Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Eddie Rabbitt, “You Can’t Run From Love”

“You Can’t Run From Love”

Eddie Rabbitt

Written by David Molloy, Eddie Rabbitt, and Even Stevens

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

June 10, 1983


#1 (1 week)

June 18, 1983

“You Can’t Run From Love” keeps the basic template of Eddie Rabbitt’s Urban Cowboy era hits, but strips it of some of the sweeteners.

What’s left is a record driven as much by its acoustic guitar as “I Love a Rainy Night,” but without the softeners to make it more palatable for crossover audiences.  It ended up being his first record to miss the pop top 40 in three years, and it was his final top ten hit on the AC chart, which held on to the countrypolitan stalwarts a bit longer than pop radio did.

Does a more stripped down sound make the record better? Not really, but that’s because the material itself is so slight.  The chorus gets about halfway to a hook but doesn’t complete the journey.  A few more bells and whistles in the production might have masked this. It also could’ve made it worse, if they weren’t added effectively.

It brings into sharp relief how ridiculous the traditional vs. crossover debate truly is.  Ultimately, a great country record needs only three things: a great song, a strong performance from the singer and musicians, and an effective production.  “You Can’t Run From Love” is sung well but that’s pretty much it.  

We will see less of Rabbitt as the decade progresses, but he averages about one No. 1 single a year for the rest of the decade.  We’ll see him next in 1984.

“You Can’t Run From Love” gets a C.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. Growing up in Southern Ontario in the 70’s and early 80’s, Country wasn’t “cool” (with apologies to Barbara Mandrell).. Thanks to this feature, Kevin, I have now taken a deeper dive into the lesser known number ones from this era. Eddie Rabbit’s country music is one I have now given more credit. John Conlee is someone I plan to look into. T. G. Sheppard, not so much.

  2. This synthy sounding production is what I imagine critics of eighties’ country point to as why a return to more organic styles and sounds was both necessary and inevitable by the end of the decade.

    This song stands right in line with Alabama’s “The Closer You Get.” Both are necessary but not sufficient components of the ’80s country music experience and sound.

    The insane diversity of styles topping the charts to date have proven to be the sufficient conditions for an unexpectedly broad range of sounds coming from these early years of the 1980s.

    Historians and critics, however, never have the luxury or benefit of picking the defining song or sound of an era. When people think ’90s country, I am sure “Achy Breaky Heart” comes to many people minds whether it is representative of the era or not.

    Though a much lesser hit here, “You Can’t Run From Love” carries the same burden.

    This was another song all over Twin Cities country radio at the time.

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