Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Toby Keith, “Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You”

“Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You

Toby Keith

Written by Toby Keith

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

June 14, 1996

Toby Keith previews his third album with a self-penned ballad.

The Road to No. 1

After “Who’s That Man” became his third No. 1 single, Boomtown produced three more hits: the top ten “Upstairs Downtown,” the top five “You Ain’t Much Fun,” and the top twenty “Big Ol’ Truck.”  He returned to the top with the lead-off single from Blue Moon.

The No. 1

Toby Keith spent most of the nineties being pitched by his label as a variation of Vince Gill.  They pushed him to do piano-based ballads and to lean in to a sensitive guy persona.

He sang these types of songs beautifully, as he does on “Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You.”  But they often felt antiseptic, as if his rough edges were being completely smoothed out to fit on the radio.

“Blue Moon” features a phenomenal vocal performance that would have been better adorned with copious fiddle and steel, much like the way his DreamWorks-era ballads would be presented.

The Road From No. 1

“A Woman’s Touch” followed “Blue Moon” and it went top ten.  Keith returned to the top with another sensitive guy ballad, which served as the third and final single from Blue Moon.  We’ll cover it in early 1997.

“Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You” gets a B+.


Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. Keith first taps into his full potential as a vocalist with this album and this single. Although history would ultimately prove him to be miscast as exclusively a sensitive, piano balladeer, he would use this aspect of his persona to tremendous success on many albums as a counterpoint to his emerging brash and aggressive sound. Balancing the tension between the two aspects of his personality is what made so much of his music thrilling and his albums dynamic and exciting. I have always considered “Blue Moon” a hugely important album in his career. Keith doesn’t receive the credit he should for being an excellent singer. This song is evidence of just how good he was, even at this early point of his career.

  2. I personally think this is one of Toby’s best vocal performances of the 90’s. His powerful vocals and his range are especially displayed very well in the song’s bridge, which has always been one of my favorite parts of the song. While it may have sounded nice with a more traditional arrangement, I actually think the more contemporary production style suits it well enough. I especially love Sonny Garrish’s steel and the sound it makes at the very end is pretty neat. I also love that mid 90’s electric guitar solo in the break, which is one of the more memorable guitar solos of this period for me. The “sensitive guy” side of Toby is my personal favorite side of him, and I wish he had continued to release more emotional songs like this during the 2000’s as singles, instead of leaving most of them buried as album cuts.

    I always really enjoyed this song whenever it was on the radio in 1996, and I remember one day while I was still in fourth grade, I had this song stuck in my head all day. On that same day, one of my classmates was telling one of her friends that she’d been listening to a lot of country music lately and that she also had some songs she liked going through her head. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was one of those songs she was referring to, lol. As I have mentioned numerous times on other mid 90’s entrees of this feature, my fourth grade teacher was also a huge country fan, and it seemed like it rubbed off on some of my classmates at the time, as well. :)

    This was also one of the current 1996 songs that the AMC Theaters was playing as part of their pre-movie playlist at the time, and I remember hearing and enjoying this song on quite a few occasions when my parents and I went to the movies. The most memorable moment for me was on one of the days when my parents first started sneaking in our own drinks and snacks into the theater. We always smuggled them in the “pineapple bag,” which was simply a tote bag from Hawaii with a picture of a pineapple on it. We were all in the theater waiting for the movie to start and getting ready to take the goodies out of the bag when this tall old man wearing shorts with a grey beard and glasses came in and sat down right behind us in one of the two seats in the very back row. My step dad insisted I could still take out the popcorn and that it would be okay, but I was wary. Just when I was taking the popcorn out of the pineapple bag, I turned around and the old man was staring right at me while Toby Keith in the background was singing the chorus “Does that blue moon every shine on youuu…” lol! I got scared to death at that moment, since I always hated getting in trouble with anyone. Luckily, he didn’t do or say anything, and the rest of our time at the theater went smoothly. In the next few years whenever we smuggled in our own snacks and drinks, we usually waited to take them out until the previews started and the theater went fully dark, lol. But anyway, this song always reminds me of that one time in the theater that I thought I was caught red handed by that old man, lol.

    This song’s music video was also the first Toby Keith video I remember seeing on GAC. That was when I really got to know what he looked like. From that point on, whenever I heard or thought of Toby Keith, I always pictured him standing by that window with his blonde permed mullet. For some reason, the opening shot of him without his hat always stuck with me more than the ones with his hat on. In fact, I never thought of Toby as a “hat act” until the How Do You Like Me Now era. I do like the hat that he sported in the mid 90’s, though, which always reminded me of the hat the Quaker Oats guy always wore, especially the black one.

    The Blue Moon album is personally one of my favorites of his 90’s albums. Except for the two upbeat cuts near the end, most all of the record has a very cool night time feel to it, which I guess fits the title of the album perfectly. I love Nelson Larkin and Toby’s more contemporary production on it throughout. In many ways, it reminds me of an Earl Thomas Conley album (who Larkin also produced) updated for the 90’s. Besides the singles, my favorite cuts on it are “The Lonely,” “Every Night,” “Closing Time At Home,” “Lucky Me,” and “She’s Perfect.”

    I also really love “A Woman’s Touch” which definitely should’ve been a bigger hit, imo. I absolutely love that song’s haunting melody and its dark atmosphere. One of his coolest singles of the decade, imo!

    • Oh yeah, and when those Day By Day calendar stores started opening in the malls during the holiday season, I always immediately thought of the opening line to this song. :)

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