Every #1 Single of the Nineties: Shania Twain, “Any Man of Mine”

“Any Man of Mine

Shania Twain

Written by Robert John “Mutt” Lange and Shania Twain

Billboard

#1 (2 weeks)

July 22- July 29, 1995

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

July 7, 1995

The top selling female artist in country music history scores her first No. 1 hit.

The Road to No. 1

Shania Twain was born and raised in Canada, and was singing in clubs from an early age. After a tragic car accident claimed the lives of both of her parents, she took responsibility for her younger siblings and performed locally to augment the family income.  Eventually, she pursued a recording deal, signing with Mercury Nashville.  She was packaged with two other new artists – Toby Keith and John Brannen – and toured with them throughout 1993.

Her debut album, Shania Twain, produced two singles that missed the top forty – “What Made You Say That” and “Dance With the One That Brought You.”   However, the album would eventually sell platinum, powered by the success of her next two releases.  Twain’s future husband, production legend Robert John “Mutt” Lange, saw one of her videos and reached out to work with her.  They were soon joined together professionally and personally, and new label head Luke Lewis recognized the potential of the combination, giving the veteran producer and developing artist full creative control of her second album.

Released in early 1995, The Woman in Me launched with “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under,” which just missed the Billboard top ten.  The next single exploded at radio.

The No. 1

“Any Man of Mine” felt like a sonic boom going off at country radio when it was released.

It wasn’t just the sound, which had the audacity to use stadium drum beats that had only appeared on country club remixes.  It was the joy and defiance that co-existed in everything about the record, from the humorously demanding lyrics to the juxtaposition of those rock beats with front and center fiddle and steel.

In some ways it was the inverse of the nineties country radio formula up until that point, which usually saved the country instrumentation for the verses and the beats for the choruses.  It all underscored the role reversal embedded in the song’s concept, with the wants and needs of the woman in the relationship being centered and the man being a worthwhile option if and only if her conditions are met.  If not, she’ll be just fine by herself, thank you very much.

There’s even a coda that serves both as a satire of the line dance craze and a legitimate version of one of them, with Twain rapping over the beat like an eighties MC.

With all of its borrowed parts, “Any Many of Mine” still signaled the arrival of something entirely new.  From this moment on, women will commercially dominate country music as much as they were already dominating it creatively.

The Road From No. 1

The next single, “The Woman in Me (Needs the Man in You),” went top twenty, and it was followed by three consecutive No. 1 singles, all of which we will cover in 1996.

“Any Man of Mine” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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8 Comments

  1. I hated Shania back in the 90s and early 2000s but over the last 10 years have grown to love her music. At the time I was very into Pam and Patty. I considered Shania a bastation to real country music. As a teen you would have thought her music would be up my alley. Now listening back after the plethora of bro country and awful songs of the last decade I started looking back on her music with my blinders off. This song is awesome as were most all her singles off this album. Even with her pop sensibilities Shania had more country in her songs than most music over the last 10 years and get songs were well written to bat. I’m now a convert and see her importance to 90s country!

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    • There’s a tendency in country music discourse to define traditional country by its best work and pop country by its worst, which reinforces this notion that “traditional > pop” is a truism. What I’ve loved about this feature is how it captured traditional country at its best in the early nineties, and is now demonstrating how pop-flavored country was giving traditional country a run for its money by mid-decade.

      Shania Twain’s genius was using country instrumentation with pop song structure. I loved her at the time, but it was many years after her impact that I was finally able to articulate that. Her music really does hold up, and it’s cool to hear the perspective of someone who didn’t appreciate her at the time, but does now!

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    • I’m also ashamed to say that I wasn’t really her biggest fan during the Come On Over and Up! eras, especially. I guess I was still too used to more traditional sounding country and serious songs at the time, and I just wasn’t quite ready yet for a lot of those singles. I did always like “You’re Still The One,” “From This Moment On,” and “Forever And For Always,” though. However, I now love most all of those singles from those two album eras, and like you, Truth, I became a convert as I got older. Now I would give anything if pop country had continued in the direction of Shania Twain and Taylor Swift instead of going in the direction of “I’m Country!” checklist songs and eventually Florida Georgia Line and Luke Bryan. :P

      I did always love the The Woman In Me singles, though, because they were fresh sounding while still remaining country at the core, with lots of fiddle and steel to be heard. Funny though how even the Come On Over singles sound like pure country now compared to what’s been on the radio for the last ten years.

      Also noteworthy is that my parents (except for my dad, who remained a big fan) were also not the biggest Shania fans during her pop crossover days, but they too eventually came back around. My mom actually quite likes Shania today, with her favorite being “From This Moment On.” :)

  2. I understand the importance of this song, but it’s just never been a favorite. I’d give it a B. I’d give “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under” an A- though; that one and “No One Needs to Know” are my favorite singles from this album.

