My Kind of Country

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

Favorite Country Songs Of The 80s: Part 6

Here are some more songs from the 1980s that I liked and remember. See if you recall any of these records:

Memory Machine“– Jack Quist
This 1982 song about a jukebox reached #52. I don’t know anything about Jack Quist other than that he originally was from Salt Lake City, but I am familiar with the song’s writer Ted Harris as he wrote such classics as “Paper Mansions” and “Crystal Chandeliers”.

eddie rabbittOn Second Thought” – Eddie Rabbitt
Released in 1989, this song peaked at #1 in early 1990. This was Eddie’s most traditional sounding hit and my favorite of all of Eddie’s recordings.

Don’t It Make Ya Wanna Dance” – Bonnie Raitt
This song was from the soundtrack of Urban Cowboy and reached #42.

Right Hand Man” – Eddy Raven

Eddy had sixteen consecutive top ten records from 1984-1989. This song is my favorite although it only reached #3. Eddy would have five #1 records during the decade with “Joe Knows How To Live” and “Bayou Boys” being the biggest hits.

She Got The Goldmine (I Got The Shaft)” - Jerry Reed
There are few artists that could get away with recording a song with such a title but Jerry Reed was that one of a kind who could. The song reached #1 in 1982, one of Jerry’s few #1 records. There are those who consider Jerry to have been the best guitar player ever (Chet Atkins among them). Jerry passed away a few years ago perhaps depriving the genre of its greatest all-around talent.

Have You Ever Been Lonely”– Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline
Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline never recorded together when they were alive (Jim died in 1964, Patsy in 1963 – both in small airplane crashes). Someone came up with the (ghoulish) idea to find songs that they sang in the same keys and tempos and crafted them into “duets”. This one peaked at #5 in early 1982 and the follow-up “I Fall To Pieces” reached #54 that same year. RCA also created some other Jim Reeves duets by having Deborah Allen’s voice overdubbed onto existing Jim Reeves recordings – this resulted in three top ten singles in 1979 and 1980.

I Want Everyone To Cry” – Restless Heart
My favorite recording by Restless Heart, the song only reached #10 in 1986 but it was followed by a long string of bigger, if rather soulless, hits. The song was the group’s second top ten country hit (there would be fifteen total).

Let’s Do Something Cheap and Superficial” – Burt Reynolds
From the 1980 film Smokey and The Bandit II. This reached #51 in 1980.

Some Memories Just Won’t Die” – Marty Robbins
This was Marty’s last top ten record before his death, at age 57, on December 8, 1982. There would be one more top ten after his death with “Honky Tonk Man” from the Clint Eastwood movie of the same name. A very versatile artist, Marty had hits with western songs, Hawaiian songs, rock and roll songs, pop standards, honky-tonk songs and Spanish/Mexican flavored songs. The final tally – 94 charted country hits (47 reaching the top ten with his 16 #1 records spending a total of 63 weeks at #1) and 31 charted pop hits.

My Toot Toot” – Rockin’ Sidney
I don’t regard this as a country record, but Zydeco/Cajun really don’t fit anywhere in the pop spectrum, and a lot of people (myself included) liked this record so it reached #19 on the country charts in 1985.
Country artist Jimmy C. Newman also recorded the song and has had it in his stage show for decades, so I suppose we can consider it country.

Foolin’” – Johnny Rodriguez
After a torrid run in from 1972-1979, Johnny’s career had cooled considerably but in 1980 it looked almost dead as the three prior singles stiffed reaching 73 – 66 – 89. Released in February 1983, this record reached #4, his first top ten record in four years. The follow-up “How Could I Love Her So Much” also reached the top ten, but after that it was back on the downhill slide.

Radio Romance” – Tommy Roe
Yes, this is the same Tommy Roe who had monster pop hits in the 1960s and 1970s with “Sheila”, “Sweet Pea” and “Dizzy”. After his pop career cooled off, Tommy tried his hand at country. This song reached #51 on the country charts in 1986.

Coward of The County”– Kenny Rogers
Kenny’s recording of the Billy Edd Wheeler-Roger Bowling classic reached #1 in early 1980. Kenny had enormous success during the 1970s and 1980s.

Ride Concrete Cowboy, Ride” – Roy Rogers with the Sons of The Pioneers
Another song from Smokey and The Bandit II, this song would be the last chart appearance for the Sons of The Pioneers, reaching #80 in 1980. Roy would have one more chart record left in him, 1991’s “Hold On Partner” with Clint Black.

Sometimes You Just Can’t Win” – Linda Ronstadt and John David Souther
Linda and JD cover a song George Jones charted with in 1962 and 1971, and do a nice job of it. The song reached#27 in 1982.

Wasn’t That A Party” – The Rovers
This Canadian group, all of whom were born in Ireland, spent most of their career, both before and after this song as the Irish Rovers, a truly legendary Irish folk act with many hits around the globe. This recording of a Tom Paxton song reached #45 on the country charts, #27 on the pop charts and charted in various places around the world, reaching #1 on various charts.

“I Miss You Already” – Billy Joe Royal
Tommy Roe and Billy Joe Royal both came from the Atlanta area so it was logical for them to turn to country music when their pop careers cooled off. Starting with 1985’s “Burned Like A Rocket” (which had the bad luck to be in release at the time that the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred), Billy Joe put together a fifteen song string of country hits. This song was a cover of a Faron Young hit from 1957 and reached #14.

