had such a great voice and left this world far too soon.

    1
  5. I agree that this wasn’t one of Strait’s better songs, but I would still give it a B-. As for the length of the song, I have no problem with a song length of two minutes; however, I do have a problem with the tendency (over the last twenty or so years) of stretching two minutes worth of material into a four minute ordeal.

    3
  6. In some ways, this could almost be seen as Strait’s turn at the trendy dance friendly ditty that was all the rage in 1994. However, as others have already pointed out, it comes across more as a George Jones like fun ditty instead, which saves it from being a complete throwaway for me. The chorus particularly reminds me a bit of “I’m A One Woman Man,” especially when he dips down in the lower notes (though the Possum would’ve nailed it with his even deeper lower register). All in all, not one of his best by a long shot, but still fun and enjoyable.

    I also agree with everyone that Lead On is another very solid 90’s album from George. “Adalida” and the title track are my personal favorite singles, and they were the ones on the radio the most when I was getting back into country in the middle of 1995. I’m so looking forward to them in this feature! Of the album cuts, I especially love the two Jim Lauderdale written selections: “Nobody Has To Get Hurt” (co-written with Terry McBride) and “What Am I Waiting For”.

    5

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