Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: The Oak Ridge Boys, “This Crazy Love”

“This Crazy Love”

The Oak Ridge Boys

Written by James Dean Hicks and Roger Murrah


#1 (1 week)

September 19, 1987

William Lee Golden had exited the Oak Ridge Boys lineup by the time “This Crazy Love” topped the Billboard singles chart. As the final single released from his last album with the quartet during their hitmaking run, this is the last time we’ll hear his voice on one of their chart-topping singles.

Maybe that’s what holds this record back just a little bit, because for the most part, the Oaks deliver at their usual level. The lyric is sharp and sophisticated, the harmonies are beautifully layered, and the fresh vitality of Jimmy Bowen’s co-production has them sounding as current and relevant as the latest wave of stars hitting the radio at the time.

But it does sound like they’re holding back, and it works slightly against the grain of the lyric, which celebrates the reckless abandon inspired by feelings of love.  There’s a joy to their work that’s missing here, and boy will it be back when we cover the relentlessly infectious hit that returns them to the top with their new group member.

“This Crazy Love” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

Previous: Foster & Lloyd, “Crazy Over You” |

Next: Eddy Raven, “Shine, Shine, Shine”

Open in Spotify


  1. When this song was released, I thought maybe the act was getting stale but after discovering the personnel issues the group was experiencing, I revised my opinion. Replacing Golden with Sanders re-energized the group for a while.

    I don’t think even a more spirited effort would have improved this song by much.

  2. I didn’t remember this song at all. If I ever heard it before, I don’t recall it. I wasn’t expecting much based on the song title–and coming from this Oaks’ era which I recall as being uninspired–but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s not among the best of their catalog, but they pulled off a contemporary (for its time) production which jumped out at me from the solid opening guitar notes, and the harmonies were as strong as ever. At least on my first listen, the lyrics were merely serviceable and the arrangement doesn’t take it anywhere particularly memorable in comparison to several recent #1s in this feature, but I still liked this one quite a bit more than I expected I would.

    Grade: B

  3. Just like Conway Twitty recently did with his hit “Julia,” the Oak Ridge Boys sound poised, and well positioned, to stay relevant on country radio with this more contemporary sounding Jimmy Bowen led production style.

    I agree that the joyful spark, however, is missing from this hit. It feels somewhat rote and formulaic, aloof even.

    It sounds cool, but it isn’t quite channelling all the charms and warmth of the previous Oak Ridge Boys’ hits.

    For the first time, the quartet sounds self-conscious, too aware of themselves.

    Or possibly tired of it all.

    Maybe the Alabama effect finally got to the Oaks as well?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

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