Song of The South” – Johnny Russell
The first single of this song reached #57 in 1980 for Russell. The song was covered by Tom T Hall & Earl Scruggs in 1982, and in 1989 by Alabama.

Leona” – Sawyer Brown
It’s light-weight fluff, but it’s well executed light-weight fluff. This is the song that kicked off the recording career of the former Don King Road Band. This song would only reach #16 in 1984, but many bigger hits would follow. Sawyer Brown had sixteen charted hits during the 1980s including their first #1 with their next single “Step That Step”.

“Dallas Darlin’ “ – Norm Schaffer
I’ve met Norm on several occasions, a decent singer who performs around The Villages, FL area and serves as a pastor at a church. This song reached #77 in 1988.

Country Girls” – John Schneider
Yes, this is the guy from Smallville and The Dukes of Hazzard, and yes, he really can sing. For a while there he was running dual careers but his heart was in acting and he gave up the recording career. This song was one of four #1 records for Schneider.

You Can’t Stop Love” – Schuyler, Knoblock & Overstreet (S-K-O)
This record reached #1 in 1987. The act was comprised of three excellent songwriters (Thom Schuyler, Fred Knobloch and Paul Overstreet) performing together in hope of solo careers as singers . Shortly after this record was released Paul Overstreet left leading to …

Givers and Takers” – Schuyler, Knoblock & Bickhardt (S-K-B)
… another songwriter, Craig Bickhardt, being added to the group. S-K-B issued four singles, but this was their only top ten record, reaching #8 in 1988.

earl scruggs tom t hall - storyteller and the banjo manThere Ain’t No Country Music On This Jukebox” – Earl Scruggs and Tom T Hall
One of two singles released the their great album The Storyteller And The Banjo Man. This song reached #77 in 1982 but the title remains as true today as it was then, only more so.

Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold” – Dan Seals
This 1986 song was one of eleven #1 songs Seals had between 1985 and 1990. The production on all of Dan’s records is a bit dated, but he had the knack of picking good lyrics.

Until The Bitter End” – Kenny Serratt
Kenny was discovered by Merle Haggard’s brother Lowell. Kenny is a fine singer, but he came around just as Nashville was going through its ‘Outlaw’ phase so there wasn’t much interest in him at the time. This song reached #39 in 1980, Kenny’s biggest hit of eleven charted singles. He really is a very fine singer, so if you find anything by him, you should purchase it.

“I Bought The Shoes That Just Walked Out On Me” – Ronnie Sessions
Ronnie hadn’t charted since 1979 when this 1986 single made a surprise appearance on the charts reaching #78 in early 1987.

From A Jack To A King” – Ricky Van Shelton
I miss having Ricky Van Shelton being played on the radio. I liked almost all of his recorded output, but this 1989 cover of the Ned Miller classic is my favorite of his ten #1 records.

Mama Knows” – Shenandoah
Of all the country groups of the 1980s and 1990, Shenandoah was my favorite. I liked their song selection, and their lead vocalist, Marty Raybon, was outstanding. This record reached #5 in 1988. Shenandoah’s career was almost derailed over litigation concerning the group’s name. After reaching settlement, another vocal group emerged which was using a name that Shenandoah had considered using and for which they owned the rights. Rather than put another group through the agony they had gone through, they ceded the name over to the other group – Diamond Rio.

Finally” – T. G. Sheppard
He worked for Elvis, sang background for Travis Wammack, and eventually emerged with a solo career worth noting, racking up 42 chart singles from 1974-1991. This 1982 single was one of fourteen #1 record racked up by Sheppard.

5 responses to “Favorite Country Songs Of The 80s: Part 6

  1. Michael A. April 9, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Another great write up, Paul. I didn’t know about the Diamond Rio/Shenandoah connection or, if I did read about it at one time, I definitely forgot it.

    I had never heard “She Got the Goldmine” until a few weeks ago when it was played on the Sunday morning classics show on the country station here in Los Angeles. Love it. I almost always try to hit the gym or go for a run between 8 AM and noon on Sundays just so I can just turn my iPod to that radio station and leave it. It’s nothing but songs from the 60s – 90s and it’s the only time I’m not changing the radio station every other song.

    I think I remember you commenting once how the 80s wasn’t one of your favorite periods in country music and it was going to be difficult to come up with an in depth list, but it seems like you’ve done quite well. Any chance you would challenge yourself and venture into the 90s? I’d love to be reminded of some obscure favorites from that decade!

    • Ben Foster April 10, 2013 at 3:18 pm

      I second Michael’s request for a nineties edition. I’m quite a bit curious to see how much overlap there is between our respective tastes in nineties country music.

  2. Razor X April 9, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    I remember and like most of these. I particularly liked “Have You Ever Been Lonely (Have You Ever Been Blue”, “On Second Thought” and “Some Memories Just Won’t Die”. “My Toot-Toot”, not so much. ;) Nice job as always, Paul.

  3. Ben Foster April 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I so love “She God the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft),” as much for Reed’s performance as for the song itself. I’m also a big fan of “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold),” and I do enjoy “Have You Ever Been Lonely,” mainly just for the thrill of hearing those two legendary voices paired together.

  4. Michelle April 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    “Coward Of The County” is one of my all time favourite songs. and I also love “From A Jack To A King” Ricky Van Shelton was a wonderful talent and I miss him too.

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