Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Lee Greenwood, “Going, Going, Gone”

“Going, Going, Gone”

Lee Greenwood

Written by Jan Crutchfield


#1 (1 week)

March 3, 1984

 Jan Crutchfield was a master at the country breakup ballad, with a special flair for capturing the anguish of a man who sabotaged the relationship himself.

Lee Greenwood’s “Going, Going, Gone” is in the tradition of Crutchfield’s earlier classics like “Statue of a Fool,” and is one of many hits that Crutchfield wrote for Greenwood.  It’s a poignant piece of songwriting with an incredibly strong opening, as the man who is left behind acknowledges that his own lover’s game backfired:

It’s over. I left the door unlocked again.
But this time someone new walked in while she was all alone
He told her that there was much more life to see
Than she would ever see with me
Now she’s going, going, gone

Greenwood gives an understated performance by his standards, though he’s let down by the production. I love a big pop production as much as anyone, but producer Jerry Crutchfield overdoes it with far too many dramatic elements.  This undercuts Greenwood’s effective subtlety earlier in the track and forces him to go bigger than necessary.

He brings it back down to earth for the finale, so not all is lost.  But I really would’ve loved this one without the big drums and strings. 

Greenwood followed “Going, Going, Gone” with his signature hit, “God Bless the U.S.A.,” which he wrote himself.  It oddly underperformed at radio, only going top ten. But  it was still his biggest hit, and he became the first artist in CMA history to win in both the Male Vocalist and Song of the Year categories at the CMA Awards.  

We’ll see Greenwood again when we get to 1985. 

“Going, Going, Gone” gets a B

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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1 Comment

  1. Greenwood’s contrived breathy vibrato is not up to the interpretive task of the lyrics here. Sure the production is a total mess, but so are his soulless vocals. Imagine what Gene Watson could do with this.

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