Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Juice Newton, “Hurt”


Juice Newton

Written by Jimmie Crane and Al Jacobs


#1 (1 week)

February 8, 1986

Most of Juice Newton’s biggest hits were covers, largely from the early days of rock and roll.

“Hurt” is no exception.  It was a hit multiple times throughout the years and around the world, and Elvis Presley took it to the top ten of the country chart in 1976.

Much like the Presley version, Newton’s take on the classic ballad goes big.  Against the backdrop of fifties doo-wop backup singers, Newton pushes her vocal chords to the limit, stretching out the notes and using so much power that even Linda Ronstadt might say, “Tone it down a bit, Juice.”

It all works as a nostalgia exercise, as over the top as it is.  She chews slightly less scenery than Elvis did, so that’s something.

Old Flame produced a total of five top ten singles for Newton, but she’d only return once more to that level, earning her final top ten hit in 1988 with “Tell Me True.” Her final major label studio album, 1989’s Ain’t Gonna Cry, included her last top forty country hit, “When Love Comes Around the Bend.”

We will see Newton one more time with a duet that’s coming up shortly.

“Hurt” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. This song has a bit of history as being one of the earliest ballads in rock and roll history, having been first recorded by R&B legend Roy Hamilton in 1954; and then it was a Top Ten pop hit for Timi Yuro in 1961. Elvis’ dramatic version, however, really isn’t “country” in any real way (especially since it was also a #8 Adult Contemporary hit, and #28 hit on the Hot 100 in May 1976); and neither is Juice’s for that matter (IMHO).

  2. Listening to this song now, I can’t help but connect Newton’s performance to what I would later hear with k.d. Lang on her 1988 “Shadowland” album or Mandy Barnett’s eponymous 1996 album.

    Who knows, maybe this song subconsciously set me on my way to adoring Chris Isaak and Raul Malo as vocalists. Gary Morris for that matter.

    I love when a big voice is up to the challenge of big production.

    I like this song a lot more than I thought I did.

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