Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Sawyer Brown, “Step That Step”

“Step That Step”

Sawyer Brown

Written by Mark Miller


#1 (1 week)

May 18, 1985

Sawyer Brown started as the backing band for country musician Don King, who had some moderate success on the country charts in the seventies and early eighties.   They banded together when King retired from touring, and were originally called Savanna.  A last minute name change once they were in Nashville led them to Sawyer Brown, which they took from a road they found in the phone book.

They achieved national attention competing on Star Search, winning the Vocal Group prize in the first season of the series.    The victory included a recording contract, and by 1984, the band was releasing its first album on Capitol Records.  Their first single, “Leona,” went top twenty.  Its follow-up became their only number one single of the eighties.

“Step That Step” is certainly representative of their early work.  They were going for some slightly countrified Stray Cats vibe in the beginning.  Branding them a novelty act would be unfair, but they flirted with that status pretty shamelessly on their first few records.

They were clearly trying to capture the spirit of their live shows, but producer Randy Scruggs softens all of the edges, so they sound less like a party band and more like like the house band at a family amusement park.  

Just go read all the nineties entries.  I promise you that they get better.

“Step That Step” gets a C-

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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1 Comment

  1. I think there image worked as much against them in their early days as anything. They were almost frantic performers for an audience used to an artist standing behind a microphone and just singing.

    The mugging and posturing was unfamiliar. Their outfits looked more like costumes. I wonder if people thought they were making fun of country music.

    When I close my eyes to tune out out all the visual noise of early Sawyer Brown, I hear a fun band with at least some personality.

    Mark Miller is a polarizing vocalist, but he is recognizable as a lead man.

    This song sits far better with me than I thought it would because I was not a fan of the band in the moment.

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