Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Lonestar, “Come Cryin’ to Me”

“Come Cryin’ to Me”


Written by John Rich, Mark D. Sanders, and Wally Wilson


#1 (1 week)

August 16, 1997

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 8, 1997

Lonestar make some tentative steps toward their signature sound.

The Road to No. 1

After “No News” became their first No. 1 hit, their self-titled debut produced two more hits: the top ten “Runnin’ Away With My Heart” and the top twenty “Heartbroke Every Day.”  The band returned to the top with the lead single from their second album, Crazy Nights.

The No. 1

It’s interesting that two of the songwriters of “Come Cryin’ to Me” – producer Wally Wilson and band member John Rich – would both exit before the band exploded to superstardom with their third album.

In one sense, they were clearly contributing to the band’s success, especially as “Come Cryin’ to Me” was a massive radio hit.  But it also showed the limitations of the rote mid-nineties country sound that Lonestar was saddled with.  “Come Cryin’ to Me” is cryin’ out for some pop embellishments.  Lead singer Richie McDonald sounds like he’s being held back from truly doing what he wants to do vocally.  Where the song needs to soar, it settles for a middling plateau.

Given an arrangement like “What About Now,” this song would crackle with intensity.  As is, it stays stuck in first gear.  Thankfully, this measured approach is much more effective on the other No. 1 single from this album.

The Road From No. 1

Lonestar followed “Come Cryin’ to Me” with a dreadful “Mutt” Lange/Bryan Adams co-write, “You Walked In,” which went top fifteen, as did the album’s third single, “Say When.” The band then scored its final No. 1 single with its original lineup, which we’ll cover in 1998.

“Come Cryin’ to Me” gets a B-.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. I’ve always loved this song, and it’s another one that automatically takes me back to the Spring and Summer of 1997. :)

    This is actually still one of my favorites from Lonestar’s John Rich, Don Cook/Wally Wilson produced, cowboy hat wearing days. The melody is so beautiful and catchy, and it’s much like other mid-late 90’s country tunes influenced by Roy Orbison and other 60’s pop/rock artists. I’ve always loved the sound of the lead guitar and the main guitar hook, as well. I even love the slide guitar solo later on in the break, which takes me back to carefree summer days in 1997. As for Richie’s performance and the overall arrangement, it’s interesting that you compare it to “What About Now,” which I also really love. For me, Richie’s more laid back and tender performance works here because he’s playing a sympathetic character offering a shoulder to cry on anytime (and possibly more than that later on). I especially always liked how his voice almost cracks with emotion when he sings “all those empty promises” in the second verse. The lyrics, overall, always resonated with me, as well, because I’ve always needed someone to “come cryin’ to” every once in a while, and back when the song was new, it would always make me think of how my parents would always comfort me whenever I was upset about something or was just having a bad day. :)

    When I first heard this song on the radio in my dad’s car one day, I loved it immediately, and then when I was recording one of the last tapes I did in the Spring of 1997, I was so happy and thrilled when it suddenly came on! :) Unfortunately…..yep, you guessed it, it was on another one of those “sticky” Memorex tapes from the early 90’s. Not long after recording “Come Cryin’ To Me” on to the tape, I remember listening to it on my Walkman, and as soon as Lonestar’s song started, the tape was already starting to stick, and I had to stop it right away before it got messed up, lol. Songs on this tape were: “If I Could Make A Living” by Clay Walker, “I Like It, I Love It” by Tim McGraw, “Three Words, Two Hearts, One Night” by Mark Collie, “Come Cryin’ To Me” by Lonestar, “The Trouble With The Truth” by Patty Loveless, “Cold Outside” by Big House, “Every Once In A While” by Blackhawk, “Summertime Blues” by Alan Jackson, “A Girls Gotta Do (What A Girl’s Gotta Do)” by Mindy McCready, “Don’t Go Near The Water” by Sammy Kershaw, and a little bit of “The Swing” by James Bonamy at the end. Luckily, I usually didn’t have any more problems getting through Lonestar’s song afterwards, but the tape would then sometimes stick on Patty’s song, and as I mentioned in my earlier comment on Blackhawk’s song in this feature, it did nearly get messed up one time while I was listening to their song, which scared the heck out of me, since I wasn’t watching the tape at that time, lol.

    Between hearing it on the tape and hearing it on the radio, “Come Cryin’ To Me” became another song I’d hear regularly throughout the rest of the summer of ’97. It especially reminds me of when my dad took me to see my cousins earlier that summer and hearing it on the radio while we were on the way to their house. It was even still getting decent recurrent airplay come September when I had just started middle school and 6th grade. Around that time, my parents had just bought me a brand new clock radio to put in my room. One day, when my step dad was in my room trying out the new radio, “Come Cryin’ To Me” was playing while he was laying in my bed for a little while and pretended he was going to take a nap there, lol. I specifically also remember this being at least a day or two after we all saw the Michael Douglas film, The Game, at the theater.

    In 2002, Lonestar’s Crazy Nights album was another one I added to my collection. Early Lonestar and 90’s Martina McBride were two of my biggest obsessions around that time, lol. In fact, if it was still 2002, I would’ve told you right away that early Lonestar (with John Rich, cowboy hats, Don Cook, etc) was way better than new Lonestar. But now, while I still like their first two albums, I’ve also come to appreciate the more glossy pop country sound of their first two Dann Huff produced records, as well. Man, I gotta say though, I do personally dig the fancy western wear they donned in their earlier days! I especially always liked this photo of the band from the Crazy Nights album, with each member’s first name written on their hand.

    I’m also really looking forward to the next Lonestar number one in this feature, which may be my favorite song of theirs of all time.

  2. Btw, I’ve also been enjoying this rare footage on YouTube of Lonestar performing “Come Cryin’ To Me” in 1997 during their State Fair playing days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJLqmkbSf-M Interestingly, it’s also an early example of Richie and most of the other band members NOT wearing cowboy hats. I love how Richie throws that towel over his head right when the song starts, lol. John Rich is the one on Richie’s left wearing the ball cap, I believe.

    Here’s another recent upload with the band playing the song at the Opry in 1998, this time without John Rich, but still donning the hats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwtCQjRm64g

  3. If this song is getting close to Lonestar’s signature sound, I don’t want to be their upon arrival. to my ears, Lonestar has always sounded like they are stuck in posturing purgatory. If a nineties band is guilty of “adulting” it is this outfit.

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