Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Eddie Rabbitt and Juice Newton, “Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)”

“Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)”

Eddie Rabbitt and Juice Newton

Written by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

September 12, 1986


#1 (1 week)

October 11, 1986

Let’s start with a little backstory.

“Friends and Lovers” was originally performed and recorded by Gloria Loring and Carl Anderson in 1985.  At the time, Loring was a popular cast member of Days of Our Lives, and she performed the song on the daily soap opera.  However, they couldn’t find a label to release it until it was covered by Eddie Rabbitt and Juice Newton on Rabbitt Trax, a Rabbitt album that produced four top ten singles, including this one No. 1 hit.

Once Rabbitt and Newton had a hit with the slightly retitled “Both For Each Other (Friends and Lovers),” Loring and Anderson’s version was released and became a major pop and AC hit, spending two weeks at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and two weeks atop the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

It’s a sign of how much the crossover market for country had fallen that two previous AC stalwarts like Rabbitt and Newton couldn’t get any traction outside of country radio with their version of this song.  Market conditions certainly didn’t help, but a larger factor might have been just how much the Rabbitt & Newton version pales in comparison to the Loring & Anderson original.  This is meant to be a smooth R&B song, and Loring and Anderson understood the assignment.

Rabbitt and Newton, on the other hand, give clunky and poorly calibrated performances, emphasizing the wrong lines and sounding at times like they’re in some junior high talent show sing off.  Or maybe a primitive early version of VH1 Divas Live!   These artists had their biggest crossover success by pairing strong vocal performances with catchy pop hooks.  They forgot both lessons here.

What a shame that this is Newton’s final trip to the top.  We’ll see Rabbitt again, though his final No. 1 single can be found as one of the earliest entries in our Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties feature.

“Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)” gets a D. 

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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Next: Tanya Tucker, “Just Another Love”

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1 Comment

  1. In my mind, this song, which is somehow both turgid and timid, always keeps company with the vastly superior “Making Up for Lost Time,” the duet between Gary Morris and Crystal Gayle. They hang together for me as the ’80s country soap opera songs.

    Even at the top of the charts, you can feel the wheels rattling off the Nashville wagon with this one. This song just doesn’t work.

    As with T.G.Sheppard, Ronnie Milsap, and now Juice Newton and Eddie Rabbit, it feels like that despite their recent respective successes, these top stars somehow already know they are unlikely to find the top of the charts again doing the same tentative things.

    For many music veterans, the winds of change have blown open the pasture gates. An industry increasingly focused on marketing music to a new and younger audience is eager to see the old timers out there so they can lock and bolt the gate behind them.

    Elsewhere in Nashville, the doors of opportunity that have been swung wide to welcome new artists and fans to town are about to be blown off their hinges.

    It’s an exciting time for some, but also uncomfortable and threatening time for others, in Nashville.

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