“How Was I to Know””
John Michael Montgomery
Written by Blair Daly and Will Rambeaux
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
September 12, 1997
John Michael Montgomery’s final No. 1 single of the decade takes him out on a high note.
The Road to No. 1
This was the third consecutive No. 1 single from What I Do the Best, following “Friends” and “I Miss You a Little.”
The No. 1
This is so much better than most of his earlier ballads that it’s almost ridiculous.
The record has actual atmosphere, with a warm Spanish-influenced arrangement that replaces the antiseptic arrangements of the past with real intimacy.
Montgomery also pushes himself further as a vocalist on this track than he ever had before, and he pulls it off. There’s a beautiful melody here and he nails it.
Collectively, the three No. 1 singles from What I Do the Best make up the best run of his entire catalog. It’s a shame that it wasn’t enough to maintain his status as a multi-platinum artist.
The Road From No. 1
Montgomery followed “How Was I to Know” with “Angel in My Eyes,” a top five single from his Greatest Hits collection. His next set, Leave a Mark, produced the top five hits “Cover You in Kisses” and “Hold On to Me,” as well as the top fifteen hit “Love Workin’ On You.” He finished out the decade with Home to You, which included the top five title track and the top fifteen hit “Hello L.O.V.E.” We’ll see Montgomery once when we get to the 2000s, as he scores his final No. 1 hit during that decade.
“How Was I to Know” gets an A.
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