Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Tanya Tucker with Paul Davis & Paul Overstreet, “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love”

“I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love”

Tanya Tucker with Paul Davis & Paul Overstreet

Written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

January 29, 1988


#1 (1 week)

February 27, 1988

Tanya Tucker’s Girls Like Me album signaled a comeback from Tanya Tucker after many years of less successful projects, and she fully realized her comeback with Love Me Like You Used To, the first of seven straight Tucker releases to be certified gold or higher.

The title track just missed the top spot, which is a shame, since it’s one of her most endearing ballads. “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love” is a solid follow-up, with Tucker providing some much needed grit to the second verse, as Davis and Overstreet take their typical softspoken approach to the first and third verses. Overstreet’s more memorable than Davis, which is fitting given how many solo hits about domestic bliss that Overstreet has on the way.

Sometimes the derivative is better though, and George Strait’s “Love Without End, Amen” does the final verse in heaven so much better two years later. Because we meet a different pair of characters in each verse, the payoff isn’t there when our third request for payment through love comes from God Almighty. The couple in the first verse and the mother and child in the second verse capture the sentiment well enough to make this a great listen anyway, even if I’d gone more of a “Somebody’s Hero” route in the third verse and kept the womanly love theme going all the way through.

“I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love” gets a B+.

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. I agree that too many chefs spoiled the broth a bit in this one. It’s a satisfying if slightly gooey treatment of the formula and it was great having Tanya Tucker making hits again, but Paul Davis’ opening verse really falls flat and stifles the song’s momentum early on. And as you said, we’ve had so many narrators by the time Overstreet’s verse comes that it loses some of its power. On the other hand, if only two narrators were used, I think that would make it even more confusing. By no means a negative review on my part but there had to be a way to make this more coherent. Perhaps a stronger vocalist than Davis in the opening verse could have been the difference.

    Grade: B-

  2. I agree with MarkMinnesota – a stronger vocalist than Paul Davis would have enhanced this song considerably – Capitol had a strong roster of male duet partners available (see Anne Murray’s many duets)

  3. I have apparently inverted Richard Peterson’s dialectic between hard-core and soft-shell country music.

    n fact, I am beginning to wonder if there is a big, soft, and mushy middle right at the center of my hard-core country music shell.

    Really, how many listens to these gentle, quiet, and cozy soft-performances does it take to crack that exterior and get get to the country music equivalent of the tootsie roll centre of a Tootsie Pop?

    I am on board with all three vocalists on this performance.

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