“Prisoner of Hope”
Written by Gerald Metcalf and Sterling Whipple
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
July 24, 1981
Johnny Lee’s third No. 1 single from Lookin’ For Love followed the top five hit, “Pickin’ Up Strangers,” giving Lee four major hits from his breakthrough album.
I wish I could give some enlightenment about why this was one of the rare country albums of its era to go four hits deep. All I can say is that it has the exact same groove as the album’s other hits. The same barely there vocal delivery. The same shopping mall studio backing track.
It’s a nice enough song about a man who is allowing himself to fall for a woman who is way out of his league. There are so many emotions that could go with this lyric, from euphoria at the opportunity to anxiety over blowing it. I have no idea what Lee is feeling because his performance is flat and dull.
Lee followed “Prisoner of Hope” with “Rode Hard and Put Up Wet,” which was a single from Urban Cowboy II, another collection of songs from the Urban Cowboy film. It went top thirty. It had a pulse, which must have been more than country radio could handle from Johnny at the time.
Lee returned to No. 1 in 1982 with the lead single from his next studio album.
“Prisoner of Hope” gets a C.
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