Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Sylvia, “Fallin’ in Love”

“Fallin’ in Love”


Written by Randy Goodrum and Brent Maher

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

May 3, 1985

 After “Nobody” and its parent album both went gold, it’s understandable that Sylvia’s collaboration with producer Tom Collins would continue.

Their third album together, Snapshot, produced two more top five hits for the ACM Top Female Vocalist winner, though its sales fell short of its predecessor.  When their fourth album, Surprise, resulted in two singles that peaked outside the top twenty, RCA paired Sylvia with the producer of their hottest new act for her fifth album.

Brent Maher’s work with the Judds helps put “Fallin’ in Love” in proper context.  It’s maddening that the album isn’t available to stream because it’s so different from the rest of Sylvia’s RCA catalog. She shines as a singer while surrounded by a rootsy production, revealing how much her phrasing and emoting had improved since her earliest days as a recording artist.

“Fallin’ in Love” is light and fresh, and fits in just as well with the new traditionalists on the radio at the time as “Nobody” did among the Urban Cowboy set.  Two more singles were released from One Step Closer, and they both went top ten. 

Sadly, this marked the end of Sylvia’s hit run.  A sixth album was shelved by RCA after its lead single, “Nothin’ Ventured, Nothin’ Gained,” stalled outside the top thirty.  A final attempt at getting Sylvia back on track came with her Greatest Hits album in 1987, which featured two new recordings.  Its only single, “Straight From My Heart,” topped out at #66 on the Billboard chart. Sylvia exited the RCA roster shortly thereafter, and went into semi-retirement.

After a few years of work on TNN, Sylvia returned to the studio in the mid-nineties, releasing The Real Story in 1996. Ever since, she’s recorded occasionally and has made regular touring appearances. Her 2018 collection, Second Bloom, reimagined her hits in traditional country arrangements and showcased her enduring strength as an interpretive singer.  You can hear the original version of “Fallin’ in Love” through the YouTube link below, and hear the reimagined version on our Spotify playlist. 

“Fallin’ in Love” gets a B+

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. This is my absolute favorite song by Sylvia. I enjoyed a lot of her songs, but as you say, this album was a whole new and better sound for her. I wish we had gotten more of her paired with Maher.

    I purchased an Anthology cd a few years ago that had plenty of tracks and pretty much covered her career. She really had a unique catalog and it’s very enjoyable to listen to. And she had an amazing voice.

    • I sampled her 2018 re-recording of her hits in more organic arrangements, as well as a few tracks from her 2022 album, and enjoyed everything that I’ve heard. She’s an excellent singer. I wish all of her RCA albums were available to buy. I’m going to see if I can find that Anthology CD.

  2. I feel like I owe Sylvia an apology.

    Coming into this feature, I was too eager and quick to dismiss her music outright, whether it was her more pop leanings or her later, more traditional tendencies.

    I am reminded of the simple lesson that you should actually listen to an artist and their music before forming an opinion about them.

  3. And didn’t the Sweethearts of the Rodeo basically take this sound and style into the top ten with their hits late in the decade?

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