Song:I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool
Album:The Best Of Barbara Mandrell
Here's a song that became a big hit because of the way country music was going at the time. The 1980 film Urban Cowboy was a huge hit and it signaled a changing of the guard to a more pop influenced country music style. Pop music was always an influence on country music. Back in the 60s it was called Countrypolitan. Of course there was some resistance to this change in Nashville and the 1981 number one hit I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool addressed those changes. And it became one of Barbara Mandrell's signature songs. It was funny because Barbara had a very successful TV variety show and was perceived as a pop influenced country singer. Her first number one country hit was Sleeping Single in A Double Bed in 1978 followed by (If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Wan't To Be Right. In 1981, Barbara's producer Tom Collins was putting together a live album. I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool was written by Kye Fleming and Dennis Morgan who also wrote Sleeping Single In A Double Bed. Collins wanted Barbara to record the song and release it before someone else did. But Barbara Mandrell Live had already been recorded. And Collins got George Jones to agree to record it with Barbara. So the song was recorded in the studio as usual with an audience added in post production. It didn't matter. The song topped the charts anyway partially because it reflected how some country music fans felt about Urban Cowboy. Also, George Jones appeared on a live version of the song on the CMA Awards (I think). Barbara Mandrell Live has not been released on CD but I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool is on this budget comp. Here's Barbara Mandrell featuring George Jones performing I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool on the 1981 CMA Awards.