“Love in the First Degree”
Written by Tim DuBois and Jim Hurt
Radio & Records
#1 (4 weeks)
December 11, 1981 – January 1, 1982
#1 (2 weeks)
December 26, 1981 – January 2, 1982
This is as good as early eighties pop country gets.
“Love in the First Degree” was the biggest release from Feels So Right, and it remains the band’s biggest crossover hit, reaching the top fifteen of the Hot 100 and the top five of the adult contemporary chart. It was also a massive country hit, and powered the album toward an eventual quadruple platinum certification.
This is the only single from Feels So Right with some tempo, and as a general rule, their eighties work was best when it had a bit of a beat. It works so well because Randy Owen gives a performance of complete, unrestrained joy. You can practically hear him grinning from ear to ear as he accepts his life sentence.
It’s an entirely new gear for him on a radio single, perhaps reflecting the confidence built up from the success of their previous album. Owen’s swagger will help drive their music moving forward, sometimes to its detriment.
But this? This is the sweet spot right here, and helps explain why they were so effective at broadening country music’s audience during this time period.
“Love in the First Degree” gets an A.
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