Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Don Williams, “Love is On a Roll”

“Love is On a Roll”

Don Williams

Written by Roger Cook and John Prine

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

June 24, 1983


#1 (1 week)

July 2, 1983

Don Williams could smooth out the rough edges of even the most idiosyncratic singer-songwriter.

You can still hear the irregular rhythm and quirky phrasing of a John Prine composition here, and it would certainly be no less charming with Prine at the mic. But with Williams up front, the rhythm and the phrasing are fully conventional.  He’s so good at this that it makes what he pulls off here as a vocalist so easy to not fully appreciate.

It’s a rare gift, one that is reminiscent of what Patsy Cline was able to do with “Crazy” and what George Strait would do with every Dean Dillon song down the road.  As always, Garth Fundis knows how to accentuate Williams’ performance without overwhelming it, so we get a light Caribbean rhythm section that underscores our protagonist’s eagerness for Friday night, when his lady has made clear that the boys aren’t getting any of his time. He’s all hers.

Williams’ next single just missed the top spot (“Nobody But You”) but he’d return to No. 1 in early 1984 with the third and final single from Yellow Moon.

“Love is On a Roll” gets a B+

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. This is one of my favorite Don Williams songs. It fits his voice so well and it’s very relaxing to listen to.

    Roger Cook also wrote Talking In Your Sleep which Crystal Gayle recorded and had a huge hit with.

    Williams was great at finding songs and songwriters to enhance his voice and singing style. We were so fortunate to have his voice for so long.

    This gets an A from me.

  2. I had no idea this was a John Prine composition!

    Has Williams even come close to mis-stepping with any of his hits so far this decade? Such a consistent performer of classy and sincere songs.

    Garth Fundus and Don Williams were so good together they could have competed with The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff for the tag team championship of the world in the ’80s.

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