My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Classic #2’s

merle-haggardAs was noted in some of the recent discussions here, chart position is not necessarily indicative of a song’s quality. A lot of #1 hits are forgotten as soon as they drop off the charts, while other songs that didn’t reach the top have more staying power. In fact, we’re often surprised, years down the road, to learn that songs like Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” only reached #12 or that Reba McEntire’s “Fancy” peaked at #8 — or that George Jones’ “A Picture Of Me (Without You)” stalled at #5. In fact, it’s quite surprising to learn that George Jones, despite having had his first chart hit in 1955 and his last in 2002, only reached the #1 spot 14 times.

Even though we know we shouldn’t get too hung up on chart positions, I imagine that it must be frustrating for artists to have a record peak at #2. I know it would drive me crazy if I were a recording artist. It happened to our current spotlight artist Tanya Tucker a number of times, with songs such as:

  • I’ll Come Back As Another Woman (1986)
  • Love Me Like You Used To (1987)
  • Highway Robbery (1988)
  • My Arms Stay Open All Night (1989)
  • Down To My Last Teardrop (1991)
  • (Without You) What Do I Do With Me(1991)
  • Two Sparrows In A Hurricane (1992)
  • It’s A Little Too Late (1992)
  • Soon (1993)

I decided to look up some other artists’ discographies and see how many of their singles reached #2. Here’s what I came up with:

Conway Twitty

  • Darling, You Know I Wouldn’t Lie (1968)
  • Baby’s Gone (1973)
  • Boogie Grass Band (1978)
  • We Did But Now You Don’t (1982)
  • Lost In The Feeling (1983)
  • Fallin’ For You For Years (1986)
  • Julia (1987)
  • I Want To Know You Before We Make Love (1987)
  • She’s Got A Single Thing In Mind (1989)
  • Crazy In Love (1990)

George Jones

  • The Window Up Above (1960)
  • When The Grass Grows Over Me (1968)
  • I’ll Share My World With You (1968)
  • A Good Year For The Roses (1970)
  • Loving You Could Never Be Better (1972)
  • I’m Not Ready Yet (1980)
  • Tennessee Whiskey (1983)
  • She’s My Rock (1984)

Merle Haggard

  • I Threw Away The Rose (1967)
  • Someday We’ll Look Back (1971)
  • If We’re Not Back In Love By Monday (1977)
  • Ramblin’ Fever (1977)
  • I’m Always On A Mountain When I Fall (1978)
  • It’s Been A Great Afternoon (1978)
  • The Way I Am (1980)
  • Are The Good Times Really Over (1982)

George Strait

  • True (1998)
  • Go On (2000)
  • Run (2001)
  • Cowboys Like Us (2003)
  • Wrapped (2007)

Reba McEntire

  • Walk On (1990)
  • Fallin’ Out of Love (1991)
  • Till You Love Me (1994)
  • And Still (1995)
  • The Fear of Being Alone (1996)
  • I’d Rather Ride Around With You (1997)
  • I’ll Be (2000)
  • Because of You (2007)
  • Cowgirls Don’t Cry (Brooks & Dunn featuring Reba) (2008)

What other songs can you think of that just missed the #1 spot?

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36 responses to “Classic #2’s

  1. Chris June 12, 2009 at 8:38 am

    “Stay” by Sugarland is a big one, it’s still their most recognizable song.

    An even more recent one is Carrie Underwood’s “I Told You So”, it’s her best single too (not saying much though…).

  2. Razor X June 12, 2009 at 9:08 am

    I didn’t realize that Carrie’s song peaked at #2. Interesting that Sony wasn’t able to push it all the way to the top.

  3. Occasional Hope June 12, 2009 at 9:25 am

    I’m always surprised by how few #1s George Jones had, considering how many of his song are now classics.

  4. highwayman3 June 12, 2009 at 11:30 am

    It always surprised me that Shania couldnt have got more number 1’s, considering how popular she was. Even with ‘I’m gonna getcha good’ debuting so high on the charts, it still didnt go no.1 or anything off of ‘Up’ or since then.
    If you compare to Carrie Underwood today, her promo staff could get her singing the phone book to number 1, I dont know why they didnt push Shania in the same way.

