Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Exile, “I Don’t Want to Be a Memory”

“I Don’t Want to Be a Memory”


Written by Sonny LeMaire and J.P. Pennington


#1 (1 week)

July 14, 1984

Exile’s “I Don’t Want to Be a Memory” is as paint by numbers as it gets.

That might be an unavoidable outcome of a pop band crossing over to country during this time period.  It’s the sound of a band trying to fit in, so we get a generic heartbreak lyric, Alabama-inspired harmonies, and some light island instrumentation thrown in for good measure.

It’s all done competently, and it’s hard to fault any individual element.  There’s just nothing distinctive about it.  Nothing about it declares that this is an Exile record. 

As radio filler goes, it’s fine.  But I forget everything about it when it finishes playing. 

“I Don’t Want to Be a Memory” gets a C


Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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1 Comment

  1. The silence in the comments section is a deafening indictment of, as Kevin points out, forgettable ’80s radio filler.

    Exile is fast food country music; it fills a real need, is enjoyable in the moment, and leaves you hungry for something more substantive almost immediately after listening to it.

    For as great as so many of the chart topping singles from this decade have been, making a list of the weakest/worst hits might be telling and shed some light on the reasons behind the standard narrative about the music from this era and the emergence of the new traditionalist movement.

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