Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Ronnie Milsap & Kenny Rogers, “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine”

“Make No Mistake, She’s Mine”

Ronnie Milsap & Kenny Rogers

Written by Kim Carnes

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 4, 1987


#1 (1 week)

September 12, 1987

“Make No Mistake, She’s Mine” may not be the worst No. 1 single of the decade, but it sure is the biggest embarrassment.

Two certified superstars, with countless gold and platinum records adorning their walls, combine their talents for an event record that makes “The Boy is Mine” sound dignified in comparison. Not content with just leaving their dignity at the door by recording this in the first place, they add insult to injury by abandoning all restraint in the studio.  They scream like they’re being held at gunpoint, and are still overwhelmed by the orchestral instrumentation in the back.

It may have made it to No. 1 at the time, but in retrospect, this sure does sound like a death rattle for records like this on country radio.

“Make No Mistake, She’s Mine” gets an F.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. I wasn’t expecting an “F” but there’s no question that this song is a massive misfire. Most “event duets” of this pedigree are all too often uninspired and age badly. And they’re often obsolete the second they drop off the charts. Honestly, the only reason I remember this one at all is because I got Ronnie’s “40 #1 Hits” CD in 2000, and just about every time I listen to it, I skip over this song. I have no memory of it at all from 1987.

    The vocal delivery is pretentiously theatrical, especially Kenny who is quite a bit more over the top than Ronnie. The best thing this song has going for it is that it’s an interesting preview of a much better duet coming from Reba McEntire and Linda Davis several years later. But on its merits it’s a huge missed opportunity, undeservingly fueled to the penthouse entirely based on the star power of its leads.

    Grade: D

  2. Dreadful song – I liked Ronnie’s vocals a little more than Kenny’s but the record as a whole is a well deserved “F”

    Hard to believe Kim Carnes wrote this mess

  3. Just chalk it up as a poor first draft of “Does He love You?” focusing on the male perspective of a love triangle?

    The vocals are so unexpectedly uninspired, especially after both artists most recent previous chart toppers. Rogers especially let it rip with “Twenty Years Ago.”

    There is absolutely no intensity or urgency here, no style, skill, or swagger.

    Just two guys singing bout believing the same girl is theirs alone because they say so.

    To my ears and eyes, there is enough lyrically to the song to build a pretty bombastic and belligerent mood and scene, mucky, messy, and dirty,

    Unfortunately, Milsap and Rogers disinterest is reduced further by the limpid strings and pianos, hardly a menacing sonic back-drop for the big emotions at play. Where are the narrators’ vulnerability and self doubt supposed to wrestle with their jealousy and anger?

    Shouldn’t this song sound dangerous and threatening?

    They both lay claim to the same girl with the same apathy and aloofness as would someone saying the hoodie left on the couch last night is mine.

    As I have explicitly identified both Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap as two successful ’80’s stars who chose to stay on the country-pop trail – even after new-traditionalism popped – I hope this is not where their road ends.

    You know that sense of finality when working a big book of mazes with a pencil when your momentum suddenly stops when you take the wrong path and hit a dead-end?

    I wonder if that has happened here.

  4. Kim Carnes wrote this song for Barbra Streisand, who wanted to do a duet with Carnes. In other words, it was written for two females.

    Kenny wanted to do a duet with Ronnie. I believe they may have been touring together. He asked Carnes to write something for them and she offered him this song.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I love this song. I think both singers sounded incredible and their voices blended amazingly well. I would give it a B+.

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