Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Charly McClain and Mickey Gilley, “Paradise Tonight”

“Paradise Tonight”

Charly McClain and Mickey Gilley

Written by Bill Kenner and Mark Wright


#1 (1 week)

October 15, 1983

Charly McClain and Mickey Gilley are both underrated talents who have contributed classic records to this feature.

“Paradise Tonight” is not one of them.

If you told me this had been cut in a mid-eighties shopping mall recording studio for $9.99, I would believe you, and I would note that the money would’ve been better spent at Orange Julius or Wicks ‘N’ Sticks.

Is that a toy piano they’re singing over? What is happening here?

It’s a mess, and sadly, it’s also Gilley’s last appearance in this feature, though we’ll see him again when we cover the 1970s.

We’ll see McClain again with a quality solo hit down the road.  Listen to “Who’s Cheatin’ Who” on repeat until we get there and skip over this bizarre duet. 

“Paradise Tonight” gets a D

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. I hate to admit it but over the years this song has really grown on me. The first time I heard it I hated everything about it. Now it’s a guilty pleasure and on many of my Playlist . It’s a fun little song that has not aged well but that bizarre piano is part of its charm for me.

  2. When I went through a small Charly McClain phase this song i remember liking. Took a minute like Trouble said above but yeah it’s super dated. I think Charly had a unique voice and like Lacy J Dalton thought was very underrated artist. Really like her song “Band Of Gold” too.

  3. Listen to “Who’s Cheatin’ Who” on repeat

    I would’ve gone with ”Dancin’ Your Memory Away” or maaaaaybe ”Radio Heart,” but yeah.

  4. An odd and not greatly aged song, but I don’t skip it on the CDs I still listen to, so it has that going for it? @Tyler, I agree with you completely on Lacy J and Charly’s immense underratedness.

  5. A weird song I still don’t know where I land on. As has been mentioned, it is bizarre and odd. Maybe that is its significance, an expected wtf musical moment.

    I remember going to bat for “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma,” another maligned duet from the decade. I can’t find the same enthusiasm for this despite loving Gilley. Just as significant is my inability to consign it to the dustbin of duds because it is still catchy and i don’t hate hearing it when I do. It’s actually sort of fun.

    Perhaps another example of the genre quietly taking hits to the positive continuity and momentum it had generated to date.

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