  5. Jake June 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Trisha had some too, that i’m suprised only made it to #2 considering their long lasting popularity:
    “Walkaway Joe”(1993)
    “How Do I Live” (1997)
    “In Another’s Eyes” w’ Garth(1997)
    “There Goes My Baby” (1998)

    This isn’t as shocking as the fact “I Would’ve Loved You Anyway” in 2001 was her last Top 10 hit to date!

  6. Paul W Dennis June 12, 2009 at 11:47 am

    “I Ain’t Never” by Webb Pierce got marooned at #2 for nine weeks in 1959 (Cashbox, Billboard’s primary competitor during the 1950’s 60s’ and 70’s, did have the record get to #1)

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  8. Razor X June 12, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Lorrie Morgan’s “Out Of Your Shoes” hit #2 during the third week of December in 1990. It might have gone to #1if it hadn’t been for the timing, but Billboard doesn’t publish a new chart during the last week of the year, and by the time the next chart came out in January, the song had lost its momentum. I think it did go to #1 in Cashbox or Radio & Records.

  9. highwayman3 June 12, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    On Billboards hot country, Lee Ann Womack had ‘The Fool’, ‘You Got To Talk To Me,’ ‘A Little Past Little Rock,’ and ‘I’ll Think Of A Reason Later’ hit No. 2. It’s startling she only had 1 number 1 on that chart, with ‘I Hope You Dance.’

  10. Nicolas June 12, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    “I Could Not Ask for More” and “Perfect” by Sara Evans both peaked at #2

    And “Homewrecker” by Gretchen Wilson

    And several songs by Sugarland: “Baby Girl”, “Something More”, and “Stay”

  11. Razor X June 12, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I’m surprised that “Homewrecker” made it that far. I don’t remember it being that big a hit.

    • Todd June 12, 2009 at 3:38 pm

      I’m surprised too Razor. that is my favorite GW song to date, but I don’t recall hearing it enough to be a top 10 hit even. Gretchen must have really fallen out of favor with my local stations by that point!

  12. Paul W Dennis June 13, 2009 at 12:27 am

    Kitty Wells probably has the Champion of #2 hit songs. “Making Believe” reached #2 in 1955b and was there for fifteen (15) weeks

  13. Blake Boldt June 13, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Adding to the Trisha list, “The Song Remembers When” (her best song, imo) also peaked at No. 2.

    • Jake June 13, 2009 at 11:43 am

      I must’ve missed that one. One thing that suprises me more than that not reaching Number One considering how great it is, is that I don’t think I can remember having heard that song on the radio in the past 5-6 years!

    • Ben Foster May 28, 2010 at 9:38 pm

      I didn’t think of that one, but I’m glad you mentioned it. I totally agree with you. That is a beautiful song, and definitely one of Trisha’s best. The song’s lyrics are a testament to the power of country music in bringing back memories (At least I like to think she’s talking about a country song), and her amazing performance is full of emotion and sincerity.

  14. Paul W Dennis June 13, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Probably the most famous #2 was “The End of The World” by Skeeter Davis . It was @2 for three weeks on the country chart, #2 on Billboard’s pop chart and reached #1 in a number of other countries

  15. Blake Boldt June 16, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Best song of the ’00s: “Long Time Gone,” Dixie Chicks, a No. 2 hit in 2002.

    • Ben Foster May 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm

      I agree again. “Long Timge Gone” was a perfect marriage of clever lyrics, top-notch instrumentation, and fantastic vocals. One of my favorites. They even namechecked a few legends!

  16. Big Al June 16, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Ray Price had some big, big hits that stalled at #2, including:

    I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)
    Heartache By The Numbers
    One More Time
    Make The World Go Away
    Burning Memories
    Other Woman (In My Life)
    I’d Rather Be Sorry
    Lonesomest Lonesome

  17. Michael June 16, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    My curiousity definitely got the best of me on this one. Here are a few that surprised me, either because I thought some of these were number ones or because some artists have a ton of #2 hits.

