Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Mel McDaniel, “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On”

“Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On”

Mel McDaniel

Written by Bob McDill

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

February 1, 1985


#1 (1 week)

February 23, 1985

 Mel McDaniel’s only No. 1 hit came from the pen of Bob McDill, who entered the Country Music Hall of Fame last weekend.

McDaniel recorded many McDill songs over the course of his career, which was lengthier and more impactful than his sole chart topper would suggest.   He brought such a Cajun flair to his work that it might surprise you he hailed from Oklahoma, where his slow journey to the top began by playing clubs in Tulsa.  He released an independent single while he was there, then tried Nashville for the first time.  When Music Row showed no interest, he became popular on the oil field circuit in Alaska.

A second Nashville jaunt led to a publishing deal and eventually a recording contract with Capitol Records, where he’d spend fourteen years on their roster.  After a handful of minor hits, he scored a major breakthrough with “Louisiana Saturday Night,” which went top ten and became an enduring radio staple afterward.  It was one of two top ten hits from his 1980 set I’m Countryfied, which he followed with Take Me to the Country.  It featured the top ten title track and his first top five single, “Big Ole Brew.”

Two more albums followed, with one top ten hit between them.  Then he previewed Let it Roll with “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On.”  It’s quintessential Mel McDaniel, bursting with positive energy and respectfully celebrating the girl by his side who simply has no idea the impact that she’s having on the men around her.  In both theme and arrangement, it heavily influenced Sammy Kershaw’s “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful.”

McDaniel didn’t have another No. 1 hit, but he made one of the most memorable early country music videos for his “Stand Up” single later in 1985.  That was his final top five hit, and for the remainder of his stay at Capitol Records, he earned one more top ten hit: 1988’s “Real Good Feel Good Song.”  He exited the label at the end of the decade, and released an independent album in 1991.  Then, a stage accident in 1996 retired him early from the road, though he continued to make public appearances on the Opry and on television.  In 2006, he released his final album, Reloaded.

His health deteriorated soon after, with a heart attack putting him in a medically induced coma.  He recovered, only to be diagnosed with terminal lung cancer shortly thereafter. McDaniel passed away in 2011 at the age of 68, but he lives on through enduring his biggest hits, which still get regular airplay on country gold stations.

“Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” gets an A

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Reba McEntire, “How Blue”|

Next: Merle Haggard with Janie Fricke, “A Place to Fall Apart”

Open in Spotify


  1. I would think that every guy could relate to this song. There’s just something about seeing a girl in a nice pair of jeans that makes a guy’s head spin back as he looks on.

    Bob McDill is one of the best songwriters ever. The lyrics of this song is as close to perfection as you can get. McDaniel delivers the message perfectly as well.

    The results are memorable and fun. It’s a song that puts a smile on your face immediately after it starts and continues all the way to the end.

    Definitely deserves an A.

  2. “She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful” was another Bob McDill-penned song.

    Quite possibly the greatest song McDill ever penned, though, hit No. 1 the year after this one did.

  3. It’s amazing how much charisma and character matter when releasing a song like this.

    The relative restraint and good-natured tact of this hit is commendable, especially when singing a song about a woman’s physical attributes.

    Luke Bryan’s “Country Girl (Shake it for Me) comes to mind as a similarly themed song that swings and misses terribly.

    It’s not that the latter is any lewder so much as it is so much more stupid.

    The imperative for a country girl to shake it on a tailgate for the all the created order’s pleasure sounds manipulative and possessive. It feels uncomfortable that the act is done on demand for somebody else’s pleasure. The Davidson/Bryan lyrics blue the line between the public with the private, conferring a whiff of the pornographic to the whole listening experience.

    McDaniel’s performance and McDill’s lyrics sound incidental and observational, as absurd and objectifying as the scenes they describe are. There is at least a sense of volition and self-endorsement for the female character.

    Songs like this are difficult to parse.

    I should stop.

Leave a Reply

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