Written by Richard Marx and Kenny Rogers
#1 (1 week)
March 30, 1985
David Foster’s production fails Kenny Rogers here.
Foster’s talent is pushing vocalists beyond their normal limits. This has made for some career-best vocal performances from Whitney Houston (“I Will Always Love You”), Olivia Newton-John (“Twist of Fate”), Peter Cetera (“The Glory of Love”), and Celine Dion (“The Power of Love.”)
But Kenny Rogers isn’t a powerhouse vocalist. He’s a stylist who excels at telling stories and delivering choruses that an arena can sing along with. “Crazy” undermines his gifts through its arrangement, despite Rogers himself being a co-writer and co-producer of the track.
The song itself is fine, though its sentiment is overly familiar and its title invites unfavorable comparisons to the Patsy Cline standard. An understated approach could have been quite powerful. With Rogers, less really is more. That’s never been more apparent than it is on the chorus, as Rogers struggles to effectively emote while going for the high notes.
Still, the collaboration was commercially successful, so we have two more No. 1 hits from Rogers on the way with Foster as producer. Thankfully, both of them are a step or two above this one.
“Crazy” gets a C.
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