    Dwight Yoakam
    A Thousand Miles From Nowhere
    Ain’t That Lonely Yet

    Mary Chapin Carpenter
    Down at the Twist & Shout
    He Thinks He’ll Keep Her
    I Take My Chances

    Kenny Chesney
    Me and You
    When I Close My Eyes
    That’s Why I’m Here
    Young
    Big Star
    No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem
    I Go Back
    The Woman With You
    Who You’d Be Today
    Shiftwork

    Diamond Rio
    Norma Jean Riley
    In a Week or Two
    Love a Little Stronger
    Walkin’ Away
    Unbelievable

    Randy Travis
    No Place Like Home
    He Walked On Water
    Better Class of Losers
    Before You Kill Us All
    Out of My Bones

    Alabama
    Here We Are
    Born Country
    Take a Little Trip
    She Ain’t Your Ordinary Girl
    Sad Lookin’ Moon
    How Do You Fall In Love

    Garth Brooks
    Not Counting You
    Learning To Live Again
    Callin’ Baton Rouge
    She’s Gonna Make It

    Clint Black
    We Tell Ourselves
    A Bad Goodbye
    State of Mind
    One Emotion
    Something That We Do

    Vince Gill
    When I Call Your Name
    Take Your Memory With You
    Whenever You Come Around
    What the Cowgirls Do
    You’d Better Think Twice
    Pretty Little Adriana
    A Little More Love

    Trace Adkins
    I Left Something Turned On At Home
    Songs About Me
    Honkytonk Badonkadonk

    John Anderson
    Seminole Wind

    Gary Allan
    Watching Airplanes

    Tim McGraw
    Down on the Farm
    Can’t Be Really Gone
    One of These Days
    For a Little While
    She’s My Kind of Rain
    Let It Go

    Alan Jackson
    Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow
    Mercury Blues (famously)
    Who’s Cheatin’ Who
    Between the Devil and Me (LOVE that one!)
    That’d Be Alright

    Toby Keith
    A Little Less Talk
    Wish I Didn’t Know Now
    You Ain’t Much Fun
    Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You
    We Were In Love
    I’m So Happy I Can’t Stop Crying
    A Little Too Late

    Kathy Mattea
    She Came From Fort Worth

    Collin Raye
    Every Second
    Little Rock
    One Boy, One Girl
    On the Verge
    What the Heart Wants

    • Razor X June 16, 2009 at 9:21 pm

      I could have sworn that quite a few of those had made it to #1.

      • Michael June 17, 2009 at 1:47 am

        Same here. Some were so forgettable though that I’m surprised they even reached #2. Also checked out Brooks & Dunn and they’ve racked up six #2’s.

  18. Dodge R/T June 18, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Steve Wariner
    “Baby I’m Yours” -1988
    “I Should Be with You” – 1988
    “Holes in the Floor of Heaven” – 1998 (Steve’s comeback hit)
    “Two Teardrops” – 1999

    David Ball
    “Thinkin’ Problem – 1994
    “Riding with Private Malone” – 2001

  19. Razor X June 22, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Another surprise: Loretta Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man) peaked at #2. This didn’t happen to Loretta as often as it did to some other arists. The only other #2’s among her solo singles are “You Just Stepped In (From Stepping Out On Me)” and “When The Tingle Becomes A Chill”.

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  21. Benny May 27, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” is a big one that hasn’t been mentioned here..

    • Ben Foster May 28, 2010 at 9:42 pm

      Somehow, that song slipped my mind as well! How could I have forgotten Patsy’s “Crazy”? It’s surprising how some of the best-known country classics missed number one, though “Crazy” certainly deserved to be a number-one hit.

  22. Ben Foster May 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    When I think of great country classics that stalled at #2, Loretty Lynn’s “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man” springs instantly to mind. I was shocked to see that it was not included on this list. But the fact that it missed the top spot didn’t stop it from becoming a cherished classic, and one of Loretta’s signature hits.

  23. David January 15, 2011 at 4:56 am

    Other country singers with # 2 singles are Lee Roy Parnell, “what Kind Of Fool Do You Think I am”, Tender Moment, and alittle Bit of You. all three would have easily topped the Billboard singles charts had the chart system not been changed to BDS in 1990. Hal Ketchum’s Small Town Saturday Night, Past The Point Of Rescue, and Hearts Are Gonna Roll all stopped at # 2. They would have and should have been #1 hits for Hal.

    • bob January 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      David, As a fan of Hal and Lee Roy I couldn’t agree with you more. Hal had to quit a tour this past September due to illness. Hope he’s doing better now.

      I enjoyed this article very much even though most of the artists I like best were mentioned by those commenting.

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