Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Trisha Yearwood, “There Goes My Baby”

“There Goes My Baby”

Trisha Yearwood

Written by Annie Roboff and Arnie Roman

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 7, 1998

Trisha Yearwood sings the ever-loving hell at of her final No. 1 single to date.

The Road to No. 1

Trisha Yearwood earned her final four No. 1 singles consecutively.  This completes the run that began with “How Do I Live” and continued with “In Another’s Eyes” and “Perfect Love.”

The No. 1

Yearwood noted that many fans of this song would comment to her that they loved the original version too, and she would correct them that it was the original version and not a cover.

Those fans can be forgiven for the mistake.  The start of the chorus is essentially identical to The Drifters’ “There Goes My Baby,” and there’s a sixties pop flavor to the production as well.  The chorus of Trisha’s hit also includes a reference to a “clear blue sky” and ends with “bye bye baby, goodbye,” reminding listeners of recent nineties No. 1 hits by George Strait and Jo Dee Messina, respectively.

So why does this song built out of spare parts sound so gloriously good? Because co-producer Tony Brown felt that Yearwood’s records hadn’t fully tapped into the power of her voice, so she gives full on diva.  It’s a breathtaking vocal performance showcasing a singer at the peak of her powers, and it puts the influence of Linda Ronstadt on full display.

Brown wasn’t able to sustain this approach for the entirety of the Where Your Road Leads album, often leaning on it as a crutch when the material wasn’t up to Yearwood’s usual exacting standards.  But for the duration of this classic single, it works.

The Road From No. 1

Where Your Road Leads is Yearwood’s most recent platinum release, and it produced three more hits: the top twenty title track, and the top ten singles “Powerful Thing” and “I’ll Still Love You More.”  Her next studio album, Real Live Woman, was critically acclaimed and went gold, but its only significant chart hit was the top twenty title track.  Her 2001 release Inside Out included her final top five single to date, “I Would’ve Loved You Anyway.”  In the years since, Yearwood recorded sporadically, but continued to reach the top forty with a handful of singles, the most recent being “Every Girl in This Town” in 2019.

“There Goes My Baby” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

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  1. Yes, I had heard of people hoping that she was doing the 1959 hit by The Drifters, and being somewhat disappointed that she wasn’t.

    I also have to wonder if Tony Brown’s remark about Trisha’s previous albums not fully tapping into the power of her voice wasn’t a shot across the bow of Trisha’s regular producer Garth Fundis. And while vocal power is essential, it is really what you actually do with it and not just the fact that you have it, something Trisha intuitively knew and learned from Linda. I think Garth Fundis understood this precept; I’m not sure Tony Brown really did.

    • Not sure about Brown, but I know that Scott Borchetta vocally trashed Heart’s in Armor, an album it was his job to promote. I assume he mended fences with Yearwood at some point, since she went with Big Machine many years later.

      • Maybe, but I wasn’t at all happy with what I felt was Borchetta’s half-hearted promotion of Heaven, Heartache. And The Power Of Love in 2007–and I might add that that was Trisha’s only album on Borchetta’s label before her eleven-year layoff. Borchetta was a bit too busy, in my opinion, trying to promote a very untested teen-becoming-young adult named Taylor Swift to pay a whole lot of attention to a former MCA-Nashville client who was already very well-tested.

        • They pushed HHATPOL very hard, especially the second single, which got a huge budget for its video. I think that album suffered in sales because her new label didn’t have historical sales data for Trisha’s best markets. That’s the big risk in switching labels so far along into your career. Trisha going quiet afterward was related to her losing a parent, which stopped her from finishing the follow up she was already recording.

          A label can and must be able to focus on more than one artist. I don’t think Swift’s promotion was at the expense of Yearwood. But even if it had been, can we really second guess that decision? Swift ended up being the most significant singer-songwriter of the 21st century. I didn’t see that coming at the time, but maybe her label did.

  2. It’s pretty much impossible for me to pick just one favorite song from 1998, but if I were forced to choose, this gem by Trisha would be a very strong contender. Not only is this one of my personal top favorites by her, but it just brings back all sorts of 1998 nostalgia and wonderful memories from that year! This song is simply beautiful, heartbreaking, and classy all at the same time.

