Every #1 Single of the Nineties: David Lee Murphy, “Dust On the Bottle”

“Dust On the Bottle

David Lee Murphy

Written by David Lee Murphy


#1 (2 weeks)

October 28 – November 4, 1995

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

October 20, 1995

A remarkably successful songwriter scores his first No. 1 hit as an artist.

The Road to No. 1

David Lee Murphy was born and raised in Illinois, and while he was discovered by Tony Brown soon after his mid-eighties arrival in Nashville, he wasn’t signed to a recording contract until a decade later.  He appeared as a co-writer of various album cuts for other artists.  His first single, “Just Once,” appeared on the 8 Seconds soundtrack, and it went top forty.  It appeared alongside second single, “Fish Ain’t Bitin’,” on his debut album, Out With a Bang.  That song missed the top forty, but Murphy broke through with the album’s third single, the top ten hit “Party Crowd.”  His fourth single went all the way to the top.

The No. 1

It wasn’t terribly obvious at the time.  “Dust On the Bottle” just seemed like a clever up-tempo hit that was a cut above a lot of its company on the radio dial.

But like the wine in the song, its impact has grown over time, to the point where it is now one of the decade’s defining hits.

So many of the songs of this era came up with a concept and then forced a song to be built around it.  “Dust On the Bottle” works the opposite way, with the metaphor being the logical output of the song’s storyline.

Murphy’s performance is infectious and the arrangement is crisp and clean. Everything about this works.

It is easily one of the best records of 1995.

The Road From No. 1

“Dust On the Bottle” has been such a powerful legacy hit that sixteen years after Out With a Bang was certified gold through pure album sales, it was pushed to platinum through streaming of the album’s signature hit.   The album’s title track followed it at radio, and it went top fifteen.  His next studio album, Gettin’ Out the Good Stuff, produced the top five hits “Every Time I Get Around You” and “The Road You Leave Behind.”

Murphy’s third MCA album included the top thirty hit “All Lit Up in Love” and the top forty hit “Just Don’t Wait Around ‘Til She’s Leavin’.”  Murphy then exited the label, resurfacing seven years later on Audium/Koch with Tryin’ to Get There, which featured the top five hit “Loco.”

Murphy spent the next decade as a professional songwriter, co-writing major hits for Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Jake Owen, Blake Shelton, and Trace Adkins.  He returned to recording in 2018 with the album No Zip Code.  Murphy earned his second No. 1 hit with “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” featuring Kenny Chesney, and the pair picked up a CMA Award for Musical Event for the record.  The song has been certified gold.

“Dust On the Bottle” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. David Lee Murphy has to have the record for longest time between number one hits in country music history. It’s easy to see now why this song stood the test of time. Not too cheesy, no outdated references, and that popular and recognizable mid-90s sound that is definitely in style right now. Can’t help but smile every time I hear this song.

  2. This is another fun song I remember always loving whenever it came on the radio in the mid 90’s. Between this, “Party Crowd,” “Out With A Bang,” and “Every Time I Get Around You,” David Lee Murphy brought a certain level of energy, excitement, and charm that made country radio fun for me to listen to in the mid 90’s. I always liked his unique voice, as well.

    What drew me to this song specifically at the time, was the rock influenced beat and the overall energy and fun vibes it had. Sonically in some parts, it kind of reminded me a bit of “Two Princes” by the Spin Doctors, which was (and still is) one of my favorite non-country songs at the time. What I’ve come to appreciate about it more lately is the storytelling in the lyrics, which you’ve pointed out. I’ve heard so many bro-country artists praise this song countless times throughout the past decade, yet it has so much more detail and storytelling than most of those guys’ songs combined. Not to mention, it’s charming, it has such a catchy melody, and some great steel playing from Paul Franklin.

    Like I said, I remember getting excited and loving this song whenever it came on the radio throughout 1995 and 1996. One specific time I remember hearing it was in the car in early 1996 when my dad and I were circling around the parking lot of the mall to see if they were open yet. We still had a ton of snow and ice on the ground from the Blizzard of ’96, and it had snowed so much that it caused some of the roof of the mall to cave in, which is why they had to close temporarily. While I was disappointed that they were still closed, I did at least get to enjoy hearing this song on the radio while we were checking. :) I also remember hearing a recurrent of “Don’t Rock The Jukebox” another time we went back to see if they were open, with STILL lots of snow and ice on the ground, lol.

    This song continued to get a lot of recurrent airplay for the rest of the decade and well into the 00’s, as well. I even got it on a tape I recorded in the Fall of 1998. :)

    Another one of my absolute favorites by DLM is the more serious “The Road You Leave Behind,” which I recorded to a tape in the Fall of 1996. I fell in love with that song all over again in the Fall of 1999 when I was playing that tape after not listening to it in quite a while, and I would repeat it over and over, in which I’m surprised it never wore out. Believe it or not, I was already getting nostalgic for the mid 90’s by then.

    My favorite album from him is his underrated 1997 effort, We Can’t All Be Angels, which was a more mellow sounding record from him than usual, while still keeping much of his edge from the last two records. I remember reading Murphy himself describe the album as being ideal for listening to in a quiet room with a good pair of headphones on, and I’d have to agree. :) I love “Just Don’t Wait Around Til She’s Leaving,” along with “Almost Like Being There,” “Velvet Lies,” “That’s Behind Me,” “She Don’t Try To Make Me Love Her,” “I Could Believe Anything,” and the title track.

  3. I didn’t much like Murphy much in the moment, but I have completely reconsidered his output. It has aged so well. I recently ganged listening Murphy’s albums with Blackhawk’s and Clay Walker’s early albums. I find myself turning to Murphy’s music most often.

    This song is a classic 90’s hit, if not an outright classic.

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