Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Bryan White, “Rebecca Lynn”

“Rebecca Lynn

Bryan White

Written by Skip Ewing and Don Sampson

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

January 6, 1996

A rising star earns the first No. 1 hit of 1996.

The Road to No. 1

Bryan White’s first No. 1 single, “Someone Else’s Star,” kicked off a very successful run at radio and retail.  The final single from Bryan White became the second of four consecutive No. 1 singles, three of which would top the charts in 1996, the same year he took home ACM Top New Male Artist and CMA Horizon Award honors.

The No. 1

Let’s focus on the positives first.

As with its predecessor, “Rebecca Lynn” is tastefully produced and beautifully sung, again recalling the understated ballads from the turn of the decade.

Where this one falters in comparison to what came before is in the lyrical content.  The tale of a lifelong love beginning in grade school is sweet enough, even if we’d just heard the same idea from George Strait a few weeks earlier.  Can’t hang that around White’s neck, though; his album was released before “Check Yes or No” went to radio.

But there’s one line in the chorus that unravels the whole song, like a loose thread from a fraying sweater:  “Ring around the Rosie, pocket full of dreams and posies.”

Forcing “dreams” into the old nursery rhyme to make it fit the rhythm of the chorus is songwriting malpractice.  It still makes me wince today.

The Road From No. 1

Bryan White launched his sophomore set, Between Now and Forever, with two lead-off No. 1 hits.  We’ll cover them both in 1996.

“Rebecca Lynn” gets a C.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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3 Comments

  1. B+. I’ll let him off for the chorus because it’s Skip Ewing and I’m not going to second-guess Skip.

    I’d probably have given it a slightly lower rating if it stayed in the key of the first verse without a key change, and a slightly higher rating if it started higher. Even though it’s only one step, Bryan’s voice is much better suited for the second/third verse.

  2. This was never one of my biggest favorites from Bryan, but it’s grown on me quite a lot lately. It’s also such a refreshing listen today compared to what’s been on the radio for the last several years. As Kevin pointed out, it’s amazing to see that songs with such a laid back, rootsy production style were still allowed to become big hits in 1995/1996. It’s especially neat to hear a record that sounds like this coming from what was, at the time, one of the genre’s hottest new young stars with a huge female teen following.

    I’ve also a sucker these days for songs about romantic relationships that start from early childhood, and ones that use old nursery rhymes, especially, have that innocent charm that I can’t resist. And even though I know a lot of people hate it, Clay Walker’s “One Two, I Love You” has the same appeal for me (not to mention, a lovely fiddle and steel heavy neo-traditional arrangement). Guess it’s the little kid still in me. :)

    Stephen, the mentioning of Skip Ewing reminds me that he’s another songwriter who’s written a lot of my favorites from the 90’s, both singles and album cuts. Love his late 80’s music as a recording artist, as well.

  3. Ewing’s 1988 debut “Coast of Colorado” has always been a favourite of mine. So many great songs: “Autumn’s Not That Cold,” “The Gospel According to Luke,” “A Lighter Shade of Blue,”Dad.”

    I love the ringing instrumentation of the production on this White single, but the song is ultimately pretty forgettable.

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