    This is, without a doubt, one of Yearwood’s most powerful and emotional vocal performances of her career, and it still gives me chills and stuns me today. With every line she sings, you can feel the loneliness, shame, and deep regret of the narrator, knowing very well that she let a true love get away. She sounds so good throughout the entire song, but one of my very favorite parts of her performance has always been at the song’s bridge, when she wishes her ex partner would return to give her a second chance. The way she sings the heartbreaking last line of that bridge with that falsetto note, “But it’s too laaaaaaate!,” still sends chills down my spine and even gets teary eyed every now and then. And then when she delivers the final chorus with even more power, intensity, and emotion, it just leaves me breathless and once again stunned, especially after the killer finale when she belts out the very last “Bye bye baby, goodbyyyyyyyye!” Yearwood is simply perfect for singing about heartbreak, and this is one of the finest examples of that, yet. If anyone needs proof that Trisha can truly sing, this is one I’d point to without any hesitation!

    The song itself is also simply gorgeous, and it’s right up my alley with the obvious 60’s pop/rock influence and the dark and moody style. Back in ’98, I was not yet familiar with that Drifters song, though it’s one I’d discover and love about ten years later. For me, the song has always reminded me of Roy Orbison, with the title even reminding me of a line in the Orbison classic hit, “Only The Lonely.” Stylistically, “There Goes My Baby” also reminds me of the heavily Orbison influenced band, The Mavericks, which her then husband was a member of, and given that connection, it’s not too surprising some of that influence would also rub off on Trisha some (“Those Words We Said” is another great “Roy Orbison moment” from her on the Thinkin’ About You album). The melody is one of the most beautiful and catchy of any Trisha Yearwood song, imo, and I absolutely love that moody and dramatic sounding guitar throughout, as well as Paul Franklin’s steel guitar during the choruses. This record is simply the perfect sound equivalent of a “cold, hard night.” I just truly miss country music like this that was written, produced, and performed with a lot of class and style! And it was something you could easily hum/sing along to and never forget thanks to a strong, memorable melody. We really need stuff like this back in mainstream country!

    The video for this song also couldn’t have been any more perfect for the song’s dark feel and atmosphere, and I still picture the image of a sad and lonely Trisha roaming those cold and rainy streets at night when I think of this song. Even the apartment building she’s first seen in just has the perfect design for the song’s classy style. Not to mention, Trisha is once again absolutely gorgeous in it, even with her hair wet throughout most of the clip. I loved watching this video on GAC when it was new, and today, it’s still one of my personal favorite videos of hers.

    “There Goes My Baby” evokes so many special memories for me from 1998, but my most favorite one I associate with this song with is right around the time my parents and I were shopping for a new car in the Summer of ’98. On one evening around early August, we went down to Fredericksburg, VA and checked out the Radley Chevrolet dealership. Chevy had been my parents’ favorite brand for the past few cars we had, and we had set our sights on carrying on that tradition with our latest car, with particularly the Chevy Malibu being one of our main interests. On that night at the Radley dealership, a Silver Mist colored Malibu caught our eye, and first, my step dad took it for a quick test drive with one of the dealers riding with us. While we were on that little drive, cruising up and down the roads in front of the dealership, another of my favorite songs at that time, Patty Loveless’ “High On Love,” was playing on the radio, which I thought was pretty neat. :) After we went back inside the dealership and talked to the top guy there about the car, he agreed to let us take it home for the night to get a good feel for it and make up our minds (I was so ready for us to get it right then and there, myself, lol). I absolutely loved that car, especially its silver color, and I was so thrilled for us to be going home with it that night. I felt so cool riding in the back of that car, and to make it even cooler and better, “There Goes My Baby” was the first song that came on the radio just after we had left the dealership and were on the way back home. I had already heard it a good number of times before that, but it somehow sounded even better while riding in that Silver Mist Malibu at night time, and I just fell in love with the song even more. Even my parents really seemed to be enjoying it and were unusually quiet while most of the song played. While we were on Plank Rd, shortly before we got off on I-95 and left Fredericksburg, “A Man This Lonely” by Brooks & Dunn came on, which I also really loved hearing that night in the new Malibu, and I was thinking that the DJ at WFLS was truly on a roll with these perfect night time songs! Oh, and if that wasn’t enough moody Roy Orbison influenced songs to make it a good night, The Mavericks’ “O What A Thrill” was actually playing inside the building of the Radley Chevrolet dealership while we waited to talk to and negotiate with the main guy working there. :) Sadly, we ended up not getting the Silver Mist Malibu, but we would end up still getting a Sandstone colored Malibu shortly before my 7th grade year. :)

    “There Goes My Baby” also brings back great memories of the vacation to California that we went on not too long after that later in August, and I remember us hearing it on quite a few of the nights we drove around CA, especially around the Orange County area, which is where we mainly stayed. I just loved it the more and more I heard it. Even Mom was really getting to like the song after hearing it so much, and she was singing along to the chorus one time. Trisha had always been one of the female vocalists from the 90’s that she liked the best, as well.

