Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: George Strait, “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her”

“Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her”

George Strait

Written by Dean Dillon

Radio & Records

#1 (2 weeks)

July 11 – July 18, 1986


#1 (1 week)

August 2, 1986

Dean Dillon and George Strait made for a great team over the years.  Dillon’s idiosyncratic writing style was a perfect match for Strait’s sophisticated interpretive skills.  Put another way, Dillon wrote some weird songs and Strait understood them well enough to translate them for mainstream audiences.

“Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her” is a mealy mouthful, but Strait sings it with smooth sincerity, infusing the verbose chorus with some heartfelt heartbreak.  It makes an awkward framing device pay off, as Strait delivers the punchline with panache: “Even my heart was smart enough to stay behind.”

There’s still not quite enough song here.  The verses meander with generic sentiments, which makes the more memorable chorus do more of the heavy lifting than it can handle.  The song stays in one groove throughout, where it could’ve used a bit more variance in tone.

They have much better collaborations on the horizon, but George Strait did as much as could’ve been done with this song.

“Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her” gets a B.


Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. This song shines in my pantheon of Strait hits! It sounds so beautifully country to my ears, it glistens even as it aches. I remember this hit being one of the first songs I specifically wanted to record on to a cassette from the radio. It resonated so strongly with 12 year old me who didn’t know anything about love beyond loving to listen to country music, and the best of it was popping up all over the place right in front of me.

    Country music suddenly felt forward looking and full of promise and possibility.

    Strait continued the subtle magic that began with Reba’s “Whoever’s in New England.” Both that song and this one felt like mine. They belonged to my life and my generation.

    The strong sense of ownership and identity that would drive country music going forward depended upon the emotional connections younger listeners like myself forged with these artists. It felt special, if not out right magical.

    Strait reprises the right and left wordplay from “Lefty’s Gone,” a single from his 1985 album “Something Special” in which he pay tribute to Lefty Frizzell by singing “It ain’t right but Lefty’s Gone.”

    Hmmm. This one is good

  2. I actually think this is one of Strait’s best singles. The melody is beautiful and Strait’s delivery is splendid. I think too much tonal variance would be unnecessary here. I can just picture the narrator sighing to himself about how foolish he was to leave her, and the somewhat-uniform tone conveys that well.

  3. …even though, this one is not one of the songs of his that i appreciate the most from his terrific catalogue of hits, it always makes me smile when i listen to it. i just find it a little hard, yet amusing, to connect the strait laced mr. strait with “burning desire”. but the rest of it is first class country music.

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