“Someone Else’s Star“
Written by Skip Ewing and Jim Weatherly
#1 (1 week)
September 9, 1995
A young new star earns his first No. 1 hit.
The Road to No. 1
Like many stars before him, Bryan White grew up in a musical family. A native of Oklahoma, he played the drums from age five and sang in both his dad’s country band and his mom’s pop band when he was in high school. He moved to Nashville soon after, selling t-shirts for the band Pearl Oyster, who often let him perform on stage.
With the help of producer Kyle Lehning, White signed with Asylum Records. His first single, “Eugene, You Genius,” missed the top forty, and his second, “Look at Me Now,” went top thirty. He went all the way to No. 1 with his third release.
The No. 1
I think what I’m most surprised about in retrospect is just how country this record is.
It sounds like something from the turn of the decade, arranged the way that Kathy Mattea was doing her ballads when she was still produced by Allen Reynolds. White has a clear and pure voice, and he sounds like a younger version of Collin Raye on this track.
His youthfulness is a good match for the lyrical content. There’s something just so innocent about wishing on a star in the hopes of finding love.
It works quite well for what it is.
The Road From No. 1
White’s next single will also go to No. 1, as his self-titled debut album powered to platinum sales. We’ll cover it in early 1996.
“Someone Else’s Star” gets a B.
Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties
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This was just a pretty pairing of White’s youth with a sweetly innocent lyric.
Given how loud so much of country music had become by this point, this wistful song sounded like a lullaby, soothing and subdued.
Again, so many 1995 memories come flooding back as soon as I hear this one. :) This was my introduction to Bryan White, and it was yet another song I remember hearing quite often as I was really getting back into country that year. It reminds me of the usual fun times my dad and I had back then (going to the indoor mini golf, Circuit City, etc.,) but I also remember one day hearing this song coming out of a huge speaker outside at this little gathering one of our local country stations was having in town. We were there just to check out what was going on, and my dad got this neat little red clipper to put on his key ring with the station’s name and call letters on it. He always wore his key ring on his pants back then, and for the longest time, that red clipper hung there along with his clinging keys. :) I’d actually missed seeing that as part of his wardrobe as soon as he decided in the mid 00’s to put his keys in his pocket instead. I believe he gave the clipper to me, though I can’t recall where I put it at the moment.
I also agree that this song was a great match for the youthful Bryan White and his youthful sounding voice. Both the lyrics and melody are very pretty, and I love Bryan’s emotional performance. I especially like his soaring vocal during the second and final choruses. I can definitely hear the similarities to Collin Raye here, as well.
I also really love the production, which is definitely a throwback to the more subdued arrangements you used to hear more often earlier in the decade. Kyle Lehning has always been another one of my favorite producers, because similar to Garth Fundis, his production style for the most part doesn’t get in the way of the singer, and has always been more quiet and laid back. Most of Randy Travis’ music from around this time was also a lot more quiet compared to other songs on the charts and not far removed from his 80’s and early 90’s sound (“This Is Me” and “The Box,” especially). I do also like the slightly more polished style Lehning took on in the mid-late 90’s while still keeping things fairly subdued compared to many of his peers.
I also remember when revisiting Bryan White’s music and checking out his first three albums being surprised by how country a lot of his music actually sounded, despite him being typically labeled as pop country. Two of my biggest favorites from him are probably his two most traditional sounding cuts: “That’s Another Song” and the Bill Anderson and Steve Wariner penned “One Small Miracle.” I also really love “Look At Me Now,” which should’ve been a bigger hit, imo. I just love the entire feel of that song, plus the steel solo.
Another one of my favorite cuts from his debut album is “Nothing Less Than Love,” which shows off his Steve Wariner influences more. It should’ve been released as a single, imo, and it actually was a minor hit later for the short lived group, The Buffalo Club, in the summer of 1997 (which I don’t recall hearing on the radio, though I did hear their other hit, “If She Don’t Love You”).
Btw, pretty cool finding about his connection to Prairie Oyster!