Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Alabama, “Why Lady Why”

“Why Lady Why”


Written by Teddy Gentry and Rick Scott


#1 (1 week)

December 13, 1980

Alabama’s big commercial breakthrough happened with its second RCA album, but their record-breaking streak of No. 1 hits stretches back to include two singles from My Home’s in Alabama.

The follow up to “Tennessee River” isn’t nearly as memorable as the band’s first chart-topping single. It’s one of those songs that vaporizes from your memory while you’re still listening to it.  The only mildly interesting thing about this barely there ballad is how it recycles the rhyme scheme of the George Jones classic, “Why Baby Why.”

That’s the only tenuous connection I can even make to country music with this record.  I have no interest in gatekeeping and this is a band that did enough to earn its Country Music Hall of Fame induction with just its eighties output.  But if I wasn’t already so familiar with Randy Owen’s voice, I would think this was a forgotten R&B ballad from the early eighties that wasn’t interesting enough to get some crossover pop radio play.

I know in my mind that they have some wonderful records among their run of eighties chart-toppers, but “Why Lady Why” has me already exhausted with Alabama.  What a dull, dreary record.

“Why Lady Why” gets a D.


Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. As I maintained with their nineties’ hits, I never trusted Alabama’s instincts or tendencies. I felt like a yo-yo on the end of their uncertain string, so many ups and downs. Which, I guess, is how the narrator of this song feels about his lady.

    The song would benefit from harmonies that weren’t so mushy and messy. There is a nut of a melancholic groove to the sleepy melody that the boys from Fort Payne never fully crack open.

  2. I thought I was the only one who loathed this song. Just dreary and dreadful. I believe I was tired of it after the first listen.

    1981 would bring about one of the band’s best years of hit singles. However, they ended 1980 on a huge downer.

    Completely agree with the bad grade on this one.

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