Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Charley Pride, “You Win Again”

“You Win Again”

Charley Pride

Written by Hank Williams

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

July 4, 1980

Billboard

#1 (1 week)

July 12, 1980

As noted in the entry for “Honky Tonk Blues,” There’s a Little Bit of Hank in Me was one of Charley Pride’s best received projects.  A collection of Hank Williams covers, he demonstrated his skill as a vocalist by tackling the high lonesome melodies associated with Williams, bringing his own smooth style into the mix to create something new from something old.

“You Win Again” was a smart choice for a single, as it wasn’t as widely known as some other Hank Williams classic, having been a B-side for Williams. However, it was among his most covered songs, with versions surfacing by Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, and the Rolling Stones.  Pride’s cover was the most successful by a country artist.

Hearing his reading, you can draw a direct line of influence to classic Pride heartbreakers like “Does My Ring Hurt Your Finger.” Pride leans into the pain of the lyric, giving a performance that follows the basic outline of Williams’ original recording.  His vocal is beyond reproach, a singer at the top of his game tackling a legendary song and succeeding at making it his own.

It’s a shame that the production isn’t up to the same level as Pride’s performance.  The string section and the backing vocals distract from Pride’s excellent performance.  Without those two elements, the record would be perfect.

Charley Pride’s next two singles were from his 1981 album Roll On Mississippi.  The leadoff single, “You Almost Slipped My Mind,” went top five, followed by the title track, which went top ten.  Pride will return to the top in 1981 with a single from his Greatest Hits collection.

“You Win Again” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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3 Comments

  1. I am a little flummoxed that Pride’s second number one hit from this album elicits no reactions or responses.

    Pride was such a special talent and he really is at the top of his game here covering Hank Williams. Pride is appropriately respectful without being restrictively reverential.

    This is one of those essential albums when an artist pays their musical influences forward.

    For what it’s worth “Roll On Mississippi” is in the running for my all-time favourite Charley Pride song.

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  2. I’m a few days late to the party but Charley Pride covering Hank Williams is just one of those things that feels right on all accounts. And I echo Roll On Mississippi being one of, if not his best songs, though I am partial to Is Anybody Going to San Antone.

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