This Post is the first of a 6 Part Series I will be doing titled, “80’s Rewind”. The next 5 posts to be included in this series will cover; 80’s Tv Shows, 80’s Music, 80’s Toys, 80’s Movies, and 80’s the Era. I hope that you will Subscribe to my Page so that you won’t miss this Series continuance.
As a child of the 80’s, I listened to many great Country songs. Being only 5, I never really appreciated the words that were in the lyrics. As I grew older, the Lyrics became; my escape from reality, my way to convey feelings, and even my comfort. I grew up idealizing Dolly Parton, Reba Mcentire , Kenny Rogers, and George Strait. I would feel as though, those Country Artists were apart of my Family. It wasn’t till I was 37, that I found out (Much to my Surprise), that I was related to Country star Dolly Parton. Life has a way of Surprising us all. Please Ride along with me as we Cruise through 80’s Country.
As the 1980s dawned, pop-influenced country music was the dominant style. By the mid-1980s, country music audiences were beginning to tire of country pop. Although some pop-country artists continued to record and release successful songs and albums, the genre, in general, was beginning to suffer. However, by this time, several newcomers were working behind the scenes to reverse this perception.
The year 1986 brought forth several new artists who performed in traditional country styles, such as honky-tonk. This sparked the “new traditionalist” movement or return to traditional country music. Another boom period for newcomers with new traditionalist styles was 1989 when artists such as Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lorrie Morgan, and Travis Tritt had their first big hits.
It was Keith Whitley who was seen as being one of the torchbearers of the new traditionalist movement, thanks to his pure honky-tonk style in the vein of Lefty Frizzell and others, and his star power was set to rise into the 1990s. However, Whitley was a known heavy drinker, and it was alcohol poisoning that ended his life in May 1989, just weeks after a song about triumph over personal demons — “I’m No Stranger to the Rain”—became a huge country hit.
Country music groups and bands continued to rise in popularity during the 1980s. The most successful of the lot was Alabama, a Fort Payne-based band that blended traditional and pop country sounds with southern rock. In 1989, Alabama was named the Artist of the Decade by the Academy of Country Music. By the end of the 1980s, the group had sold more than 24 million albums in the United States.
Ranking just behind Alabama in popularity, as far as groups were concerned, were The Oak Ridge Boys and The Statler Brothers, both four-part harmony groups with Gospel and country-pop stylings. The popularity of those three groups sparked a boom in new groups and bands.
By the end of the 1980s, fans were listening to such acts as Restless Heart and Exile, the latter which previously enjoyed success with the pop hit “Kiss You All Over”. (Wikipedia)
50 essential ’80’s country songs
The 1980s in country music was a surprisingly dynamic decade. Shifts from glittery, pop-friendly cowboy music to neo-traditionalism and back to pop invited artists of many outside genres to participate. Marie Osmond and Ray Charles are two guests that stand out on this list of the best ’80s country songs. Kenny Rogers, Rosanne Cash and Reba McEntire enjoyed their own crossover success, as did one-hit wonders like Sylvia. Alabama did it best, ditching an early pop shine for a more traditional sound, but never abandoning the tricks that brought massive crowds to see them live. Later Clint Black and Garth Brooks would do the same, in their own unique way. (Taste of Country)
The Top 50 Country Songs of the 80’s according to Taste of Country
- John Anderson, “Swingin'” (1983)
- George Jones, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980)
- Randy Travis, “Forever and Ever, Amen” (1987)
- Willie Nelson, “Always on My Mind” (1982)
- Johnny Lee, “Looking for Love” (1980)
- Don Williams, “I Believe in You” (1980)
- Dolly Parton, “9 to 5” (1980)
- Keith Whitley, “When You Say Nothing at All” (1988)
- Kathy Mattea, “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” (1988)
- Kenny Rogers + Dolly Parton, “Islands in the Stream” (1983)
- George Strait, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” (1987)
- Lee Greenwood, “God Bless the U.S.A.” (1984)
- Restless Heart, “I’ll Still Be Loving You” (1987)
- Waylon Jennings, “Theme From the ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ (Good Ol’ Boys)” (1980)
- Conway Twitty, “I’d Love to Lay You Down” (1980)
- The Oak Ridge Boys, “Elvira” (1981)
- Alabama, “Dixieland Delight” (1983)
- Clint Black, “Killin’ Time” (1989)
- The Judds, “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Ole Days)” (1986)
- Hank Williams Jr., “A Country Boy Can Survive” (1982)
- Rosanne Cash, “Seven Year Ache” (1981)
- Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “Fishin’ in the Dark” (1987)
- Juice Newton, “Queen of Hearts” (1981)
- Dwight Yoakam, “Guitars, Cadillacs” (1986)
- Ray Charles + Willie Nelson, “Seven Spanish Angels” (1984)
- Barbara Mandrell, “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” (1981)
- Anne Murray, “Could I Have This Dance” (1980)
- Dan Seals, “Bop” (1985)
- Ronnie Milsap, “Smoky Mountain Rain” (1980
- Eddie Rabbitt, “I Love a Rainy Night” (1980)
- Mel McDaniel, “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On” (1984)
- Shenandoah, “The Church on Cumberland Road” (1989)
- Steve Earle, “Copperhead Road” (1988) became a rock hit and then a big club hit. That’s where you’re guaranteed to hear it today — it’s part of Line Dancing 101, despite some pretty salty lyrics about moonshine, the Vietnam War and growing marijuana.
