Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Reba McEntire, “You’re the First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving”

“You’re the First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving”

Reba McEntire

Written by Kerry Chater and Dickey Lee


#1 (1 week)

April 30, 1983

After waiting seven years for her first No. 1 single, McEntire earned her second in just a few weeks.

“You’re the First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving” was a reversion to type, going back to the waltzy ballads that had defined her recording career up until this point, before “Can’t Even Get the Blues” provided an uptempo diversion.

It’s an excellent song, for sure, and the kind of number that McEntire would later knock out of the park once she teamed up with Jimmy Bowen.  Here, she’s still annoyingly restricted by her current producer’s insistence that she not do the distinctive vocal licks that make her one of the most distinctive vocalists of any genre. It casts a pall over all of her work on Mercury, as well as her first album for MCA.  

It’s fine for what it is, but much like with “Can’t Even Get the Blues,” check out later live performances of the song to hear it in its finest form, like this one from 1996. 

We’ll see Reba again next year, when she kicks off a lengthy run of chart-topping singles for her next label. 

“You’re the First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving” gets a B. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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1 Comment

  1. I love Reba’s style both then and now. I will probably be the only one with this opinion though. I actually preferred the Reba style when she didn’t overdue the “Reba licks” that she is so known for. It’s good for sure but always seems to overdue more than the song calls for.

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