Thursday, 01 July 2021 01:22

WYNN - COUNTRY MUSIC MEMORY LANE - Best Debut Songs - Part 2

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Many times the first song we hear from a new artist is the one that sticks with us the longest.  It's a phenomenon. There's something about remembering how you felt the first time you heard a new song as you are introduced to a new artist that is extra special. These songs also seem to get the biggest cheers at concerts, as they mean as much to the artist as they do to us. This will be some of the BEST debut songs ever!

We started last week at 1980 and are working our way forward to today, as this is the second of a two part series.  (Read Part One If You Missed It) . I'm sure there are others on your list and you can comment and add to it.  So, let's look at some of the real great debut songs ever.

Billy Ray Cyrus Achy Breaky Heart (1992)

OK, I can see the eye rolls already, but this song has to be given its due, and it does have a great story. This song was offered to the Oak Ridge Boys, but the word was they didn't like the term "Achy Breaky" for many reasons.  This was recorded by a group called the Marcy Brothers a year or so earlier under the title, Don't Tell My Heart.  So the song eventually ended up here. I was doing mornings and programming at KLIK in Jefferson City  (The Big 950) at this time and I am proud to say we were among the very first to play this song. Our Music Director, Jay Walker played it for me and we went with it. In our ears this was a no-doubt-er.  This album Some Gave All, (which is very good) sold a staggering 9 million copies in the first year alone, and as many as 20 million world wide to date some say.  It went #1 in many countries and broke sales records wherever it went. This was a gigantic hit, but it was polarizing, as it was much parodied as well.  BUT in the end, this song was done by the right guy at the right time.


Terri Clark  - Better Things To Do (1995)

I always thought Terri Clark (My Profile On Her) had the absolute right idea.  She came along during the Country Boom of the 1990's as a jeans, boot and T wearing, electric guitar playing, female "Hat Act."  There were none, she was the only one.  Her very powerful voice, and truly guitar driven brand of country was the perfect match for this really great song.  This song introduced us to a new kind of female vocalist and launched a very good career. I loved the video, I believed the song, and was very intrigued about this image. The song is perfectly arranged and had great success on the charts, peaking at #3, but should have been a #1.  The potential of a tremendous debut song is that is can really help define who that new artist is. This one really did.  I liked a lot of Terri Clark songs, as they cut through, and really stood out.  I think there is room for a person with this image always.


Blake Shelton  - Austin (2001)

Is there anyone alive that doesn't love this song?  When he released this song, it was the feel bad, then feel good song of the year.  I remember getting a call on the air one day here at WQMX from guy listener who was just beside himself over this song.  He loved how everything works out in the end of this song.  The strength of this really terrific song is its visualization. You not only can see this guy, but you know this guy, you are this guy, or you have been this guy.  We all have at some time in our lives wanted this to happen to us, and in this song it does.  This is about as good as written country songs get.  But the thing that really made this work was, it was sung by an total unknown, and that is what made this song so relatable. The star of this song was....the song. We were rooting for the guy in the song, and it's our nature to root for new acts too. And later Blake Shelton became a megastar.  (What a different image he has today)


SugarlandBaby Girl (2004)

This is another feel good song that people gravitated to.  This didn't go #1 and it should have. (#2)  This was fresh and new, and again a very visual song.  It also introduced us to a new kind of act in country, which was actually kind of a throwback at the same time. A group with a heavy vocal driven sound, as groups like Lady A were a few years away yet.  We also got to know Jennifer Nettles who would become a star in her own right.  But this is another great example of the song being the star. It was also a very savvy move writing and recording a song about the extreme struggle to the top of the music biz, by a group trying to do just that.  Again, this only works with an unknown act.  Little known fact too, this became the highest charting debut song for a country group in 13 years. With respect to the hits that would follow, and there were plenty,  I still think it's their best song, and the one that defined them for the length of their run.


Florida Georgia Line  - Cruise (2012)

There's not much to really say about this.  It's one of the biggest songs ever in our format, or any format.  It's part of pop-culture and it will be remembered for years.  They were here to stay and are still here. This set sales records everywhere, it's just a behemoth. But I will say this. That debut album was recorded with confidence that is very rare for a new act. The entire album is great and well beyond the years of a new act. They sang this song on our morning show here at WQMX with me and Sue Wilson as a no-name act the morning of a show at the Dusty Armadillo!  It's a great memory and their run is still full steam ahead.


Maren Morris  - My Church (2016)

Maren Morris was on our morning show here at WQMX before anyone knew her at all.  She sang this song on our show, and me and Sarah K talked with her and wondered who she was going to be. This song is so darn good, it was about the perfect way to introduce her to our format. This is about 10 great things rolled into one big song. This song helped her win a Grammy, and a CMA. It sold a ton, and is on one of the really great albums of the past 10 years, Hero. (I Profiled That Album) One thing that this song did better than most, is that it seemed that she was not a new artist singing it.  It was like she had always been here.  Of course Morris has gone on to sing lots of big songs, and has dabbled in other formats and that's fine as she brings us new listeners.  And with all her success, to my ear, this is the song that really resonates with me and many.  What a song!


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