Greetings from Asheville, where good music is always found on the turntable. Today’s Classic 45 is one of the records that contributed to the seismic shift in Country music, that occurred in the 1986-1990 era, where the sound rolled away from the Pop strains back to the traditional styling, courtesy of artists we called “New Traditionalists”. This movement began with the likes of Randy Travis, Dwight Yoakam, and Patty Loveless, to name a few. 1989 would see the list of new acts grow even longer, and one of the most notable names? Clint Black.
Clint debuted early in 1989, with his first single, “A Better Man”. Released by RCA in January, it debuted on Billboard’s February 18th chart, then debuted on the Radio and Records’ March 3rd chart.
Once charted, it made a steady climb up both charts, not stopping until it hit #1 on both; May 19th in Radio and Records, and June 10th in Billboard.
In that era of country music, it was nearly impossible for a new artist to make it to #1 on his or her debut single, in fact, before Clint Black did it, the last time it had happened was way back in 1976, when one-hit wonder Cledus Maggard went to #1 with his novelty hit “White Knight”.
Clint co-wrote the song with Hayden Nicholas. The song was based on a failed relationship with a former longtime girlfriend. That same relationship would also inspire his hit “Nobody’s Home”.
You know, it’s hard to believe that this song is now thirty years old, as of this writing. It still sounds as fresh as anything currently on Country radio and in my opinion, it was one of the best songs of 1989. This is a record that I loved when it first came out, and I still love it, today. I think it is one of the best songs of Clint Black’s career (and he had some good ones). If we had records like this on country radio, today, I’d still be listening.
Your thoughts? They are always welcome, just drop a comment below.
Saving vinyl, one record at a time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike the Country Musicologist is a lifelong music and radio fanatic, lover of vintage agriculture, and big sports fan, including the Colts, Reds, Hurricanes, Pacers, Purdue & Butler Universities. He has collected records since childhood, and focuses on classic country and top 40 oldies music. He convinced Vincennes University to give him an Associate’s Degree in broadcasting. He’s worked for several stations in Indiana and North Carolina. Be sure to follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.