Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Don Williams, “That’s the Thing About Love”

“That’s the Thing About Love”

Don Williams

Written by Richard Leigh and Gary Nicholson

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

July 13 – July 20, 1984


#1 (1 week)

August 11, 1984

The more we delve into Don Williams’ many chart-topping hits, the more I’m realizing what an influence he had on Alan Jackson’s vocal style.

To borrow from Patty Loveless, Williams understood that his job, first and foremost, was to not get in the way of the song.  Williams holds these songs like a prayer and delivers them with remarkable grace.

Rather than muting the impact of the lyric here, Williams’ signature style elevates it.  The words linger and resonate, infusing them with more meaning and purpose than they have on paper.  Picture one of his contemporaries belting it and you can imagine how the same song could be butchered by a bombastic performance and make the song’s lyrics seem trite and contrived. 

They aren’t.  It’s a simple song, for sure, but those are often the hardest to write.  His performance works so well that this song could play at a bar, and both the guy who just got lucky and the guy who just got dumped would think he was singing to them.

Williams doesn’t put his thumb on the scale.  This is a song for those who’ve loved and lost, those who are in love, and those who have yet to love at all. 

“That’s the Thing About Love” gets an A

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. This song could have been such a disaster in another’s hands with the saxophone, piano, and strings.

    William’s wisdom and calm, however, anchor this song and tether it to relatable personal experiences.

    He simply commands my attention when singing. He is worth listening to.

    This is the perfect talkative follow-up to Gosdin’s previous all action chart topper.

    Apparently my love lessons as a kid continued with this reflective hit as well.

    This has been quite a run of excellent songs in 1984.

  2. Don had such a calming voice. Him and Kathy Mattea are my go to’s when I’m just trying to relax and reflect. I have every single album Don released except cafe Carolina which for some reason has not been released digitally yet despite all the other albums being available.

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