“Bet Your Heart On Me”
Written by Jim McBride
Radio & Records
#1 (2 weeks)
November 27 – December 4, 1981
#1 (1 week)
December 5, 1981
After missing the top twenty with “Rode Hard and Put Up Wet,” Johnny Lee previewed his next studio album with its title track.
“Bet Your Heart On Me” is a pretty good song that needed a pretty great singer to make it something special. Johnny Lee is, at best, an occasionally good singer.
So the song has nowhere to hide, and we’re stuck enduring clunky lyrics like this:
You can bet your heart on meHoney, you can be a winner Forget about the last time out You were just a beginner
Because Lee isn’t much of a stylist, he can’t do much with that awkward phrasing. A better singer would’ve downplayed that “winner/beginner” rhyme, but he emphasizes it instead, drawing out the note to bring additional attention to the weakest part of the song.
This is the last of his No 1. singles that were produced by Jim Ed Norman, though his work with Norman produced a few more hits. From this album, the title track was followed by the top ten hit “Be There For My Baby” and the top five hit “When You Fall in Love.”
His next album, Sounds Like Love, produced two top ten hits: “Cherokee Fiddle” and the title track.
Lee will return to No. 1 in 1983 with his first single produced by Jimmy Bowen, who thus far has shown a knack for drawing the best out of the artists he works with. We’ll see how he does with Lee.
“Bet Your Heart On Me” gets a C.
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I’m surprised how successful Johnny Lee was having hit’s from the late 70’s to 1990. Like you pointed out at best he was good singer but never got the material to take him to the next level. I got the greatest hits that is linked here and outside of “Cherokee Fiddle” and “Lookin For Love” didn’t find anything that memorable. Still like the classic sounding 80’s production with some of these 80’s countrypolitian songs that a lot of artists today are starting to incorporate.
Johnny Lee is increasingly becoming a comfortable and familiar radio presence with some pretty forgettable songs. I can’t imagine many radio listeners ever being bothered enough by his earlier music to turn their radio knobs to escape him, or similarly, ever scanning their dial to find his latest single.