Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: The Oak Ridge Boys, “Beautiful You”

“Beautiful You”

The Oak Ridge Boys

Written by Dave Hanner

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

January 9, 1981

After their No. 1 hit “Trying to Love Two Women,” the Oak Ridge Boys went top five with the second single from Together, “Heart of Mine.” They returned to the top with the final single from that album.

It’s a remarkably unremarkable record, held back by its tepid production and the erroneous assumption that the chorus was strong enough to work as an opening for the track.  The verses do the heavy lifting here, and they’re needed to give context to the song’s repetitive chorus hook.

The Oak Ridge Boys hadn’t quite figured out yet when to rely on a lead vocal and when to apply the four part harmonies, so the latter are a little overused here. They certainly figured it out for their next record though, which remains one of the biggest country singles of all time.  That’s up next.

“Beautiful You” gets a C.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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Next: Merle Haggard, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink”


  1. Once again, opinions are such a wonderful thing… but for me, this is one of my Top 100 favorite songs. Might sound crazy, but I love the guitar in it, the bass voice of Richard Sterban and that harmony you speak of, is spot on for me. To each their own of course.

  2. The Oak Ridge Boys are a vocal quartet and have been since 1943, albeit with differing membership. Rather than question their ability to leverage their greatest musical strength to best effect, I think exploring how receptive country audiences still were to four-part harmony singing in the eighties is a more fruitful and telling venture. I think this ageing style of singing simply fell out of fashion, especially as Alabama was emerging and redefining what a country band could be in the 80’s.

    This song is bright. It feels clean and crisp, like a morning sunrise for my ears. It’s joyful and hopeful, a lovely blending of their gospel past with their relatively recent commitment to secular music. I am on Team Rodney with this one!

    I think it’s worth noting, The Oak Ridge Boys Band, the instrumentalist playing behind the singing quartet, was a celebrated outfit of players. They won multiple CMA awards for instrumental band of the year.

    The “Mighty Oaks” just might be the most enigmatic artist of the decade.

  3. Re: Saros’ comment The Oak Ridge Boys are a vocal quartet and have been since 1943, albeit with differing membership”

    They weren’t always a quartet – there were years when they lined up as a quintet, including some of the early years after Duane Allen and William Lee Golden joined the group. They were always good

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