Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Don Williams, “Then it’s Love”

“Then It’s Love”

Don Williams

Written by Dennis Linde

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

December 12, 1986

The third straight No. 1 single from Don Williams’ New Moves album was also his final No. 1 single of the eighties.

“Then It’s Love” is a jaunty track penned by Dennis Linde, and some of his signature weirdness emerges in its arrangement.  There are some doo wop flourishes and surprising tempo changes that make the record more memorable than it would’ve been off of the strength of its lyrics.

That’s where things fall down the most, as the songwriting is clunky and derivative of the much stronger “Love is Alive” that the Judds took to No. 1 a year earlier. Linde’s composition goes for the same idea but can’t deliver on it.  The Judds and Don Williams both tried to illustrate that love can’t be defined, but the mother-daughter duo’s hit managed to give a pretty good working definition for love through its use of specificity and memorable visual images.

I’m sure it served the purpose of lightening up Don’s concerts, which had to accommodate many deep and thoughtful ballads.  As a standalone single, it’s not up to his usual standard.

Williams remained a radio staple for the remainder of the decade, with his next nine singles all going top ten.  He returned to No. 1 for a final time in the nineties, and you can read about that record here.

“Then It’s Love” gets a B.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Michael Johnson, “Give Me Wings” |

Next: Conway Twitty, “Fallin’ For You For Years”

Open in Spotify

1 Comment

  1. I have always liked the sprightly bounce to this single with all its rhythmic stops and starts. The Oak Ridge Boys would have had a field day with it, no?

    That being said, Don Williams acquits himself honorably here with a song that is well outside his stylistic wheelhouse.

    It is revealing just how consistently strong Williams’ output was that even a single Kevin feels is not up the The Gentle Giant’s usual standard still earns a “B.”

    Don Williams was pure country gold.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.