1989 in country music

This is a list of notable events in country music that took place in the year 1989.

List of years in country music (table)


  • May 9 – Rising country star Keith Whitley is found dead at his home, a victim of alcohol poisoning. News of his death sent shockwaves through the industry, given that he had been hailed as a future superstar who helped bring neotraditionalism to the forefront during the 1980s. His widow, Lorrie Morgan, would become a major superstar after his death.

No datesEdit

  • 1989 was one of two years during the 1980s which sprouted the most prolific class of newcomers in country music history (1986 being the other), a trend that had not been seen since the mid-1950s (when artists such as Elvis Presley, George Jones and Johnny Cash first rose to fame). Clint Black was at the head of the class early on, given that he had two of the year's most memorable singles – "A Better Man" and "Killin' Time" – and one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year (Killin' Time), and was already selling out shows nationwide. Garth Brooks, however, proved to be the 1989 newcomer that stood head and shoulders above everyone else, eventually selling millions of albums, taking worldwide tours and creating some of the most influential music of the 1990s and beyond.
Another newcomer, Alan Jackson, had a minor hit with his first release in the autumn of that year with "Blue Blooded Woman;" future singles – all featuring the neotraditional style, would do considerably better, to say the least. Travis Tritt contributed with his brand of rock-influenced country, while Lorrie Morgan (daughter of Grand Ole Opry legend George Morgan) became a star in her own right following the alcohol-poisoning death of her husband, Keith Whitley.
Other top newcomers of the year were Suzy Bogguss, Lionel Cartwright and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Top hits of the yearEdit

