Nancy asked what I knew about one of her favs from the 1990's, Doug Stone. I played all his songs on great radio stations including WQMX. Stone was seen as a country music Neo-traditionalist, and I guess that's accurate. He was a big deal for a few very strong years, then health problems really took a toll.
He signed his first big record deal in 1989 in Nashville after a long road before hand. He was discovered in a local VFW Hall as I remember. Stone was a name that he took on, as his real last name was Brooks, but he was asked to change it to avoid confusion with Garth Brooks. Stone had a ton of very good people behind him from record execs to songwriters and musicians, many of them the very best in Nashville. Stone had a nice run in the 1990's and has one of the best debut songs I feel in country music history with, the amazingly relatable I'd Be Better Off In A Pine Box released in 1990. It peaked at #4, (should have been #1) BUT was Grammy nominated and it is just flat out great. I mean really great. True country songs don't get much better.
Incredible Debut Single - Grammy Nominated
His first two albums were very successful with a bunch of big songs. Both were million sellers, plus his next two studio albums after that were GOLD. Doug Stone was a hit maker. Sometimes in our history, time is not overly kind to some of our performers. Stone I feel is one of them. In a decade with a zillion mega stars, Stone contended and racked up a bunch of big albums, singles, and radio play. He was seen by some critics as not having a clear direction. OK, that's fine, but I would say he was versatile. Look who he toured with, (more later.) His numbers are undeniable, fans loved his music.
Big Song From His First Album - #1
His run which ran from 1990 and into 1995, had his first 15 singles all reaching the top 7 on the charts and 8 of them went #1. Although he was overshadowed by many others during this time, he was blessed with great success. What he was not blessed with was good health, especially for a young man. Big heart problems, with bypass surgery and major ongoing issues resulting from that in the long run. I remember when I heard that, I was shocked, and it kind of shook me up as that kind of thing doesn't happen to people that young. But sadly it did to him.
Fun Song - #1
He toured with big stars including Hank Jr, Patty Loveless, and even Lynyrd Skynyrd for a bit. As I think back to the 90's I have good musical memories of Stone. He is in my view part of the reason the 90's were so big for us. We had all these mega stars of course, led by Garth and a ton of others. But guys like Stone were the next tier with Mark Chesnutt, Tracy Byrd, Hal Ketchum, John Michael Montgomery, Terri Clark, Pam Tillis, LeeAnn Womack and many others that absolutely insured we always had great songs on the radio all the time. We were so deep then, and Doug Stone was a big part of that. In many other eras these names, including Stone's may have dominated the format.
After his initial run, and health issues of the late 1990's Stone continued to record and perform but time, health and the biz changes things. I have said before, that not everyone gets a 10, or 20 year chart run, as those are the exception and not the general rule. But for a time, Doug Stone was near the top and was very good for our format in every regard.
Big Song - #1
If you are unfamiliar with him - a Greatest Hits download is a GREAT idea.