“Bigger Than the Beatles“
Written by Jeb Stuart Anderson and Steve Dukes
#1 (2 weeks)
February 17 – February 24, 1996
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
February 9, 1996
Joe Diffie’s final No. 1 hit is a winner.
The Road to No. 1
After three No. 1 hits from Third Rock From the Sun, “I’m In Love with a Capital ‘U'” went top thirty and “That Road Not Taken” went top forty. The lead single from Diffie’s fifth studio album, Life’s So Funny, then became his final No. 1 hit.
The No. 1
For a song that’s just a loose rewrite of “Meet Me in Montana,” it’s impressive how effective “Bigger Than the Beatles” is.
It features two very likable characters working at the Holiday Inn. One sings with the band, the other waits tables. Both dream of stardom that isn’t going to happen. But they aren’t despondent about it like the “Montana” couple, because they realize that “all you need is love.” They see stars when they look at each other. She’s a movie queen to him, and he’s a rock star to her.
Diffie sings their story with an optimistic spirit of celebration, and the production weaves sixties pop trademarks into its fundamentally country arrangement. Those “She Loves You” yeah yeah yeahs at the end are the icing on the cake.
The Road From No. 1
Diffie would go on to have four more major hits. “Texas Size Heartache” from his 1998 Greatest Hits set went top five. His 1999 set A Night to Remember produced a top ten hit with the title track and a top five hit with “It’s Always Somethin’.” Diffie made his final visit to the top ten in 2001 with the title track of In Another World. His last significant appearance on the chart came three years later, with the top twenty hit, “Tougher Than Nails.”
Diffie recorded sparsely after that, rearranging his hits for his 2010 release Homecoming, and collaborating with Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin in 2013 on All in the Same Boat. He was name-dropped by Jason Aldean on the hit “1994,” and was a popular draw on the nineties nostalgia circuit. His life was tragically cut short in 2020 when he succumbed to COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic. As this feature has demonstrated, this late artist is overdue for a revival, as he was one of the best artists to come along in his generation and has an impressive body of work left behind as his legacy.
“Bigger Than the Beatles” gets a B+.