Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Sylvia, “Like Nothing Ever Happened”

“Like Nothing Ever Happened”


Written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

 January 7 – January 14, 1983

The fresh production and playful vocal of “Nobody” was enough to power Sylvia to a gold-selling single and album, as well as an ACM trophy for Top Female Vocalist.  That record also created enough momentum to push its tepid follow up to the top of one of the country charts for multiple weeks.

After the bumper crop of innovative records that preceded “Like Nothing Ever Happened” at No. 1, Sylvia’s third chart topper sounds like a relic.  It’s essentially a rewrite of Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner’s “Just Someone I Used to Know,” with Sylvia running into an old flame and his new partner, and the old flame failing to acknowledge his history with Sylvia.

Sylvia takes a similar vocal approach to the material that she did with “Nobody,” but it’s really not what the lyric calls for.  There are a few flickers of genuine emotion toward the end, but by then the record is over and we’ve been witnessing what might be the least interesting sidewalk conversation ever immortalized in a country song.  There are no emotional stakes here. It’s got all the intensity and character development of an early eighties television commercial. The only thing memorable is the riff that is blatantly ripped off from the Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons classic,  “Dawn (Go Away).”

We won’t see Sylvia again until 1985.  Between now and then, her third album produced the top five hits “Snapshot” and “I Never Quite Got Back (From Loving You),” while her fourth album failed to produce a top twenty hit.  She’ll resurface with a new producer and an updated sound when we catch up with her a little further down the road.

“Like Nothing Ever Happened” gets a C.   

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. This is actually my second favorite Sylvia song with Nobody in pole position. I can see where you consider this a step back when compared to prior hits of hers. Dare I say I like this better than Someone I Used To know…..I think I will. Her vocals are a bit flat but the song still makes me feel something when I listen. Definitely been in this situation once before and Sylvia hits all the right feels of the situation for me! I’d give it a B+

  2. …sylvia, an influential star well ahead of her time – considering that “the bachelorette” was coming on air only about two decades later, didn’t it?. what a perfect role model (that could even sing) she might have been much earlier. i guess listening to this one still beats almost any episode of that tv-show still. then again, we are talking bars lying on the ground here.

  3. Rediscovering Sylvia and her music has been the biggest surprise of this feature for me. I
    In the moment, I completely missed the
    musical innovation Kevin has rightly highlighted and celebrated. Given my new found respect and admiration for her music, I am more forgiving of this performance. Admittedly, it does not break any new ground but there is a Crystal Gayle like elegance to her vocals.

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