Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: George Jones, “I Always Get Lucky With You”

“I Always Get Lucky With You”

George Jones

Written by Gary Church, Freddy Powers, and Tex Whitson


#1 (1 week)

July 30, 1983

As a country fan who embraced the genre during the early nineties boom, it’s been fascinating to watch this feature destroy a fundamental assumption from that era: that the early eighties nearly destroyed country music by straying too far from its roots, and the new traditionalist movement saved country music.

We’re all conditioned now to look at any idea of “saving country music” with side eye now, and we’ve covered way too many brilliant records from the early eighties for that assumption to still hold another.

So let’s take a critical look at another fundamental assumption from that era: that George Jones was the ultimate traditional country artist, something of a true north that a new generation of country artists could model themselves after so they could save country music.

Nope. He had a lot of great traditional records over the years, but the man always incorporated as many pop elements into his records as his contemporaries did, and sometimes even more. 

For example, “I Always Get Lucky With You” is a really great Mickey Gilley record, better than many of Gilley’s own chart toppers in the same style.  It actually undersells Jones’ talent to overlook his ability to sing over a nightclub lounge piano and deliver such a smooth and sophisticated vocal performance.

Some twang still sneaks through, of course.  As with other all-time great singers like Patty Loveless and Dwight Yoakam, the twang is always in the mix, no matter how far they stray from traditional styles.  But make no mistake: George Jones gives a pop vocal performance here, and he nails it.

“I Always Get Lucky With You” gets an A.  

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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1 Comment

  1. This song sounds like it is straight out of the Charlie Rich songbook. It is elegantly paced and beautifully produced with a tender vocal performance by The Possum.

    This is actually one of my all time favourite George Jones songs.

    What a thrill to have him still charting. ’80s country bifurcated into the older generation of future legends (Haggard, Pride, Jones, Twitty, Harris, Gayle, Parton) and the emerging generation of younger stars like Frickie, ETC, Conlee, etc.

    One of the great appeals of country radio from this decade was its ability to find this artistic balance.

    That balance will soon be lost to the almost full exclusion of the older, established acts, but for now it’s wonderful to listen to.

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