Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Gary Morris, “Baby Bye Bye”

“Baby Bye Bye”

Gary Morris

Written by Jamie Brantley and Gary Morris

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

February 8, 1985


#1 (1 week)

March 2, 1985

For Gary Morris, the road to stardom went through the White House.

Morris hailed from Forth Worth, Texas, and had considered a career in sports before committing to a music career while in college.  He moved to Colorado, where he was successful on the club circuit. After writing and recording some jingles, he started singing at fundraisers for Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign.  This led to a job at the White House, and as his luck would have it, country producer Norro Wilson heard him singing there and got him to sign with Warner Bros. Nashville.

His self-titled debut album was released in 1982, and it included his breakthrough top ten single “Headed For a Heartache.”  His second set, Why Lady Why, included his hit version of “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” which helped that album become his only gold-selling studio set to date.  All four singles from that album went top ten, and three of them went top five.

His third set, Faded Blue, kicked off with two more top ten singles.  With the third and final release from the project, he earned his first No. 1 hit.

“Baby Bye Bye” is a great showcase for Morris.  He sounds fantastic, delivering a rapid fire lyric without coming up from air.  The production is fresh and interesting, and the lyric is well written.  It’s an enthusiastic kiss off anthem to a woman who has done her man wrong one too many times:

There were fourteen reasons for sayin’ goodbyeLike the look on her face and the look in her eyeAnd the way that she broke the man downLeft the man in pieces here on sinkin’ ground
There were fourteen nights when she didn’t come byFourteen days when she left the manWondering why he even bothered to trySo baby bye, bye
It’s an entertaining record from start to finish, and a great introduction to those who have never heard a Morris record. 
“Bye Bye Bye” gets a B+

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. It is an infectious song from a man with an incredible voice. He was hot for an unfortunately short period of time. But I really enjoyed him while he was around.

    B+ sounds about right.

  2. Something else to remember about Gary is that, three months before this song got to #1, he was in a New York City production of Giacomo Puccini’s famous opera “La Boheme” in the role of Rodolfo opposite Linda Ronstadt (who portrayed Mimi).

  3. Gary Morris is often singled out as an example of how soulless pop-country had become in the mid-’80s.

    Yet, I listen to him song and hear one of country music’s purest voices.

    As Kevin points out, Morris had been consistently putting songs into the top ten since 1981.

    Listen to songs like “Velvet Chains,” “The Love She Found in Me,” and “Second Hand Heart” and John Berry makes a lot more sense contextually come the ’90’s.

    Incidentally, I only fully appreciated both Morris’ and Berry’s skills as vocalists after purchasing their respective Christmas albums.

    Morris’ 1988 “Every Christmas” album was a revelation. Listen to the stunning layered production of “I Wonder as I Wander.” His singing blew my mind and broke my heart it was so beautiful.

    I will champion Gary Morris and his soulful singing at every opportunity.

    I think his 1986 “Plain Brown Wrapper” album was one of the decade’s best as well, a perfect country counter point to his more heavily produced earlier albums.

    He is easily one of the most overlooked and underappreciated stars of the ’80s.

    He is shockingly great singer.

    ‘Baby Bye Bye” is a perfect spring board for a deep dive into his music.

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