“Do You Wanna Go to Heaven”
Written by Bucky Jones and Curly Putman
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
September 26, 1980
#1 (1 week)
October 4, 1980
T.G. Sheppard followed up his repulsive No. 1 hit “I’ll Be Coming Back For More” with “Smooth Sailin’,” the title track from his 1980 album. It’s a song about enduring love, so of course it only went top ten. He went right back to the gutter with the second single from that album, and it returned him to the top of the singles charts.
In my research for this feature, I’ve been revisiting The Billboard Book of Number One Country Hits, where Tom Roland writes a bit about every song that went to the top from 1968 through 1989. In the entry for “I’d Love to Lay You Down,” he shares Conway Twitty’s indignance about that hit being used as example of the “country porn” trend by a frustrated radio programmer. Twitty was right. His song doesn’t fit that description.
But oh boy, does this one. I almost admire the sheer audacity of “Do You Wanna Go to Heaven,” in which Sheppard compares getting laid as an adult to the euphoria of getting baptized as a child:
Yes, dear readers, the preacher’s words still fill his head and he hears them now and then.
First, when he loses his virginity after a high school dance:
I was old enough for the taste of love when boys turn into menI’ll never forget, I remember it yet, the taste of that clear, pure water But the preachers words I’ve barely heard, as sweet Bonnie Lou gave in
Then again, when he picks up a lonely woman at the bar:
She was sitting at the end of the bar when I saw herWith the little wine and a little time, she would be a prize to win I’ll never forget, I remember it yet, the taste of that clear, pure water But that preacher’s words could not be heard As she whispered, “Come on in”
I don’t know what possessed these songwriters to take the words said by a preacher to a ten year old boy being baptized, and then have them said again by both the girl who takes that grown boy’s V-card and the woman he plied with alcohol until he looked good enough to take home. But they sure picked the right artist to record it, as Sheppard was apparently determined to be country music’s King of Sleaze.
This kicks off a string of seven consecutive No. 1 hits for Sheppard, who has a way of making heaven feel like hell.
“Do You Wanna Go to Heaven” gets an F.
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