“What are We Doin’ in Love”
Dottie West with Kenny Rogers
Written by Randy Goodrum
#1 (1 week)
June 13, 1981
After having a solo No. 1 hit from Wild West with “Are You Happy Baby?”, West repeated the feat with “What are We Doin’ in Love.”
Though Kenny Rogers wasn’t officially billed on the record at his request, not wanting to take the spotlight from Dottie, this is very much a full-fledged duet. His presence on the record was key to it becoming a sizeable crossover hit.
Their collaboration suffers from the poor production quality and strained singing that West demonstrated on the album’s first single. The chorus comes on way too strong, making for jarring transitions from the understated verses. Still, the two sound great together, and there’s a decent composition to work with. It would’ve been more enjoyable if it had hewed closer to the arrangement of their earlier duet hits.
Dottie West’s remarkably long run at country radio waned after this chart-topping hit, which was also her final top ten entry. Her 1983 single “Tulsa Ballroom” became her final top forty entry, exactly twenty years after “Let Me Off at the Corner” became her first top forty hit.
West dealt with some personal struggles as the decade progressed, but by the early nineties, she was prepping a duet project and an autobiography as she plotted a comeback. Sadly, her efforts were cut short by a tragic car accident as she was en route to the Grand Ole Opry. West succumbed to her injuries and died in 1991 at the age of 58. Her legacy has lived on, and in 2018, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
“What are We Doin’ in Love” gets a C.