“Carrying Your Love With Me”
Written by Steve Bogard and Jeff Stevens
#1 (4 weeks)
July 19 – August 9, 1997
Radio & Records
#1 (4 weeks)
July 4 – July 25, 1997
George Strait arrives with the summer’s other megahit.
The Road to No. 1
Strait’s enjoying his strongest period of radio dominance, with this being the second multi-week No. 1 from his Carrying Your Love With Me album.
The No. 1
“Carrying Your Love With Me” is a simple song about how well love travels. Yes, that’s an intentional Kathy Mattea reference, who released a more ambitious exploration of this same theme that year which was largely passed over by country radio.
Strait’s effort is still good, with a catchy hook that ingratiates itself with repeated listens. Once again, a composition that would’ve been radio filler in lesser hands becomes a captivating listen because of Strait’s peerless phrasing skills.
Still, it’s so much more satisfying when the material lives up to the talent. Thankfully, it will do so on his next No. 1 single, which we’ll see before the end of the year.
The Road From No. 1
As noted above, he’s got another No. 1 single on the way, and it’s the only one that fell short of the top on the Billboard listing, despite it being the best single from the album.
“Carrying Your Love With Me” gets a B+.
Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties
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Earlier this week, this song inspired a “She Had Me At Heads Carolina” knock-off that is literally one of the worst things I’ve ever heard:
That was the longest 2 minutes and 35 seconds of my life.
Oh I didn’t think it would be that bad when I clicked the link!!
Such a travesty to such an amazing song.
Somewhere Sam Hunt is cursing himself for not thinking of the sample first.
Yeah, this song definitely screams Summer of 1997 for me. :) I remember hearing it on the radio the first few times during the tail end of my 5th grade year, back when I thought he was saying “Baby all I got’s this beat up leather BACK” lol. It was even still getting lots of decent recurrent airplay when I first entered middle school and was starting 6th grade, and I’d often hear it at night on my new clock radio before I fell asleep. In between those two events, I would see the music video for “Carrying Your Love With Me” countless times on GAC. CYLWM would also become another song that was a big part of the soundtrack to the vacation my parents and I took to Maine in August, 1997. Every time I hear the song today, it still brings back great memories of being in New England with my parents. :)
The song continued to be a strong recurrent for us in the next few years, and by the time I was in 7th grade, even one of my classmates, who was more of a rock and metal guy, had heard it by then. One two different days at the lunch table, he told us about some country song’s he’d recently heard on the radio station his parents were listening to and would sing them out loud to us in an exaggerated southern twang. The first one was “Carrying Your Love With Me,” and he sang the first verse and chorus all in that mocking southern accent. Most everyone at the table got a good laugh out of it, and I laughed along as well, since I wasn’t brave enough yet to admit that I was a big country music fan to any of my classmates during those times, especially since many of them had expressed their dislike for it and thought it was uncool. We all assumed he was making fun of the song back then, but now looking back, it’s actually possible that he could’ve at least secretly liked it. I mean, after all, it was impressive that he memorized just about all the lyrics. The other country song he sang for us the next day was Neal McCoy’s “The Shake,” lol.
I agree all the way that Strait’s performance really carries this song, along with the smooth, still modern sounding production from him and Tony Brown. There’s a certain charm that only a veteran artist Strait can bring to it, and I can’t imagine it working quite as well if one of the newer and younger “hat acts” of the time had sung it instead. I’ve always loved that smooth electric guitar playing near the end, as well. It’s also worth noting that the songwriting team of Steve Bogard and Jeff Stevens has written many of my personal favorite Strait songs from the mid 90’s to the early 00’s. Those two even helped produced Jerry Kilgore’s 1999 debut album, Love Trip, one of my personal all time favorite albums ever since I got it in 2000. Stylistically, Kilgore also reminds me a lot of George Strait, which is always a huge plus for me (Well, it also doesn’t hurt that he’s a fellow Oregonian :) ).
I also agree with you that the next single after this is even better, and I’m looking forward to it.
Strait is still deep in his groove at this point. He could do no wrong.