Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: The Judds, “Why Not Me”

“Why Not Me”

The Judds

Written by Harlan Howard, Brent Maher, and Sonny Throckmorton

Radio & Records

#1 (4 weeks)

November 9, 1984


#1 (2 weeks)

December 22 – December 29, 1984

It’s going to be tricky finding new ways of saying the same thing as we cover this early run of hits by the Judds.

Their first Greatest Hits collection only has ten tracks, which is pretty skimpy by today’s standards.  But it never dips below God-tier in quality.  Each one of their chart-topping singles from this era is a bona fide classic, and “Why Not Me” has been among the most enduring of them.

It’s an incredibly simple song. Co-writer Harlan Howard believed that when you have a weak title, you have to repeat it frequently so listeners latch on to it. I might not agree with him about it being a weak title, but the repetition serves the song quite well. 

This is where the signature sound of the Judds really comes to live.  That twangy guitar hook. Naomi’s subtle harmony vocal.  And most importantly, the force of nature that is Wynonna Judd. 

It’s incredible how much she grew as a vocalist between “Mama He’s Crazy” and “Why Not Me.”  Her voice bends and twists and turns, communicating excitement and uncertainty and sensuality all at once.  Her urgency increases as the record progresses, culminating in final wail that is impossible to resist.

How exciting it will be to write about an all time great as she becomes an all time great.

“Why Not Me” gets an A

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. My very favorite Wynonna song, either with the Judds or as a solo artist. I liked Mama He’s Crazy, but Why Not Me made me a Wynonna fan for life.

  2. “Why Not Me” does ring with stand-out clarity and vocal purity. It’s a special performance.

    Colour me red, but I didn’t know this was a Harlan Howard song.

    Pretty good year for ol’ Harlan, between The Moon Song and this one both hitting the top.

    Pretty amazing year for the Judds as well and the start of their storied career.

    The Judds stand alone right out of the gates.

    If this feature helps rewrite the narrative around ’80s’ country music, it will be that song diversity, in sound and style, defined this era as much as anything.

    Age parity too.

    The coming new traditionalism movement was not the victimless creative panacea it is often hailed as.

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