Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Lee Greenwood, “Somebody’s Gonna Love You”

“Somebody’s Gonna Love You”

Lee Greenwood

Written by Don Cook and Rafe Van Hoy


#1 (1 week)

November 12, 1983

Lee Greenwood’s first No. 1 hit is a doozy, and we’ll get to it soon enough.  As this is his first entry, we need to cover some of his biography first.

Greenwood grew up in California, and like many future recording artists, his public singing experience began in church as a young child.  While he worked briefly in the country field, his young adulthood was dominated by his time in Las Vegas, where he fronted a band that recorded a few pop sides in Los Angeles.   Once the band broke up, he moonlighted as a Vegas singer while dealing blackjack during the day.

He found an enthusiastic supporter in Mel Tillis bassist Larry McFadden, who helped him land a record deal with MCA.  His first single, “It Turns Me Inside Out,” went top twenty, and was followed by his first top five hit, “Ring On Her Finger, Time On Her Hands,” which would later be a top ten hit for Reba McEntire in 1996.  His debut album, Inside Out, featured these hits plus two additional top ten entries: “She’s Lying” and “Ain’t No Trick (It Takes Magic).”

His debut album would eventually go gold, as did his second album, Somebody’s Gonna Love You.  Its lead single, “I.O.U.,” went top ten.  MCA followed it with the album’s title track, which became his first No. 1 country hit as an artist.

And oh, what a record it is.  Perhaps there’s some alternate timeline where a more nuanced singer was able to tease out some sincerity and humanity from this lyric, but I don’t think even the best singer of this era could do much to redeem a song about a neighbor down the hall monitoring the activity of a single woman and insisting that somebody’s gonna love her, whether she wants it or not.

Honestly, what were these writers thinking with this?

Lonely lady living down the hallDon’t you have any friends at allI never hear a knocking at your doorCould it be you just don’t try anymore?

You’ve been hurt so seriouslyYou act so cold but it’s so easy to seeYou’re a waste of real good loveBut you can’t hide or run fast enough

Throw in Lee Greenwood’s lecherous delivery and that “swap left immediately” album cover photo, and this pickup attempt comes off like a misdemeanor:

Somebody’s gonna love you, no matter what you doSomebody’s gonna find all the pieces of a broken heart hidden inside of youSomebody’s gonna touch you, it’s just a matter of timeAnd if you’re ever gonna try love again, it might as well be mine

Lock your doors, ladies.  Lee Greenwood is on the loose.

“Somebody’s Gonna Love You” gets an F

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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Next: Earl Thomas Conley, “Holding Her and Loving You”

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  1. LOL let’s go. Bring on the hate. Also I love that Wheeler Walker Jr. Parodies Lee Greenwood by making his album cover’s look just like Lee Greenwood’s from the 80’s

  2. I had no idea who Wheeler Walker Jr. was (real name Ben Hoffman) – still don’t for that matter, but I checked online and saw that he did indeed pirate the style of at least three Lee Greenwood albums (American Patriot, Somebody’s Gonna Love You, and Streamline),
    There may be others – I presume Hoffman paid the proper royalties to the architects of the original covers.

    Apparently y’all are getting politically correct again. This is not a great single but it is not an “F”, maybe a C- or D+

  3. I want to try to pull together a number of aspects of other artists I hear in Lee Greenwood’s music that fail to come together to create a more meaningful or significant musical legacy for him as an act.

    And Greenwood has always presented himself as an act.

    He has the same entertainment instincts as the Oak Ridge Boys, who I have previously championed as straight up entertainers and showmen, but Greenwood offers none of the warmth, intimacy, or sincerity of the Oaks. Rather, Greenwood comes off as a huckster or sleazy salesman. The sincerity contract with me as a listener is fraught. It has many holes in it. He always seems slick, sweaty, and untrustworthy. The Oaks promote joy while Greenwood pitches emotional snake-oil. He has the smarmy charm of a black jack dealer who will gladly take your bottom dollar with a smile.

    Secondly, although his voice has often been compared to Kenny Rogers it lacks Kenny’s nuance and softness. Greenwood plays his vocal chords like a cheap guitar and works his vibrato with the gentleness of a coin operated “magic fingers” motel bed. It’s all Vegas drama and show with nary a drop of subtlety or restraint. Even on a song like “It Turns Me Inside Out” he sells the song more than sings it. There is just something coarse and vulgar about Greenwood even at his best.

    Which brings us to the obvious connection between his image and T.G. Sheppard’s. He seems to be heir apparent to that stained throne with this debut number one and that album photo.

    It doesn’t help that in any interview I have seen of Greenwood he comes off as exceedingly arrogant and self-important for an artist time has largely forgotten and moved on from.

    I was surprised to see Don Cook and Rage Van Hoy as the songwriters on this one.

    Greenwood will have his moments but this is not one of them.

    • It’s just the worst possible combination of song, singer, and image here. Greenwood has some nice songs, and he’s a better songwriter than singer, IMO. But he doesn’t have a good song here, and his delivery and accompanying visuals just make it worse.

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