“To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before”
Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson
Written by Hal David and Albert Hammond
Radio & Records
#1 (2 weeks)
April 20 – April 27, 1984
#1 (2 weeks)
May 12 – May 19, 1984
Two of the world’s most popular and distinctive vocalists came together for the unlikeliest of duets, and damn if they didn’t make it work.
Put aside any notion that this is some hybrid of country and Latin music, though. Fact is, “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” works so well for two reasons, and neither of them have anything to do with country or Latin music.
The first reason it works is that both Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson knew their way around a pop standard, and that’s the sonic presentation here. This is for Willie fans who love Stardust, not Red Headed Stranger. As for Iglesias, the only indication of his Latin roots is his elegant phrasing, and we’re most aware of this when the clunkiness of the English language requires him to alter his enunciation to make the melody work for him. His most beautiful moments on this record come from when it’s the most difficult to understand what he’s saying.
The other reason this collaboration works so well is that both men are genuinely classy and radiate warmth and sincerity. This is a tricky lyric that could’ve come off as unseemly in lesser hands: two men looking back on their sexual conquests that they’ve loved and then left behind, and implying a commitment to continue their roaming ways. But you can’t doubt for a single second that they really did love and appreciate each and every woman they’ve been with, and they really are happy that they’re now “someone else’s wives.” Everybody wins!
It’s all so gloriously the nineteen eighties, and I’m totally here for it.
“To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before” gets an A.
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