Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Alabama, “Lady Down On Love”

“Lady Down On Love”


Written by Randy Owen

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

October 7 – October 14, 1983


#1 (1 week)

October 22, 1983

Alabama released two independent albums under their former moniker, Wildcountry.  The second of those albums, 1977’s Deuces Wild, is the more historically significant one, as it featured early versions of two No. 1 hits:  “Tennessee River” and “Lady Down On Love.”

“Lady” might be the most surprising No. 1 single of their imperial era.  It certainly showed the confidence of the band and their label. It’s like they knew they could do no wrong at radio during this time period, so they released this quiet, pensive ballad as a single. 

It stands among the best cheater’s laments of its day, and I appreciate the way that Owen reveals the culpability of the narrator once he’s established sympathy for the lady down on love:

Well, I know the lady that’s down on her love‘Cause I used to hold her and have that special touchBut work took me away from home late at nightsAnd I wasn’t there when she turned out the lightsThen both of us got lonely and I gave into lustAnd she just couldn’t live with a man she couldn’t trust
Now she’s a lady down on loveShe needs somebody to gently pick her upShe’s got her freedom, but she’d rather be boundTo man who would love her and never let her down
It’s one of Owen’s strongest compositions and he sings it with delicacy and restraint.  It needed a stronger melody to carry it over the muted production, but I am still impressed that a record this intimate made it to the top of both charts.
“Lady Down On Love” gets a B+


  1. Always enjoyed this song and it stands out a little bit compared to their other ballads. I really enjoyed “We Can’t Love Like This Anymore” from the 90’s that should have been a # 1 single. I felt like peak Alabama was from 80-85. They had plenty of great songs after that but always felt their singles from this time period was what they built their reputation on.

  2. Probably my favorite Alabama ballad and one of their stronger efforts lyrically. I find 80s Alabama to be much more inspired than 90s Alabama, and this series confirms that sentiment of mine.

  3. I always grouped this song with the Oak Ridge Boy’s “I’ll Be True To You.” Both songs were hopelessly sad to my young ears. I loved that they were both story songs and needed to be listened to to be understood. Somewhere along the way of my music reading, I remember a writer saying having to actually listen to the lyrics of a country music song was one of the defining characteristics of the genre.

    I am with CJ Ellis that this is my favourite Alabama ballad. It is compelling and Randy Owen delivers a tender and vulnerable lead vocal.

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