Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Juice Newton, “You Make Me Want to Make You Mine”

“You Make Me Want to Make You Mine”

Juice Newton

Written by Dave Loggins


#1 (1 week)

October 19, 1985

After two successful albums that impacted the pop, country, and adult contemporary charts, Juice Newton faltered at all three formats with Dirty Looks, which failed to produce a top forty country hit.  Only lead single, ‘Tell Her No,” made much of an impact, reaching the top fifteen of the AC chart and the top thirty of the pop chart.

To Newton’s credit, she regrouped by focusing on the format that had least embraced the project.  She went full country with Old Flame, and was rewarded with two No. 1 country hits.  

The first, “You Make Me Want to Make You Mine,” foreshadows the genius of Shania Twain that was still a good ten years away: making pop records with country instruments. This is arranged as a sixties pop bop, but the backing track has more twangy instrumentation than anything being put out at the time by those outside the new traditionalist movement. 

The song itself is slight, and lacks the sharp wit and distinctive point of view that made Shania Twain’s work so essential and influential.  But I’ll be damned if I didn’t think that was Mutt Lange chanting the title in the chorus.

Grade: B+ 

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. Signifying nothing, I always assumed this hit was from earlier in the decade.

    I enjoyed this song as a kid. It was simply fun to sing along with.

    As an adult, I appreciate how it fully means into its pop sensibilities while keeping it country.

    This song would have amounted to nothing if it was a fellow fence-sitter like a number of recent chart-toppers that seemed unsure of what genre to promote – or embrace – most.

    This hit withstanding, it has been noticeable how much more confident the artists from earlier in the decade were playing with what could be still be considered a country record.

    The incremental return to traditionalism would cut the still burgeoning ’80s’ pop-country movement off at the roots, and as Dale Watson would later observe, “You can’t grow when you rip your roots out of the ground.”

    Sorry, Dale.

    I don’t think we ever heard pop-country in the ’80s fully come into its own the way it has it later decades.

    • It’s really a decidedly different kind of “pop-country” than from what it became some three decades later.

      And as an aside here, I think that term “pop-country” has been way too overused and, in my opinion, misleadingly so. Since at least 1955, when rock and roll started for real, country music has had to deal with “pop-country” iterations, some of its own creation (the Nashville Sound; countrypolitan), and some from artists who have expertise in both pop and country but who operate well outside Nashville’s parameters (e.g. Linda Ronstadt). What we’ve got now…and this is strictly my opinion…is Corporate Country.

      • I disagree wholeheartedly. I don’t think “corporate country” has ever been less influential than it is right now. Radio and retail aren’t the gatekeepers they used to be, and it’s so much easier for artists to organically grow a fanbase. Radio and major labels simply don’t set the parameters for successful country music anymore. Radio followed the lead of audiences for recent stars like Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, Kane Brown, Kacey Musgraves, and Zach Bryan. They weren’t concocted in some Music Row boardroom, most of which have been downsized or faced foreclosure in recent years.

        Not that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with “corporate country” in the first place. The artists we hold up as the paragons of musical virtue – Ronstadt, like you mention, as well as Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood, etc. – all broke out on corporate-owned labels and made artistic concessions when necessary to remain relevant to contemporary audiences and to have access to radio playlists.

  2. I’ve always found this song so catchy! I love the Old Flame album, my favorite song is Old Flame! 5 top 10s off one album was impressive for the 80s! To bad she couldn’t keep the momentum up with her next album.

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