Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Charley Pride, “Why Baby Why”

“Why Baby Why”

Charley Pride

Written by Darrell Edwards and George Jones


#1 (1 week)

February 26, 1983

A faux live recording became a major hit for Charley Pride in 1983.

“Why Baby Why” was added to Pride’s live album, with an applause track added to the studio recording of the song. It later anchored his Country Classics album, which included the applause-free version that radio stations preferred.

Pride was covering a George Jones classic that had been the legend’s first major chart hit, going top five upon release.  Pride wasn’t the first to take a cover of it to No. 1.  Red Sovine and Webb Pierce teamed up to do that shortly after Jones released the record.  

But Pride revived the song for the eighties, softening its edges a bit but preserving the pure twang of earlier recordings.  It has a wonderful fiddle breakdown and is steel forward, with both instruments complementing Pride’s solid vocal performance.

Pride followed “Why Baby Why” with “More and More,” a No. 1 hit for Pierce that Pride took to the top ten.  We’ll see Pride again this year, with the final No. 1 single of his career.

“Why Baby Why” gets a B+. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. What an embarrassment of riches to have legendary star artists like Charley Pride, Conway Twitty, Don Williams, Crystal Gayle and others just blowing us away with whatever they chose to record in the ’80s.

    They were allowed to sustain careers that would bring them to this maturity and ability to cover country classics and introduce new listeners to what came before.

    Pride and Sam Hunt can both claim a part in keeping Pierce’s towering legacy alive over the years.

    I never heard it before, but a lot of what Pride does sonically late in his career, maintaining an inescapably hard country sound with some softer edges, will be heard in George Strait’s approach to his music in the coming years.

    Breaks my heart to know we are down to one final Charley Pride chart toppers.

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