Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Lee Roy Parnell, “Heart’s Desire”

“Heart’s Desire

Lee Roy Parnell

Written by Cris Moore and Lee Roy Parnell

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

April 19, 1996

Lee Roy Parnell’s most recent No. 1 hit was radio’s purest showcase of his talent.

The Road to No. 1

After “A Little Bit of You” went to No. 1, “When a Woman Loves a Man” went top fifteen.  Parnell then released his biggest hit to date.

The No. 1

“Heart’s Desire” is as close to Lee Roy Parnell without the sanded down edges as country radio ever played.

It’s a simple enough love song, covering lyrical ground that is overly familiar for Parnell.  What makes this one shine brighter is the presentation.  His vocal is raw, the backing band is roadhouse ready, and as always, his slide guitar is beyond reproach.

At the time, it felt like his long overdue breakthrough hit, pushing him to the highest album sales of his career and his only appearance on the Billboard 200.

It ended up being his last top ten hit, which is a real shame.

The Road From No. 1

Parnell kept the groove going with “Givin’ Water to a Drownin’ Man,” which became his final top fifteen hit.  His final album for Arista/Career was released in 1997. Everything’s Gonna Be Alright produced two top forty hits:  “Lucky Me, Lucky You” and “You Can’t Get There From Here.”  A hits collection followed in 1999. Parnell has released several independent albums in the new century, most recently Midnight Believer in 2017.   He continues to play on the road, particularly across Texas.

“Heart’s Desire” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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4 Comments

  1. good song
    saw LRP twice at the BB and once at the Franklin Theater with Gary Nicholson and once at BB King’s with Pinmonkey. (still love Barbed Wire and Roses)

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  2. I even owned a Lee Roy Parnell cassette as a kid. But again, I don’t even remember this song at all. So I can’t in good conscience say whether I agree or disagree with the review.

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  3. The wisdom his roadway mature vocals convey,combined with the raucous roadhouse band and greasy slide guitar, always made Parnell sound like a visitor to mainstream radio, albeit, a much welcomed one. Parnell bridged alt.country and the mainstream while offending neither camp.

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  4. Unlike Stephen, I do actually remember very well hearing this song on the radio when it came out. It was played quite a bit in our area, actually. Like many other early 1996 singles, it brings back great memories of when I was still in fourth grade, and when my dad was taking my mom and I out for dinner and sometimes a movie, as well, in the evenings. :)

    One thing I love about this time in the 90’s is how it seemed like there was still room for all kinds of styles on country radio, including roadhouse rock like this from Lee Roy Parnell. While I do enjoy his more melodic, “smoothed out” mid tempo cuts that he usually succeeded on the radio with, I do also love these cuts in which he was allowed to let loose and rock out more. This is still such a fun listen for me today! It’s got a heck of a groove, and once again, his slide guitar playing is top notch. And I swear, Parnell has one of the coolest growls out of all the 90’s male vocalists. Always liked the “like a car spinnin’ out of control with a blown out tire” line in the chorus, as well. It’s hard to believe there was a time in which stuff like this was played heavily on country radio AND also reached the penthouse. Did I mention how much I miss the 90’s?

    I think We All Get Lucky Sometimes is one of his strongest records, as well. I especially love the title track, which definitely should’ve been a bigger hit when released as the final single. It also has other downright fun stuff on it like “If The House Is Rockin'” and “Cat Walk,” the instrumental featuring Flaco Jimenez on accordion. 1997’s Every Night’s A Saturday Night is also a great album that deserved a lot better, imo. My absolute favorite cut on it is “Tender Touch,” which is one he co-wrote with Bob McDill. Also love “You Can’t Get There From Here.”

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