Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Willie Nelson, “Forgiving You Was Easy”

Willie Nelson at Veteran's Stadium for the first Farm Aid Concert on in Champaign, Illinois. September 22, 1985 (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

“Forgiving You Was Easy”

Willie Nelson

Written by Willie Nelson


#1 (1 week)

July 13, 1985

There have been so many covers and collaborations from Willie Nelson recently in this series.  He gets back to basics with “Forgiving You Was Easy,” his first self-penned solo No. 1 hit in four years.

Nelson has a way of writing a new song that says something so obvious that it’s hard to believe the song didn’t exist already.  He puts an interesting spin on unconditional love here, as he readily grants forgiveness to his partner who has betrayed him.  What’s he unable to do, sadly, is let go of her memory as easily as he let go of his anger and jealousy.

He’s paying the price for that, and his inability to move on take a poignant turn toward the end of the song:

The years have passed so quicklyAs once again fate steals a young man’s dreamsOf all the golden yearsAnd growing old together, you and me 

You asked me to forgive youYou said there was another on your mindForgiving you is easyBut forgetting seems to take the longest time

I think that the production is a bit too jaunty for the lyric, though I enjoy the light Caribbean rhythms that are intertwined throughout the track.  This would’ve been a great song for Nelson to revisit in his later career, if he did it with a somber, haunting arrangement.

The song is so strong that it more than compensates for that record’s only shortcoming.

“Forgiving You Was Easy” gets a B+

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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    • I had that reaction the first time I heard, “I may hate myself in the morning, but I’m gonna love you tonight.” So obvious, yet never said that way before. (And very quickly converted into a college drunk dial for “Need You Now.”)

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