Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: John Schneider, “I’ve Been Around Enough to Know”

“I’ve Been Around Enough to Know”

John Schneider

Written by Dickey Lee and Bob McDill

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

October 19, 1984


#1 (1 week)

November 10, 1984

How does a television star whose biggest hit was a torturous, Teen Bop cover of “It’s Now or Never” end up recording one of the better country singles of 1984?

By securing Jimmy Bowen as his producer.

I know y’all are getting tired of hearing this man’s name, but this might be his most impressive accomplishment in the studio since he revived the recording careers of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin in the sixties.

Bowen dug up a minor hit from the mid-seventies by Jo-El Sonnier, got Schneider to sing in a lower register that actually suited him, and then surrounded him by a new traditionalist production that foreshadowed the best work of Ricky Van Shelton. He even hoodwinked country radio into playing it by sending the song out without Schneider’s name, wary that he wouldn’t be given a fair shot because of his Dukes of Hazzard past and mediocre earlier records.

“I’ve Been Around Enough to Know” is a fantastic song that should’ve been a hit the first time around, but truth be told, Schneider’s recording blows the Sonnier version out of the water.  Schneider sounds great, but if you listen closely enough, it’s clear that it’s the production that makes this record work so well.  Schneider doesn’t get in the way of the song.  He just delivers it with sincerity, and lets the musicians do the rest.

Bowen worked with so many brilliant talents that his success as a producer could be framed the same way.  He just didn’t get in their way.  But “I’ve Been Around Enough to Know” demonstrates his talent behind the console even better than the legendary recordings he’s most known for co-producing during the eighties.  If it was Strait or McEntire singing here, it would be a stone cold classic.  Bowen really spun straw into gold here. 

“I’ve Been Around Enough to Know” gets a B+

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Ricky Skaggs, “Uncle Pen” |

Next: Earl Thomas Conley, “Chance of Lovin’ You”

Open in Spotify


  1. If this were John Schneider’s only great song from the ’80’s, I could get behind the argument that Bowen spun straw into gold with his production acumen, but Schneider consistently delivered excellent vocal performances on all five of his MCA Jimmy Bowen produced albums from the decade.

    Schneider deserves more credit than he gets for this one, which isn’t to minimize Bowen’s significance or role in Schneider’s success.

    I just want to celebrate Schneider’s legitimate contributions to what is happening here.

    Going forward, we will see he is capable of much more than just staying out of the way of a great song.

    Maybe Bowen was the reason Schneider had access to so many great songs in the first place.

    Schneider had cuts from: Max T. Barnes, Don Cook, Dennis Linde, Harlan Howard, Don Schlitz, Bob McDill, Mike Reid, Sonny Throckmorton, and Kieran Kane just to name a few.

    It’s easy to dismiss John Schneider as the David Hasslehoff of country music until you listen to his recordings, both his radio hits and deep album cuts.

    Thankfully, we will have the opportunity to talk some more about just how surprisingly good John Schneider was during the ’80s.

    • I’m not surprised Bowen produced more great sides than this with Schneider, who is a better vocalist than his earlier recordings indicated.

      But what’s unique about Schneider is that he only made great records with Bowen. Most other Bowen collaborators did excellent work with other producers before and/or after they worked with Bowen.

  2. I recently found a $2.99 vinyl copy of Schneider’s 1982 “Quiet Man” album on Scotti Brothers. It was produced by Tony Scotti and John D’Andrea. It is unremarkable and uncompelling.

    It reminds me of Joe Nichols’ eponymous 1996 Interscope debut produced by Todd Wilkes, Randy Edwards, and Lee Ogle.

    Nothing I heard in either album hinted at what Bowen would co-create with Schneider or what Brett Rowan would later do with Nichols.

    It’s almost a full metamorphosis.

    When Schneider moved to MCA and began to work with Jimmy Bowen, Barry McCloud said, “[John] made a transition that only an actor could manage: he consciously lowered his voice and concentrated on being “Country.”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.