Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Neal McCoy, “You Gotta Love That”

“You Gotta Love That

Neal McCoy

Written by Jess Brown and Brett Jones

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

April 12, 1996

Neal McCoy’s third and most recent No. 1 hit.

The Road to No. 1

After “No Doubt About It” and “Wink” went No. 1, “The City Put the Country Back in Me” went top five, serving as the final single from No Doubt About It.   You Gotta Love That produced four singles on its way to repeating the platinum sales of its predecessor.  “For a Change” and “They’re Playing Our Song” both went top five, and then “If I Was a Drinkin’ Man” went top twenty.  The label chose the title track as the final single.

The No.1

I had no recollection of this song at all, and I wondered why.   Turns out it didn’t have a video, and its radio run coincided with a window of time that NYC had no country radio station.

I expected with its opening verse that it was going to be an eyeroll-worthy precursor to bro country:

Fresh off the farm just out of school
Face of an angel and nobody’s fool
Turquoise boots Atlanta Braves hat
Denim and lace and you gotta love that

But it takes a quick turn, as this woman has no interest in sticking around and being eye candy for some small town jock:

Long way from home white picket fence
She turned down a ring from her old boyfriend
She didn’t take a dime from even her dad
She’s out on her own and you gotta love that

In the mid-nineties, even the guys were leaning into the female empowerment that was dominating the musical landscape.  It was a sign of the times, which unfortunately proved to be fleeting.

The Road From No. 1

Neal McCoy followed You Gotta Love That with a gold-selling self-titled album that produced a top five cover of “Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye.”  A platinum-selling hits collection was released next, featuring his most recent top five hit, “The Shake.”   His radio airplay cooled after that, though he managed a top ten hit in 2005 with “Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On.”  McCoy has remained an active touring artist and is well-known for his support of active and veteran military members.

“You Gotta Love That” gets a B. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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Next: Lonestar, “No News”


  1. Didn’t know that Neal “is well-known for his support of active and veteran military members.” Maybe he contributes to the DAV or VFW. Tomorrow’s holiday, Memorial Day (previously but now seldom called Decoration Day) is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who had died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is now observed on the last Monday of May, having been observed on May 30 from 1868 to 1970. (thank you wiki.)

    Veterans Day this year is Friday 11/11/02

    What is the difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day?
    Memorial Day and Veterans Day honor the sacrifices of innumerable individuals who sacrificed themselves to preserve the freedoms all Americans enjoy, with Memorial Day remembering those who gave their lives, and Veterans Day honoring all who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

  2. Thankfully, McCoy’s staying power with radio was also fleeting. As I have mentioned before, there are many reasons to like McCoy as a person and entertainer. Unfortunately, his middling musical output regularly underwhelmed, as does this number.

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