Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Mickey Gilley, “Lonely Nights”

“Lonely Nights”

Mickey Gilley

Written by Stewart Harris and Keith Stegall

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

January 15, 1982


#1 (1 week)

February 6, 1982

Mickey Gilley’s hot streak continues with yet another No. 1 hit, completing a string of six consecutive No. 1 hits with “Lonely Nights.”

Lyrically, “Lonely Nights” is of the same caliber as most of Gilley’s previous chart-topping singles, which is high praise considering how many of them were covers of straight up standards.

However, his usually on point approach falls short here. He’s relying again on a piano-driven lounge arrangement, but this time, the tempo is a beat too slow, so the song meanders in a way that most of its predecessors did not.

The vocal performance isn’t quite up to snuff either.  He hits some bum notes in the chorus that are jarring.  He needed a stronger hand in the studio for this one, someone to tell him to take another pass to get it right.

We’ve still got a few more hits from Gilley to cover, but this marks the end of his longest and most successful run at the top of the charts.  The third and final single from You Don’t Know Me, “Tears of the Lonely,” went top five.

We’ll see Gilley again with the lead single and title track rom his 1982 album, Put Your Dreams Away.

“Lonely Nights” gets a B-.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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1 Comment

  1. Hands down, my favourite Giiley chart topper

    No wonder he is a beat behind, the narrator barely has it in him to face another lonely night, He is weak and vulnerable to the point of breaking. The song weeps with polite desperation and deference. Listen to him go through the motions of the pick-up lines. The inevitable coming of morning has never sounded so simultaneously terrifying and comforting. He is looking for a friend and someone to talk to because he is terrified of being alone, having to face another lonely night.

    One can only imagine how hard the narrator still has to labour just so he can “take the lonely days.” He knows he is a mess.

    Then come the nights.

    I love this song.

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