Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: The Oak Ridge Boys, “I Guess it Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes”

“I Guess it Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes”

The Oak Ridge Boys

Written by Randy VanWarmer

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

April 6 – April 13, 1984


#1 (1 week)

May 5, 1984

It makes sense that so many soft rock acts transitioned into country in the eighties, either as songwriters or as artists themselves.  A few window dressing changes and any soft rock hit can become a country hit.

Randy VanWarmer was most famous for his biggest hit as a singer-songwriter: “Just When I Needed You Most.”  I’ve see many critics deride that song for being wimpy, but I’ve always appreciated it, and I adore the Dolly Parton cover from the mid-nineties.

VanWarmer’s writing style is a good fit for the Oak Ridge Boys.  On “I Guess it Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes,” the lead vocal sounds like it could’ve been modeled off of VanWarmer’s demo recording of his own song.  

What gives their version some added muscle muscle are those intricate harmonies, bringing depth and nuance to a delicate melody and making the material more resilient on record than it is on paper.

This chart topper kicks off a string of five consecutive No. 1 singles for the Oaks, a career high for the group.

“I Guess it Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes” gets a B+

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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1 Comment

  1. In my comments on Exile’s recent number one hit a few posts back, I wrote that the window was closing on harmony acts like the Oak Ridge Boy’s, Gatlin Brothers and Statler Brothers.

    I was wrong. The Oaks and Stats still have a run of songs yet that will reach the top.

    I think this Oak Ridge Boy’s song is a great example for their ability to draw from different styles and still produce their signature mainstream country sound.

    They have drawn hits from songwriters ranging from Rodney Crowell to Jimbeau Hinson to Randy Van Warmer.

    Their harmonies are so soft, gentle, and warm on the chorus of this performance. Joe Bonsall shines as the lead. Richard Sterban quietly rumbles in and out of the mix. Just such lovely tones.

    Sure you could argue this suffers from the same wimpy vulnerability of VanWarmer’s other songs but then I would have to smash you in the mouth.

    I am protective of the Oak Ridge Boys.

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