“That’s as Close as I’ll Get to Loving You“
Written by Sally Dworsky, Paul Jefferson, and Jan Leyers
#1 (2 weeks)
December 23 – December 30, 1995
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
December 8, 1995
Aaron Tippin’s final No. 1 single of the decade is creepy as hell.
The Road to No. 1
After enjoying his first No. 1 single with “There Ain’t Nothin’ Wrong With the Radio,” Tippin went top five with “I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way” and top ten with “My Blue Angel,” all from his platinum-selling set, Read Between the Lines. Tippin’s next two albums – Call of the Wild and Lookin’ Back at Myself – both went gold, despite only producing one top ten hit between them with “Workin’ Man’s Ph.D.” So RCA decided he needed an image change, and pushed him to record what became his second of three No. 1 hits.
The No. 1
Part of the reason that “That’s as Close as I’ll Get to Loving You” comes off so skeezy is that Tippin is hopelessly miscast in the role of a man quietly crushing on a woman from a distance.
Tippin’s identity up until that point had been the proud working man who provides for his family. The idea that he’s obsessing night and day over a woman unaware of his existence, while he gets off on brushing up against her and taking “that moment home” is as implausible as it is inherently repulsive.
This song is so far beneath his dignity that I still can’t believe he recorded it, let alone that radio chose to embrace this over fantastic singles like “I Got it Honest” and “Whole Lotta Love On the Line.”
The Road From No. 1
This was Tippin’s last big hit for RCA, but he resurfaced on Lyric Street in the late nineties and had three major hits with them: “For You I Will” went top ten in 1998, his final hit of the decade. He then enjoyed his final No. 1 hit to date in 2000 with “Kiss This,” featured on his most recent gold album, People Like Us. In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, he went top five with “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly.”
Tippin has since remained a popular draw on the road, recording occasionally as well. His most recent single, “All in the Same Boat,” was a collaboration with fellow nineties stars Sammy Kershaw and Joe Diffie.
“That’s as Close as I’ll Get to Loving You” gets a D.
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