Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: The Oak Ridge Boys, “American Made”

“American Made”

The Oak Ridge Boys

Written by Bob DiPiero and Pat McManus

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

April 15 – April 22, 1983


#1 (1 week)

April 23, 1983

The Oak Ridge Boys are back on top, and they brought a promising young songwriter with them.

Bob DiPiero would go on to become one of the most successful country songwriters in history, peaking in his craft at the same time the genre reached its highest level of popularity.  It’s a testament to the solid song sense of the Oak Ridge Boys that they gave this odd little song a chance, which takes a premise that could’ve been clunky and even a bit xenophobic, but instead finds the perfect balance between self-effacing humor and wry social commentary.

“American Made” is very of its time, but also ended up fairly prophetic, even if America did find its footing again in both the automobile and video game industries.  This is a remarkably difficult song to sing, given its use of so many brand names, yet each vocalist gets a turn and every one of them aces the assignment.

By doing solo turns on the verses, the vocal harmonies on the chorus have more impact.  This is the best showcase yet for the individual personalities of the Oaks, and they perform “American Made” with the relentlessly sunny consumer optimism that is so very eighties.  It makes me want to go to the mall and buy the record at Musicland.

What an utterly charming record this is.

“American Made” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. An old friend and I discovered we both mistakenly sang the line about having a Nikon camera as a “night-time” camera. Go figure. It sounded cool to be able to take those night time photos.

    The Oaks have a charm and appeal that few acts have ever come close to emulating. I have repeatedly chalked it up to their well honed sense of showmanship. They are true entertainers from an earlier era who know how to sell a song and a show. They are classic performers from a bygone era who bridged old time music with modern sounds in country music. They made a pretty spectacular leap from only playing sacred music to secular mainstream country music.

    The Oaks are charming through and through.

    What better example is there than this song, other than about ten other Oak Ridge Boys hits!

    I will always champion the Mighty Oaks.

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