“Between the Devil and Me”
Written by Harley Allen and Carson Chamberlain
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
January 9, 1998
A nineties legend earns the first No. 1 hit of 1998.
The Road to No. 1
This is the third consecutive No. 1 single from Alan Jackson, following two previous releases from Everything I Love: “Who’s Cheatin’ Who” and “There Goes.”
The No. 1
Alan Jackson goes big and dramatic on “Between the Devil and Me,” with a heavier production than anything he’d released before it.
Does it work in the service of the song? Somewhat. It’s like he was going for a Billy Sherrill-era George Jones epic, but couldn’t fully pull the trigger and book a string section. So the song is fuller than usual for him, but it feels like it’s missing something.
It’s still nice to hear him experiment with his signature sound, something he’d do more thoroughly with Like Red On a Rose a decade later.
The Road From No. 1
Arista released a sixth single from Everything I Love, and it was one too many for country radio. “A House With No Curtains” snapped his string of 27 consecutive top ten hits, barely cracking the top twenty. Jackson then released the ambitious spoken word ballad “I’ll Go On Loving You,” the first single from his High Mileage album. It went top five. We’ll see Jackson later in 1998 with the second single from that collection.
“Between the Devil and Me” gets a B.
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