- The Bellamy Brothers, “Redneck Girl” (1982)
- Reba McEntire, “Whoever’s in New England” (1986) One could argue this is the most important song in Reba McEntire’s catalog (although that’s sure to be a lengthy discussion), as it took her from being a star to superstar. Grammy Awards and a CMA Entertainer of the Year award would come after this 1986 lyric about a wife doing her best to be loyal to a man she knows is cheating. “Whoever’s in New England” is also thought to be her first music video, a medium she would use with surgical effectiveness over the next decade.
- Sylvia, “Nobody” (1982)
- Kenny Rogers, “Lady” (1980)
- Eddie Rabbitt + Crystal Gayle, “You and I” (1982)
- The Highwaymen, “Highwayman” (1985)
- Dan Seals + Marie Osmond, “Meet Me in Montana” (1985)
- Ricky Skaggs, “Country Boy” (1985)
- K.T. Oslin, “Do Ya” (1987)
- Vern Gosdin, “Set ‘Em Up Joe” (1987)
- Ricky Van Shelton, “I’ll Leave This World Loving You”
- Holly Dunn, “Daddy’s Hands” (1986)
- Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris, “To Know Him Is to Love Him” (1987)
- Emmylou Harris, “Beneath Still Waters” (1980)
- Garth Brooks, “If Tomorrow Never Comes” (1989)
- Rodney Crowell, “She’s Crazy for Leavin” (1988)
- Exile, “Woke Up in Love” (1983)
I made a Playlist though Youtube with all of those songs on it in order for your listening pleasure.
Country Music Milestones of the 1980s
- Dec. 19, 1980: Dolly Parton makes her movie debut in 9 to 5. A story of three working women seeking revenge on their boss, the film also starred Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dabney Coleman. The Movie became a major box office hit.
If you would like to Purchase this wonderful Movie, please click the link below. https://www.amazon.com/9-5-Jane-Fonda/dp/B005SAYWD8/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=9+to+5&qid=1555268345&s=movies-tv&sr=1-1
- May 23, 1981: Rosanne Cash’s “Seven Year Ache” becomes her first No. 1 song. The song, written by Cash, was the title track of and debut single from her third studio album.
To Purchase this album for yourself, click the link. https://www.amazon.com/Seven-Year-Ache-Rosanne-Cash/dp/B00138H45M/ref=sr_1_fkmr1_1?keywords=Rosanne+Cash%27s+%22Seven+Year+Ache%22+albums&qid=1555268256&s=dmusic&sr=1-1-fkmr1
- Aug. 28, 1982: George Strait earns his first No. 1 song. “Fool Hearted Memory” was Strait’s fourth career single; it was written by Byron Hill and Blake Mevis, and was penned for a movie titled The Soldier
Jan. 8, 1983: “Can’t Even Get the Blues” becomes Reba McEntire’s first No. 1 song. It was written by Tom Damphier and Rick Carnes, and was being considered for Jacky Ward, another artist on Mercury; McEntire argued with her producer, Jerry Kennedy, over the right to include the track on her own new record.
To Purchase these great Single, click the link. https://www.amazon.com/Cant-Even-Get-Blues-More/dp/B0047BVKUM
To purchase Reba’s Greatest Hits Album,https://www.amazon.com/50-Greatest-Hits-Reba-McEntire/dp/B07KLNH7N3/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=reba+greatest+hits+albums&qid=1555268165&s=dmusic&sr=1-1
- Dec. 6, 1984: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson record “Highwayman.” The song became the title track of their gold-certified freshman album together, and their supergroup’s namesake; it went to No. 1 in August of 1985.