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  3. Ahh…my introduction to Shania Twain. No matter how many times I’ve heard this one by now, it’s still such a fun listen, and it always brings back great memories of both my childhood and from that exciting time in the mid 90’s when this new female Canadian artist suddenly came out of nowhere and won over (seemingly) everyone’s heart. That guitar intro alone, I swear, zaps be back into being a kid in 1995.

    This was something familiar, yet also different and exciting at the same time. I just love how this song put a completely new and fun spin on the upbeat, dance friendly traditional leaning country songs of the time. Besides the video (which I’ll get to in a minute) what also drew me into this one was that fresh new sound, especially the “boom boom pow” rock beats in the verses, put together with the familiar sounds of the fiddle and steel, which were still right there in your face. I still really love the fiddle and steel on this! Plus, the overall melody was still unmistakably country. I’ve also always loved how spunky it is, yet playful at the same time. And yes, Twain’s playful chanting at the end still puts a smile on my face today!

    By mid 1995, one of my favorite places to hang out with either my dad or step dad was at the local Circuit City. I especially always liked hanging around the TV section and watching the different music videos that they would always show. One day over there, I saw this video and heard this song for the first time, and while I didn’t know who she was yet, I was immediately hooked on it. Pretty soon, it was the main video and song that I’d always really look forward to seeing and hearing whenever I was back in that store. I even got to memorize most all the moves and gestures that Shania did to certain parts/lyrics of the song. I just completely fell in love with the attitude and energy of the song, and I always loved Shania’s charm and playfulness in the video, plus her denim outfit (not to mention her gorgeous smile and beauty, which even as a kid, I couldn’t help but notice). Soon, it also wouldn’t be long until my dad and step dad would join me in watching the video and they too would become instant fans of her and the song. She even got Mom’s attention, and it was actually through her that I found out that she was Canadian.

    For the rest of 1995 and into 1996, Shania was suddenly the most liked and talked about artist in our family, and it just seemed like she was EVERYWHERE. One night when she was performing this song live on television, my step dad had our TV hooked up to our big stereo downstairs, and just when she started singing, he cranked up the volume, turned to me excitedly, and exclaimed “STEREO!!” lol. And then on another day while at the mall, my dad went and got a cassette copy of her The Woman In Me album. Then on another night, I saw Mom watching the video for “The Woman In Me” on TV in her bedroom. Even my fourth grade teacher, whom I’ve mentioned in previous entries was a huge country music fan, had a copy of The Woman In Me. One day when we had some spare time, she tried to teach us line dances to both “Any Man Of Mine” and “You Win My Love” in the gymnasium. I particularly remember having a lot of fun learning and doing the dance to “Any Man Of Mine.” :) It was also another cool way of finding out that some of my other classmates dug country music, as well, and I still especially remember Elisa singing along to “Who’s Boots Have Your Boots Been Under” when it came on. Again, this is the only school year in which I felt that it was accepted and actually cool to like country music, and it was such a really neat experience. :)

    Speaking of “…Boots,” I didn’t hear that one until after hearing “Any Man Of Mine,” and for the longest time, I never even knew it was the first single off the album. I’m guessing our stations simply started playing it more after the big success of “Any Man.” Again, it was such a fun, fresh spin on the traditional country shuffle! I’ve always loved “The Woman In Me,” as well, and it’s too bad it didn’t enjoy the same recurrent airplay as much as the other singles did.

    I had not seen this level of excitement among so many people surrounding a country artist since Garth Brooks in the early 90’s, but there was just something even more special and exciting about it happening to a female artist this time around. :)

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  4. Btw, am I the only one who could’ve sworn that was Dwight Yoakam making a cameo appearance as a backup vocalist during the song’s key change right before the final chorus?

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  5. …if you were blind and heard that one, you’d wish you could see who’s singing there. if you were deaf and could only see that clip, you’d pray to hear what she’s singing there. simply one of those rare moments when everything eventually seemed to fall into place and worked out just perfectly. and it got even better…

  6. Shania left me cold at the time. I held her responsible for the drift toward heavily pop-influenced country. What I wasn’t picking up was exactly what Kevin has pointed out here with the recent number ones from Ty Herndon, John Berry, and now Shania; the best country music of that era was a wonderful hybrid of pop and country. This music proudly wore its contemporary influences on its sleeves without having to pander to country tradition. It actually took me reading Shania Twain’s 2011 autobiography to reconsider her music and significance beyond the sexualized, midriff baring image I had of her previously.

    As Jamie has pointed out, the charm of her playful exuberance was impossible to ignore. I worked at Tower Records in Toronto in 1998 and always remember how excited other sad-boy, hipster music clerks, who across the board dismissed and despised contemporary country (they even made fun of Vince Gill’s “The Key” at the time), loved how fun Shania’s music was. I couldn’t see it myself, but I always remember how they embraced it.

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