Every No. 1 Country Single of the Eighties: Kenny Rogers, “I Don’t Need You”

“I Don’t Need You”

Kenny Rogers

Written by Rick Christian

Radio & Records

#1 (3 weeks)

July 31 – August 14, 1981


#1 (2 weeks)

August 15 – August 22, 1981

After the massive success of “Lady,” it made logical sense for Kenny Rogers to do a full album with Lionel Richie.

The magic didn’t transfer over to Share Your Love, which produced only one No. 1 country hit: its lead single, “I Don’t Need You.”  It’s a meandering ballad that fails to capitalize on its soft-spoken opening.  The best Kenny Rogers records build up tension during the verses and break into a memorable chorus.  That doesn’t happen here, and we’re still waiting for something to happen by the time that the song comes to an end.

Richie wrote only four songs for Share Your Love, and none of them were released as singles.  The album does contain a classic Rogers performance, though: “Through the Years,” which went top five at country radio and topped the AC chart.  That was the fourth and final single from the album, following the top five hit “Share Your Love With Me” and the top ten “Blaze of Glory.”

Rogers will return to the top of the country chart with the lead single and title track from his 1982 album, Love Will Turn You Around.

“I Don’t Need You” gets a C.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. My favorite post-Larry Butler produced KR song. This was just beautiful.

    Kenny sings slow, pretty vocals on the verses then ramps up his gravely voice on the choruses. We know that he doesn’t really mean what he’s singing – it’s coming from heartbreak.

    Kenny definitely delivers on this sweet yet sad song. I would give this a definite A.

  2. Rogers is at his interpretive best here. He sounds amazing. The song is subtle, soft, and quiet in its bleak desperation.

    I hear the confused ramblings of a heartbroken drunk to a bartender at closing time. He is trying to convince himself as much as anybody as to what he does and doesn’t need in his life.

    That slick saxophone appropriately sets the emotional tone and paints a sonic scene, albeit more fern bar than honky-tonk, but love doesn’t care whose heart it breaks.

    If this song didn’t end when it does, we would hear Rogers fumbling in his pocket for a for a quarter in in the night club parking lot phone booth ahead of him working up the courage to ask his lover for a second chance.

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