“Stand Beside Me”
Jo Dee Messina
Written by Stephen Allen Davis
#1 (3 weeks)
January 30 – February 13, 1999
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
January 29, 1999
Jo Dee Messina completes a run of three consecutive No. 1 singles.
The Road to No. 1
I’m Alright launched with “Bye Bye” and was followed by the title track, both of which spent multiple weeks at No. 1. “Stand Beside Me” continued her domination at radio.
The No. 1
Again, I get to write about an intelligent and mature song, written by and performed for adults. Messina’s previous two singles showed her talent for rapid fire lyric delivery. “Stand Beside Me” taps into her ability to communicate vulnerability and resilience, which is key to communicating the tension embedded in this song.
There’s no doubt she’s gotten very hurt by this man, and there’s also no doubt that her heart still wants to be with him. Her voice cracks so effectively in the second verse, when he returns and makes a play to win her back, that we’re not sure what her decision is going to be.
Interspersed are little details that resonated with working class listeners in particular, as she “worked two jobs” and “moved three times.” So we are given the heads up that many things in her life would be easier if she exchanges her pride for a renewed partnership with a man not worthy of the love she has to give.
It makes it that much more impactful when she does walk away. “It’s hard to turn him down when I want him so bad,” she rues. “But I’ve got to be true to my heart this time.”
The Road From No. 1
Amazingly, she didn’t get a fourth No. 1 from I’m Alright, with “Lesson in Leavin'” spending several weeks stuck at No. 2. The fifth single “Because You Love Me” went top ten, as the album went double platinum and Messina won the CMA Horizon Award in the fall of 1999. We will see Messina three more times when we get to the 2000s.
“Stand Beside Me” gets an A.
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