Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Earl Thomas Conley, “Chance of Lovin’ You”

“Chance of Lovin’ You”

Earl Thomas Conley

Written by Earl Thomas Conley and Randy Scruggs

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

October 26 – November 2, 1984


#1 (1 week)

December 8, 1984

Earl Thomas Conley launches a new studio album with a single that undermines its title!

The first of three No. 1 singles from Treadin’ Water finds Conley incorporating interesting pop flourishes into the production, with a guitar track that is reminiscent of Juice Newton’s “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard On Me.”  There’s a cool electronic riff that surfaces in the chorus that works quite well, and Conley sounds energized and confident as he navigates these new elements.

As should be expected at this point, Conley and frequent co-writer Randy Scruggs have some sophisticated turns of phrase. “Chance of Lovin’ You” features one of my favorite lines I’ve heard from them so far: “If it wasn’t for love, you’d still be my friend.”

We’re inching closer to the genre going full new traditionalist, but “Chance of Lovin’ You” and Crystal Gayle’s “The Sound of Goodbye” symbolize the path not taken, where country music fully engaged with the increasingly electronic sound of the era’s pop music.  

I wish there were more country records that had taken their cues from records like this one.

“Chance of Lovin’ You” gets an A. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. Proving that the great songs from his previous album were no fluke, ETC releases this toe tapper that continues his string of number one hits.

    I love the chorus: “that’s the chance you take with a lonely heart, that’s the price you pay with a lonely heart”.

    Incredible song all around that very much deserves an A.

  2. Country always has to come home to find itself. That’s the inevitable turning of the wheel, the creative cycle that comes with the certainty of the seasons.

    I am grateful for the confidence, however, of those artists who did find different paths home. Those who embraced pop influences in the moment.

    I am sure I have shared this Brian Mansfield quote before, but it is so good it is well with repeating.

    Mansfield said, “As far back as the days of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, country music has largely been the sound of Southern whites trying to recreate the pop music of their youth.”

    Staying with Kevin’s examples of this Conley single and Crystal Gayle’s “The Sound of Goodbye,” both artists should be commended for celebrating the pop music of their era today, with all its ’80s’ snythesizers and electronica.

    Gayle and Conley were not pretending they did not know what was being played on the pop radio stations nor that they had never listened to anything but country music before.

    They simply embraced a different way of being country that sounded contemporary.

    Their is no lag, no nostalgia and no retrospective safety getting to their pop influences and production values.

    Both is live, active, and now.

    Both is also country in a non traditional way that new traditionalism would , unfortunately, build a bulwark against.

  3. Really happy you’re enjoying ETC music for this feature. Really feel like he was very underrated and brought a lot of complex themes and emotions to his songs is why his music was dubbed “Thinking Man’s Country Music”. Looking forward to reading more about his music throughout this feature.

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