Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Alan Jackson, “Little Bitty”

“Little Bitty

Alan Jackson

Written by Tom T. Hall

Billboard

#1 (3 weeks)

December 7 – December 21, 1996

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

November 22 – November 29, 1996

A winning Tom T. Hall cover completes another string of Alan Jackson No. 1 singles.

The Road to No. 1

Alan Jackson previewed his fifth Arista studio album, Everything I Love, with his fifth consecutive No. 1 hit.

The No. 1

And it’s one of his best.

Alan Jackson’s firm grounding in country music history made him one of the only mainstream artists of the mid-nineties who would even know how to deliver a Tom T. Hall song, and his consistent success made him part of an even smaller group who could make such a song a multi-week No. 1 on both charts.

“Little Bitty” is fantastic.  It’s witty, catchy, and enthusiastically performed, managing to improve on the already great “Tall, Tall Trees” while still hewing close to that song’s template.

Everything I Love was the album that signaled folks were starting to take Alan Jackson for granted a little bit, as it didn’t sell as many copies or receive as much awards attention as his previous four albums.

But it’s a damn good album, and its lead single is one of its strongest tracks.

The Road From No. 1

The title track from Everything I Love was the second single, and it went top ten, though it was his lowest-charting single since “Blue Blooded Woman,” his first release for Arista that missed the top forty.  But the next three singles after than all went No. 1.  We’ll start covering them in 1997.

“Little Bitty” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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4 Comments

  1. ‘Everything I Love’ is my favourite album from Alan, no filler all killer!

    This single I remember coming out and as a child we absolutely loved it! As an adult I still do but the title track and “A House With No Curtains” and “Walk On The Rocks” now are higher up for me!

    • Agreed. Everything I Love is definitely one of my favorite 90’s AJ albums!

      “A House With No Curtains,” is so good, especially, and I’m so glad you mentioned it! Other singles I love from this album are “There Goes” and “Between The Devil And Me.” My favorite non single, personally, is “Buicks To The Moon.”

  2. One of the best examples that traditional country can be fun and enjoyed by younger people, too!

    I loved this song back when it was new, and it’s still one of my top favorites of his more lighthearted songs today. Just like it was impressive that a Roger Miller and George Jones song could still top the charts in late 1995, it was also pretty cool that a Tom T. Hall composition could still top the charts in late 1996. I absolutely love how fun and quirky this song is, along with Alan’s enthusiastic performance. Even the accordion in the mix really adds to the song’s lightheartedness. I just really miss this kind of fun country!

    The song’s music video is also so much fun and full of quirky charm! I just love how random it is with the scarecrow that comes alive, the dude blowing bubbles, and those Bumble Balls just bouncin’ around under Alan’s seat, lol. Seeing those Bumble Balls always brings back great memories from when every toy store in every mall was selling them in the 90’s, and they’d always be out in the front of the stores just hoppin’ around. In fact, I always remembered this as the only country video that featured Bumble Balls. :) I also love how all the kids in this video seemed to be having so much fun! I really miss seeing more kid friendly videos like this. Also, if I was in this video, I would totally be just like that one actress in the white dress that’s having fun and dancing around with the kids and just being a big kid herself. :)

    The first time I heard this one was on a cold and rainy night while in the car with my dad. At first, I didn’t even know it was Alan and thought it sounded more like Daryle Singletary. I remember just loving the whole novelty of everything being called little bitty, and I’d often refer to it as the “itty bitty” song back then. I’d even sometimes refer to this song whenever something was smaller than expected. Like one time, my parents decided to try this brand new restaurant that opened in one of our regular malls called Mick’s. However, they were not impressed with their food at all, and I particularly remember my dad’s dish coming with a side of green beans that were some of the smallest and skinniest I’ve ever seen. As they continued to complain about their food, I pointed to the beans and told Dad, you got some “Little Bitty” beans! lol. Since he also liked the song, he got the reference right away.

    Since “Little Bitty” continued to get lots of recurrent airplay for us throughout the rest of the 90’s and early 00’s, and was such a big part of my life’s soundtrack during that time, I’ve always personally considered this more of a late 90’s song than mid 90’s despite it coming out in 1996.

    My step dad also loved this song whenever it came on the radio, and by 2002 I had a cd copy of the Everything I Love album. While we were in Pennsylvania one time and my mom was shopping at the QVC outlet in the Frazer area in Malvern, he and I were just chilling the car. He then asked if I had a cd he could listen to, so I let him look through the ones I brought with me. Since he always liked Alan Jackson and liked “Little Bitty” I wasn’t surprised at all he picked Everything I Love. I told him, “Oh, that’s a good one!” From the moment “Little Bitty” started, he was singing, smiling and just having a good time. But the thing was, he was mostly like this when listening to the ENTIRE album. He was even singing along loudly and proudly to the album’s title track, “Between The Devil And Me,” “Buicks To The Moon,” “Who’s Cheatin’ Who” (while doing “air steel guitar” with his hands, lol), ” A House With No Curtains,” “Walk On The Rocks,” etc. It was just one of those moments in which he just made listening to music so much more fun, which is one thing my step dad was always good at, especially if we were listening to something we both really liked. :)

    Btw, speaking of the Everything I Love album, I always liked that Land Of Little People sign that’s featured on the page for the lyrics to “Little Bitty” in the album’s booklet. It always looked like an elf to me. After I got the album in 2002, that sign’s image would always pop in my head whenever I heard it, lol. Even during the times it came on the radio and step dad was singing along to it.

    Oh, and you couldn’t have chosen a better pic of Alan for this song! :)

  3. I always hoped this hit would ignite interest in Tom T. Hall’s music or lead to a late career renaissance a la Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson. Unfortunately, it didn’t, but the song did highlight what a special talent Hall was as a songwriter and what insane innate ability Jackson had as a singer. Jackson’s takes on “Tall Tall Trees” and “Little Bitty” sounded fresh and contemporary. They didn’t have any of the reverential heaviness of, say, a Ricky Van Shelton cover. A cool, fun record.

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