To purchase this Album, click the following link. https://www.amazon.com/Highwayman-Highwaymen/dp/B00136S1F6/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Highwaymen+Album&qid=1555267976&s=dmusic&sr=1-1
- Dec. 22, 1984: The Judds hit No. 1 with their debut single “Why Not Me.” The song is the title track of their platinum-selling first album.
To buy this Album, click this link. https://www.amazon.com/Why-Not-Me-Judds/dp/B0013TW3JS/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=The+Judds+why+not+me+Album&qid=1555267930&s=dmusic&sr=1-1-catcorr
- July 30, 1985: Alabama becomes the first country act to earn a quadruple-platinum album. The trio actually did it twice at once: with their 1981 album Feels So Right and 1982’s Mountain Music.
To Purchase this Amazing Album, click the link. https://www.amazon.com/Feels-So-Right-Alabama/dp/B00138KDGO/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Alabama+Feels+so+right+Album&qid=1555267829&s=dmusic&sr=1-1-catcorr
- June 6, 1986: Randy Travis releases his debut album, Storms of Life. The disc includes a re-release of Travis’ first chart-topping single, “On the Other Hand,” as well as “Diggin’ Up Bones” and “No Place Like Home,” two additional No. 1 hits for Travis.
- July 26, 1986: Randy Travis‘ “On the Other Hand” becomes his first No. 1 single. Written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, the song comes from Travis’ first album, Storms of Life.
To purchase this Album please click the link below. https://www.amazon.com/Storms-Life-Randy-Travis/dp/B0024XVWNU/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Randy+Travis+Storms+of+Life+Album&qid=1555267743&s=dmusic&sr=1-1-catcorr
- March 2, 1987: Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt release Trio. The project was produced by George Massenburg; it became a No. 1 album for the women and has been certified multi-platinum. It also won two Grammy Awards and spawned four hit singles, including their remake of the Phil Spector song “To Know Him Is to Love Him,” which was a No. 1 hit.
If you would like to purchase this Album, click the following link. https://www.amazon.com/Complete-Trio-Collection-Deluxe/dp/B01CKE91QW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Trio+Album&qid=1555267671&s=dmusic&sr=1-1
- April 8, 1989: Keith Whitley’s “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” hits No. 1. It will be the final chart-topper of his life.
- May 2, 1989: Clint Black releases his debut album, Killin’ Time. It was certified gold in September of that year.
To purchase this Album, click the link. https://www.amazon.com/Killin-Time-Clint-Black/dp/B001DDL0K2/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Clint+black+killin+time+Album&qid=1555267515&s=dmusic&sr=1-1-catcorr
- May 9, 1989: Keith Whitley dies at 34 years of age. His cause of death was determined to be alcohol poisoning.
- Sept. 9, 1989: Keith Whitley’s “I Wonder Do You Think of Me” hits No. 1. It was his first single to go to the top of the charts following his death.
Whitley’s haunting and emotional voice represented the resurgence of the traditional sound on mainstream country radio. His bluegrass roots and love for honky-tonk music led to his unique, drawling style that continues to inspire and influence today’s country music artists. (Bluegrass today)
If you would like to buy this Album please click the link. https://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Do-You-Think-Me/dp/B07DP5VQHP/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Keith+Whitley%27s+%22I+Wonder+Do+You+Think+of+Me%22+album&qid=1555267391&s=dmusic&sr=1-1-catcorr
- Dec. 9, 1989: Garth Brooks’ “If Tomorrow Never Comes” hits No. 1. Brooks co-wrote the song with Kent Blazy for his self-titled freshman album.
All of the above Bullet and dated information was taken from an article written by, The Boot.
If you would like to hear more 80’s Country hits, you can listen live to iHeartCountry 80s Radio. https://www.iheart.com/live/iheartcountry-80s-radio-6836/
if you prefer Tune in: listen to 181 Fm 80’s Country on Tune in Radio. https://tunein.com/radio/181FM-80s-Country-s216081/
Works Cited in today’s Post:
“1980s In Music.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Apr. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1980s_in_music#Country_music.
Billydukesgmail-Com. “50 Essential ’80s Country Songs.” Taste of Country, 8 Jan. 2019, tasteofcountry.com/best-80s-country-songs/.
Thompson, Richard. “Keith Whitley Exhibition Coming to Country Music Hall of Fame.” Bluegrass Today, 12 Apr. 2019, bluegrasstoday.com/keith-whitley-exhibition-coming-to-country-music-hall-of-fame/.
Ahh! What a wonderful Cruise we have endured! I hope these hits took you back to a Happier time in your life. I know it did for me. If you enjoyed