Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Don Williams, “Love Me Over Again”

“Love Me Over Again”

Don Williams

Written by Don Williams

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

February 1, 1980

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

February 16, 1980

Don Williams is one of just a handful of artists to earn No. 1 singles in the seventies, eighties, and nineties.  That success can be credited to his consistency in writing and selecting strong material and having it tastefully produced, primarily by Garth Fundis.

“Love Me Over Again” is his least memorable chart-topper of 1980, but it’s still the best No. 1 single we’ve seen so far from any artist.  I’m learning quickly that in this era of country music, it’s hard to get the guys out of the bedroom.  But at least on “Love Me Over Again,” we’re dealing with real people turning to each other for comfort as a respite from life’s challenges:

You have the way of filling my emotionsTill there’s not a word left in my mind.Times get so hard, so confusingYou make now a so much better time.
So honey, tonight, make it alright.Turn on your smile for me for a whileTake me away from where I have been.I know you love me,But love me over again.

Williams is a sneakily good singer. He’s one of those vocalists that makes it look effortless, as if he’s singing out of the corner of his mouth while tending to other chores.  It’s easy to miss the nuance of his technique.  He doesn’t get in the way of the lyrics with his phrasing choices, and the gentle production underscores the intimacy that he’s so grateful for.

It’s an excellent effort from a genre heavyweight who should not be forgotten.

“Love Me Over Again” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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6 Comments

  1. I love Don Williams. I recommend if you haven’t take a deep dive into his catalog. He was very consistent and is one of my favorite country artists and own all of his albums. His songs are like close friends you haven’t seen in a while.

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  2. Don’s first two albums were released on Jack Clement’s JMI label and carried the prosaic titles VOLUME ONE and VOLUME TWO. The third album was issued on Dot (later reissued on MCA) and was titled VOLUME III (it may be a JMI production that was bought up by Dot, I’m simply not sure). For my money VOLUME ONE and VOLUME TWO were the best albums Don Williams ever made (I always loved the work of Jack Clement as a producer). After that, the song selection was a little more erratic BUT all of Don’s albums are at least good.

    In fact, I have many of his albums and it is hard to think of any songs that he recorded that I did not like, and I can think of many album tracks that would have made good singles. As you noted, the key to his long-term success was careful attention to song selection along with not trying to be something he wasn’t. Don always sang within his abilities – no vocal histrionics, no trying to reach for notes he couldn’t hit – just always being himself.

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    • Speaking of Don Williams album cuts that would’ve made great singles, one that always comes to mind immediately for me is “I Keep Putting Off Getting Over You” from the I Believe In You album. In fact, I was surprised to eventually learn that it wasn’t a single at all, since one of our stations actually played it one night during the Fall of 1991, and I was lucky to have been recording a tape when it happened. I still can’t help but wonder it the station played the B-side of a single by mistake or if someone actually requested to hear it. Either way, I’m thankful it got played that night, because it’s still one of my personal favorite Don Williams songs to this day, and it’s one of the reasons why I still love listening to that tape other than the nostalgia.

      Hugh Prestwood’s “Darlin’ That’s What Your Love Does” from True Love (1990) also comes to mind.

  3. Williams was underappreciated, even in his prime. He was a true stylist and had his own signature sound. Steel guitarist Lloyd Green shared in an interview I read years ago, just how hard he worked to help create that relaxed, casual Don Williams sound along with Garth Fundis. I believe Green played on every one of Williams’ recordings. That sound is deceptively simple and easy to underestimate, or simply take for granted. It is subtle, smart, and sincere.

    I recall the furor that erupted when the alt-country magazine “No Depression” put Williams on its cover in 1999. People didn’t know how to pigeon-hole The Gentle Giant. Was he alt-country? Mainstream? Outlaw? Pop-country? Folkie? Legend?

    His towering legacy managed to sneak up on people and we didn’t have label ready to slap on him.

    This song is as good a spring-board as any into his deep body of work to try and figure out his place in country music history.

    I love Don Williams.

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    • To your point about genre regarding Don Williams Peter, it seems as if everyone liked Don Williams. They had a hard time classifying him but nobody objected to his music. To me, Don is up there with George Strait in terms of being remarkably consistent and reliable.

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  4. Such a lovely song, indeed, and it’s one I’ve really enjoyed ever since I found a copy of The Best Of Don Williams, Volume III around 2008. I love how this one has little traces of the contemporary styles of late 70’s/early 80’s country, yet still retains everything we know and love about Don Williams. It’s smooth, classy, charming, and sincere, plus it’s romantic without being over the top and cringey like some of the other love songs from this time period. I’ve especially always loved the melody whenever Don sings “I know you love me, but love me over again” at the end of each chorus, which reminds of the melody in the verses of The Troggs’ “Love Is All Around.”

    Everybody above has pretty much said all that can be said about Williams. He’s been one of my favorites ever since I was little in the early 90’s, and I always found it pretty interesting how many of his singles continued to get a good amount of recurrent airplay for us throughout the 90’s and even into the early 00’s, while many of his peers from the same period were only being heard on the night time classic country programs. Between his consistency in selecting top notch material, his simple, laid back charm, and him never pretending to be anything other than himself, his music just seems to have a timeless appeal, and those are certainly some of the qualities that always drew me to him. Hearing any of his songs today still puts me in a more relaxed and comfortable state of mind and makes me think of better, simpler times in my own life. His music really is like seeing a wise old friend you’ve known since childhood.

    Easily one of my top favorite deep voices in the genre, and I’m very excited to see much more from Williams in this feature!

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