    Additionally, this song always reminds me of around the time we saw the movie, A Perfect Murder (starring Michael Douglas and Gwyneth Paltrow) earlier that summer and hearing it the first few times not long after that. Coincidentally, while driving around the streets of California one night during our vacation, we passed by a lit up poster sign of the film while “There Goes My Baby” was playing. :)

    Finally, this song also reminds me of the Fall of 1998, as it was still getting lots of recurrent airplay going into my 7th grade year, so much in fact, that I never heard the actual single from that time (“Where Your Road Leads”) on the radio all that much. That suited me just fine, as “There Goes My Baby” was and is the much superior song, and I was nowhere near getting tired of it just yet. In fact, it sounded even better during the cooler Fall nights due to its dark and moody feel. I was also lucky enough to get it on to the first tape I recorded early that Fall one afternoon while Mom was giving my dad a haircut in our backyard. I hated it when the DJ talked too much during the beginning of it, but hey, I still got the song, and it still sounds great on the tape today. :)

    Unfortunately, the popular recurrent airplay for “There Goes My Baby” wouldn’t continue on too much longer, and by the early 00’s, it was pretty much dropped from our stations’ playlists like many other late 90’s songs. I remember being so glad to hear it again while it was playing on the independent station near us around the mid 00’s, but unfortunately, that station’s signal had weakened a lot by then. I was feeling so hungry to hear many of these late 90’s songs again, and regular country radio was just not cutting it for me anymore with most of the current music they were playing. Around 2005, I was lucky to find a copy of the Where Your Road Leads album, which I loved immediately, and I admit, I still find it quite enjoyable today. Besides “There Goes My Baby,” some of my other favorites off it are: “I Don’t Want To Be The One,” “Love Wouldn’t Lie To Me,” “Never Let You Go Again,” “That Ain’t The Way I Heard It,” and “Bring Me All Your Lovin’.”

    I also really adore “Powerful Thing,” and it’s personally one of my favorite uptempo songs from her. It’s just so joyful and it makes me feel so happy and brings back great 7th grade memories every time I hear it. Also love the fiddle and steel on it and Al Anderson’s backup vocals which really make it stand out.

    And while I know “I’ll Still Love You More” is not too popular on this site, I personally love it too. I really enjoy the melody and Trisha’s sincere performance of it, plus Paul Franklin’s steel playing. I remember my dad, step dad, and I all watching her perform it live on one of the award shows in 1999.

  3. I’ve meant to add to this entry that I also remember that whenever this song came on the radio during the Summer and Fall of 1998, the DJ’s just mostly referred to her as simply Trisha, with them no longer saying “Yearwood.” To me, this signaled that she had officially become a household name by this time just like Reba McEntire only needed to be called Reba. :)

    • That era really did set her up for good, didn’t it? She didn’t have to record as much afterward and was able to explore her side ventures which eventually became her primary ventures. There’s a William-Sonoma by my job, and I always wander in there just to check out the Trisha stuff.

      • Ooh, I LOVE William-Sonoma! We have one in Fair Oaks Mall, as well, and it’s always been one of my favorite stores to look in. I never even knew Trisha had items for sale there! :D We do have an oven mitt with Trisha’s name on it that we got from QVC Outlet in Pennsylvania, though. :)

  4. This performance is elegant, full, and confident. Staying with a theme from so many of the hits from this era, it is also a mature take on regret and responsibility. I wonder if this might be the best single to introduce somebody unfamiliar with her music to what Trisha can do as a singer, artist, and interpreter of songs. It is outstanding.

    The production and instrumentation sound like a lost Mavericks track to me. The rolling and jangly guitars, the resonant drums, and the piano and steel guitar. As Jamie discussed, it is the perfect foundation for a huge vocalist to build upon. I can just as easily hear Roy Robison, Raul Malo, or Chris Isaak singing this effectively. None, however, could equal Yearwood’s virtuoso performance.

    It became increasingly common for critics to refer to George Start as the Sinatra of country music. Trisha Yearwood is his closest competition for that title.

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