This week is part two of my Country Music Memory Lane series dedicated to songs that made a huge impact on listeners in the first minute of the first radio play. These are rare, as they make the studio phone ring immediately on the air, with listeners asking, "What is this song, and who is that??, I love this song!!"
These are some of the songs I remember doing exactly that in my 41 year career so far. There are others, but they are very rare. And I am hoping there are more recorded as time goes on! (If you missed part one, ClICK HERE)
Part TWO -
Daddy's Hands - Holly Dunn - (1986)
I was doing mornings at WRMZ in Columbus when Holly Dunn released two songs off the album, Holly Dunn, (My Feature On Her) with little success. But this song was a gigantic hit with listeners. Somehow this only went to #7 on the charts, but listeners loved this song from the first play. She wrote this for her dad who was a minister and this became one of the most believable songs we've ever had. This is a very powerful song for many people who have sung it, or simply love to hear it. Holly also established herself with this song that she was here as a traditionalist and she was right on time. She became a leader in real country music, running off a nice run of hits. If I had to choose one singer to sing a sad, or hurtin' country song, it would be her. This was a big song still lives in the hearts of country fans today.
Only Here For A Little While - Billy Dean - 1990
Billy Dean (My feature on him) really hit us right in the feels with this song when it came out. It was extremely catchy, and it had a message that just made you feel good. Dean was an underrated artist of the 1990's and this was his real breakthrough. This had a feel of country, and a gospel feel that was undeniable. There is a long line of successful songs in our format that have followed that formula. This song made people happy, hopeful and plus this sounded great on the air.
Any Man Of Mine - Shania Twain - (1995)
I remember when this song came out when I was doing the morning show at WPCV in Lakeland, Florida - when we all met Shania Twain. This was not her first song, but it was her second, and this was a gigantic hit. Plus, this song had an amazingly well done video that really helped propel this to incredible heights. Shania had the natural ability to record songs that for some reason no one was even slightly offended by. This playful, but honest and direct song was presented in a way that was inviting to anyone as were most of her songs. The ending of this song is also insanely memorable as she chants out dance steps that everyone still knows by heart, and you generally sing with as it plays all these years later. This song was right on time as line dancing was really taking off then too. This launched her to her incredible 90's run as she became the second largest selling artist of the decade.
Blue - LeAnn Rimes - (1996)
The phone was ringing about a minute into this song as this talented 13 year old was singing this incredible traditional country song. Yes, this is very reminiscent of Patsy Cline and fans heard and loved that. Some knew that she was a teen, others were astonished when they learned that. Her voice was of course well beyond her age much like Tanya Tucker (My article on her) many years earlier. I have always maintained if she would have stuck with traditional country, or similar, exclusively - the sky would have been her limit. Should be noted, her branching off to a more pop sounding career did work out fine. This is how we all learned about LeAnn Rimes, hard to think she now is almost 40. This is an incredible song.
Long Black Train - Josh Turner - (2003)
I had been here at WQMX for a few years when this song hit the air! No one knew who Josh Turner was then, but they sure did after they heard this song. This is another mix of country and gospel, but this also has a hint of Johnny Cash both in voice and in beat. This song was way different and really cut through, plus that big baritone, well trained voice really got him noticed right out of the gate. This song - as much as any song we have featured in the past two weeks was blowing up the phone as it played the first time.