“You Could’ve Heard a Heart Break”
Written by Marc Rossi
#1 (1 week)
November 24, 1984
Johnny Lee earns his final No. 1 single to date, and he goes out on a high note.
“You Could’ve Heard a Heart Break” feels like a spiritual predecessor to Reba McEntire’s “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” as we get a birds-eye view of all of the happenings at a local bar from the view of the bartender.
The storytelling is perfectly crafted, and Lee gives an empathetic performance that heightens the impact of the lyric. You get the sense that everyone is this bar knows everyone in town, and as a man tries to cheat on his wife, the onlookers hold their breath.
He makes the phone call home to say he he’ll be late. He makes his move on the innocent girl who has no idea he’s married. And then in the second verse, his wife shows up.
How many hearts could you have heard break? At least three, by my count.
This is easily Lee’s strongest No. 1 single, and while he didn’t return to the top after this, he had a handful of top ten hits, with the final one coming in 1990.
Lee has continued to perform and record ever since, especially around the Lone Star state. His most recent album, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, was released in 2021.
“You Could’ve Heard a Heart Break” gets an A.
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