Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Ricky Skaggs, “Country Boy”

“Country Boy”

Ricky Skaggs

Written by Tony Colton, Albert Lee, and Ray Smith


#1 (1 week)

June 15, 1985

New York City changed so much from the eighties to the nineties that the “Country Boy” video is like a window into my city’s past.  Sort of like The Muppets Take Manhattan with Bill Monroe in the mix.

The creative video for “Country Boy” has helped it endure more than other Skaggs classics, and it deserves every bit of its evergreen status.  The tale of a country boy longing for the olden days goes all the way back to early Carter Family records.  It almost always works because of the way that nostalgia evokes a rose colored glasses view of the past, softening out the rough edges as you long for days gone by.

I don’t know that Ricky Skaggs really looks like a bank teller or a city slicker, but hey, Johnny Cash didn’t shoot a man in Reno just to watch him die.  “Country Boy” fits perfectly into Skaggs’ persona just like “Folsom Prison Blues” did for Cash.  Perhaps joining Emmylou’s Hot Band was his “country comes to town” moment.

Fact is, he sings and plays spectacularly well and every moment of “Country Boy” is pure bluegrass euphoria, presented in a way that was palatable to country radio playlists that still included Ronnie Milsap and Lee Greenwood.  

“Country Boy” gets an A.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. If you are trying to hook people on country music, this is an absolutely essential lure to have in your tackle box. It is insanely fun and catchy, showcasing all the musical dynamism and energy of bluegrass and country music instrumentation.

    A classic.

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