Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Merle Haggard & George Jones, “Yesterday’s Wine”

“Yesterday’s Wine”

Merle Haggard & George Jones

Written by Willie Nelson


#1 (1 week)

October 9, 1982

There’s a strong case to be made that Merle Haggard and George Jones are the best male country singers ever, and Willie Nelson’s certainly a contender for the genre’s greatest songwriter.  Can you really go wrong with Haggard and Jones covering one of Nelson’s strongest compositions?

No. But with Billy Sherrill as the producer, “Yesterday’s Wine” doesn’t go nearly as right as it should have.  Haggard and Jones don’t blend together well, so the record works great when they’re doing individual lines but falls short when they try to harmonize on the chorus.

The solution was right there.  The song is about a conversation between old friends meeting up at a bar.  They could’ve kept alternating lines during the chorus.  It would’ve worked much better.

That being said, the song is one of Nelson’s finest moments, and when the two legends get their individual turns in the spotlight, they sound great.  Given it was timed with a commercial revival of both legendary artists, it was a good fit for them to record together.  Just not quite this much together.

“Yesterday’s Wine” gets a B.  

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Ronnie Milsap, “He Got You” |

Next: Alabama, “Close Enough to Perfect”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.