“Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)“
John Michael Montgomery
Written by Richard Fagen and Robb Royer
#1 (3 weeks)
July 1 – July 15, 1995
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
June 23, 1995
A novelty song with surprising longevity.
The Road to No. 1
A streak of three consecutive No. 1 singles wraps up for John Michael Montgomery.
The No. 1
Just because a song is ridiculous doesn’t mean it lacks worth.
“Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)” is a ridiculous song about a man auctioning off his heart, and it mimics the rapid speech of an auctioneer.
It’s funny. It’s catchy. It’s charming. It’s one of John Michael Montgomery’s best hits.
Perhaps because it lacks those tired elements of redneck humor, this particular ditty has stood the test of time far better than hits like “If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too.)”
It also helps that it is the man’s heart being auctioned off, rather than the girl herself, which would probably happen if the song was written twenty years earlier or, sadly, twenty years later.
The Road From No. 1
Two more top five hits followed from John Michael Montgomery – “No Man’s Land” and “Cowboy Love” – before producing a No. 1 hit with its fifth and final single. We’ll cover it in 1996.
“Sold (“The Grundy County Auction Incident)” gets a B+.
Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties
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You wrote: “Just because a song is ridiculous doesn’t mean it lacks worth”
I like that. If a song makes me laugh or gets my toes tapping, it has worth.
Besides “Sold”, I like “If Bubba Can Dance”, “If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets”, “I’ll Think of a Reason Later”, “Horseshoes and Hand Grenades”, etc.,
This is prob my favorite JMM hit. I consider it a classic that I just never get tired of hearing. The guitar intro hooks me every time.
I mean, technically she’s the one auctioned off, though the metaphor gets mixed up within the lyrics a few times. It’s still a fun song though.
Yes, this is definitely one novelty song that has stood the test of time, and it’s still just as fun today as when it first came out! As you say, I think part of it is because it’s a lot more original and creative (not to mention more charming) than many of the other novelties that came out around this time, and it avoids using the same tired line dance ready beats. Instead, it’s a fun, super catchy, feel good barn burner that benefits from a more straight ahead country production and a great playful performance by Montgomery. I love the excellent guitar work heard throughout, especially the signature guitar riff that Tyler mentions. I also don’t think JMM gets enough credit for being able to nail these tongue twisters just as well as the slow love ballads he’s usually known for. I always loved how he was able to sound like an actual auctioneer in the choruses! Also, I still love that “Heeeeeee!” he does at the very end of the song, lol.
This was the then current JMM song on the radio just when I was getting back into country in ’95, and it was near the end of my third grade year (I know this because I was thinking about a girl in my third grade class that I had a secret crush on the first few times I heard it). I always really enjoyed it, and it was one of the more fun songs on the radio at the time that made me glad I had returned to country (other ones being Adalida by George Strait and Party Crowd by David Lee Murphy). Fast forward to my fourth grade year, and one morning when I first walked into the classroom, I heard this song playing. My fourth grade teacher was also a huge country music fan, and that morning she was playing JMM’s self-titled 1995 album on the cassette player for herself and the students to enjoy before class had started. As I was walking in, I saw Bobby, who was pretty much the class clown, dancing and goofing off to the song and trying to act like a cowboy while many of the other students were laughing and giggling their heads off, lol. The teacher then scolded the class saying something like “Calm down now, or I’ll turn it off!” I also got to hear JMM’s version of “I Can Love You Like That” for the first time that morning. She was the only teacher I ever had who publicly liked country music as much as I did (or possibly even more), and my fourth grade year was the only time in my school years that made it seem like it was okay and even cool to like country music, which is a big reason why fourth grade was so memorable and enjoyable for me. :)
My step dad also really loved this song, and every time it came on when I was in the car with him, he’d always sing along and try to keep up with John during the auctioneer chorus, lol. Even when it would come on at the Texas Roadhouse, he’d get excited, lol. However, it was the song’s music video that he always loved, especially. He particularly always got a real kick out the of the famous dance off scene with the Amish and Asian guys near the end of the video and when Montgomery says “Hey that was fun, how about some more?!” lol. In the early 00’s, we’d always enjoy watching that video together whenever it came on GAC Classic, and one time on my birthday, he even bought me a DVD of assorted country videos mainly because this video was on it. This is one of the great examples of the video being just as fun as the song, and I still can’t help but think of him whenever I see it. :)
I also really like “No Man’s Land,” which strangely, I don’t have as much recollection of hearing on the radio.
The song was revived on the bluegras charts recently
Easily my favourite John Michael Montgomery single. I also concur that it has aged well, a fun and worthy performance.