Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: George Jones & Tammy Wynette, “Two Story House”

“Two Story House”

George Jones & Tammy Wynette

Written by David Lindsey, Glenn Douglas Tubb, and Tammy Wynette

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

April 18, 1980

George Jones & Tammy Wynette had been hitmakers for many years when they began collaborating, and in the seventies, they released several classic records that went to No. 1, such as “Golden Ring” and “We’re Gonna Hold On.”

By the late seventies, they were divorced and both of their careers at country radio had entered a bit of a lull.  Jones was struggling heavily with alcoholism, though he still managed to release music regularly.  His latest big hit entering the decade had been the 1978 top ten “Bartender’s Blues.” Wynette’s most recent No. 1 singles had been in 1976, but she was still regularly visiting the top ten, most recently with “They Call it Making Love” and “No One Else in the World” from her 1979 album Just Tammy.

Jones & Wynette began the decade with a reunion album, which would produce their last major hits and would be their last release until 1995’s One.  Wynette had a hand in writing “Two Story House,” a powerful song about an aspirational couple who wanted fame and fortune, with the titular residence being the ultimate symbol of their success.

Once they’ve got that two story house, they’re emotionally isolated from each other and the marriage is a hollow shell of its former self.  They live together alone.  The song’s potency is amplified by their own personal histories together, but the real reason the record works is because it’s a strong song delivered by fully developed talents who rank among the finest stylists in the history f country music.  It’s so rare that reunions like this work, but these two titans came back with a collaboration that ranks among their finest efforts as a duo.

Jones & Wynette released “An Old Pair of Sneakers” as the second and final single from Together Again, and it went top twenty.  When they reunited for One, they didn’t have success at radio but received award nominations for the collaboration.

This would be the peak for Wynette in the eighties. Despite releasing some excellent records, she only reached the top ten once more as a solo artist, with 1982’s “Another Chance.” A duet with Mark Gray on “Sometimes When We Touch” became her last top ten hit in 1985.  Wynette would remain active as a recording artist for the rest of her life, and she scored a surprise international pop hit with KLF in the early nineties: “Justified and Ancient.” Wynette passed away in 1998, only months before she was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Jones, on the other hand, was on the cusp of his commercial peak.  We’ll see him in just a few weeks with what has often been called the greatest country single of all time.

“Two Story House” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. The last two entries are making me a) look forward to the Seventy’s feature 3 years or so down the road and b) Kevin’s write-up for George’s NEXT number one!!!

  2. these two titans came back with a collaboration that ranks among their finest efforts as a duo

    YES! It strikes me that the only one anyone remembers anymore is “Golden Ring.” And that’s still a favorite, but this one’s at least as good.

  3. This is one of those songs whose word-play escaped me for years. Somehow I managed to hear the two-stories as relating only to the size of their home, along the lines of of B.J. Thomas’s 1983 hit “Two Car Garage.”

    “Two Story House”is a wonderful performance and a brilliant song. It is a true classic.

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