Singles released by American artistsEdit

US CAN Single Artist
18 14 5:01 Blues Merle Haggard
1 1 Above and Beyond Rodney Crowell
1 1 Ace in the Hole George Strait
1 1 After All This Time Rodney Crowell
5 10 All the Fun Paul Overstreet
5 2 All the Reasons Why Highway 101
4 32 An American Family The Oak Ridge Boys
14 29 And So It Goes John Denver/The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
4 5 Any Way the Wind Blows Southern Pacific
1 6 Are You Ever Gonna Love Me Holly Dunn
1 1 Baby's Gotten Good at Goodbye George Strait
20 24 Back in the Fire Gene Watson
1 1 Bayou Boys Eddy Raven
4 10 A Better Love Next Time Merle Haggard
1 1 A Better Man Clint Black
7 10 Beyond Those Years The Oak Ridge Boys
3 5 Big Dreams in a Small Town Restless Heart
5 8 Big Love The Bellamy Brothers
1 1 Big Wheels in the Moonlight Dan Seals
4 7 Blue Side of Town Patty Loveless
13 21 Borderline The Shooters
15 42 Breaking New Ground Wild Rose
10 10 Bridges and Walls The Oak Ridge Boys
3 5 Burnin' a Hole in My Heart Skip Ewing
1 4 Burnin' Old Memories Kathy Mattea
4 5 Call on Me Tanya Tucker
1 1 Cathy's Clown Reba McEntire
1 1 Change of Heart The Judds
1 1 The Church on Cumberland Road Shenandoah
15 24 The Coast of Colorado Skip Ewing
7 5 Come as You Were T. Graham Brown
1 1 Come from the Heart Kathy Mattea
9 22 Country Club Travis Tritt
14 17 Cross My Broken Heart Suzy Bogguss
9 12 Dear Me Lorrie Morgan
1 1 Deeper Than the Holler Randy Travis
5 5 Don't Toss Us Away Patty Loveless
5 6 Don't Waste It on the Blues Gene Watson
9 15 Don't You The Forester Sisters
1 2 Don't You Ever Get Tired (Of Hurting Me) Ronnie Milsap
6 7 Down That Road Tonight Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
14 14 Early in the Morning and Late at Night Hank Williams, Jr.
5 5 Fair Shake Foster & Lloyd
6 5 Finders Are Keepers Hank Williams, Jr.
1 1 From a Jack to a King Ricky Van Shelton
3 2 From the Word Go Michael Martin Murphey
3 7 Give Me His Last Chance Lionel Cartwright
10 11 The Gospel According to Luke Skip Ewing
13 25 The Heart Lacy J. Dalton
8 3 Heartbreak Hill Emmylou Harris
16 16 Heaven Only Knows Emmylou Harris
11 11 Hello Trouble The Desert Rose Band
2 1 Hey Bobby K. T. Oslin
1 1 High Cotton Alabama
2 1 Highway Robbery Tanya Tucker
1 1 Hold Me K. T. Oslin
6 4 Hold On (A Little Longer) Steve Wariner
4 1 Hole in My Pocket Ricky Van Shelton
5 3 Honey I Dare You Southern Pacific
6 5 Honky Tonk Heart Highway 101
19 28 House on Old Lonesome Road Conway Twitty
4 12 Houston Solution Ronnie Milsap
19 44 How Do Mary Chapin Carpenter
1 1 I Don't Want to Spoil the Party Rosanne Cash
9 12 I Feel Fine Sweethearts of the Rodeo
1 3 I Got Dreams Steve Wariner
5 5 I Got You Dwight Yoakam
16 37 I Just Called to Say Goodbye Again Larry Boone
21 12 I Know What I've Got J.C. Crowley
1 1 I Sang Dixie Dwight Yoakam
1 1 I Still Believe in You The Desert Rose Band
4 4 I Wish I Was Still in Your Dreams Conway Twitty
1 1 I Wonder Do You Think of Me Keith Whitley
16 19 I'll Be Lovin' You Lee Greenwood
5 5 (I'm A) One Woman Man George Jones
1 1 I'm No Stranger to the Rain Keith Whitley
1 1 I'm Still Crazy Vern Gosdin
4 11 I've Been Loved by the Best Don Williams
17 21 If I Ever Go Crazy The Shooters
1 1 If I Had You Alabama
1 2 If Tomorrow Never Comes Garth Brooks
1 1 In a Letter to You Eddy Raven
1 1 Is It Still Over? Randy Travis
11 13 (It's Always Gonna Be) Someday Holly Dunn
1 1 It's Just a Matter of Time Randy Travis
1 1 Killin' Time Clint Black
5 3 Let It Be You Ricky Skaggs
1 1 Let Me Tell You About Love The Judds
12 24 Let's Get Started If We're Gonna Break My Heart The Statler Brothers
4 9 Life as We Knew It Kathy Mattea
14 21 Like Father Like Son Lionel Cartwright
1 1 Living Proof Ricky Van Shelton
6 5 The Lonely Side of Love Patty Loveless
5 3 Long Shot Baillie & the Boys
4 3 Love Has No Right Billy Joe Royal
1 2 Love Out Loud Earl Thomas Conley
7 20 Love Will The Forester Sisters
1 1 Lovin' Only Me Ricky Skaggs
6 13 More Than a Name on a Wall The Statler Brothers
8 9 Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old) Garth Brooks
19 15 My Train of Thought Barbara Mandrell
9 21 Never Givin' Up on Love Michael Martin Murphey
8 6 Never Had It So Good Mary Chapin Carpenter
1 1 New Fool at an Old Game Reba McEntire
1 1 Nothing I Can Do About It Now Willie Nelson
5 2 Old Coyote Town Don Williams
4 3 One Good Well Don Williams
2 3 Out of Your Shoes Lorrie Morgan
13 8 Paint the Town and Hang the Moon Tonight J.C. Crowley
30 11 Planet Texas Kenny Rogers
17 12 Promises Randy Travis
5 3 The Race Is On Sawyer Brown
4 1 Say What's in Your Heart Restless Heart
7 4 Setting Me Up Highway 101
8 5 She Deserves You Baillie & the Boys
3 4 She Don't Love Nobody The Desert Rose Band
23 10 She Reminded Me of You Mickey Gilley
1 1 She's Crazy for Leavin' Rodney Crowell
6 24 She's Gone, Gone, Gone Glen Campbell
2 4 She's Got a Single Thing in Mind Conway Twitty
19 She's There Daniele Alexander
8 11 Sincerely The Forester Sisters
1 1 Song of the South Alabama
9 41 Sowin' Love Paul Overstreet
1 1 Sunday in the South Shenandoah
2 2 Tell It Like It Is Billy Joe Royal
4 8 There Goes My Heart Again Holly Dunn
7 9 There's a Tear in My Beer Hank Williams, Jr.
5 4 They Rage On Dan Seals
5 2 This Woman K. T. Oslin
4 5 'Til Love Comes Again Reba McEntire
4 7 'Til You Cry Eddy Raven
1 1 Timber, I'm Falling in Love Patty Loveless
20 34 Trainwreck of Emotion Lorrie Morgan
1 1 Two Dozen Roses Shenandoah
9 5 Up and Gone Jennifer McCarter & The McCarters
8 26 The Vows Go Unbroken (Always True to You) Kenny Rogers
1 1 What I'd Say Earl Thomas Conley
1 2 What's Going On in Your World George Strait
1 1 Where Did I Go Wrong Steve Wariner
2 1 Who You Gonna Blame It on This Time Vern Gosdin
1 1 Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That Dolly Parton
19 36 Wine Me Up Larry Boone
4 4 (Wish I Had A) Heart of Stone Baillie & the Boys
1 1 A Woman in Love Ronnie Milsap
1 1 Yellow Roses Dolly Parton
19 You Ain't Down Home Jann Browne
6 11 You Ain't Goin' Nowhere Chris Hillman & Roger McGuinn
7 3 You Got It Roy Orbison
14 15 You Still Do T. G. Sheppard
10 14 You'll Never Be Sorry The Bellamy Brothers
1 1 Young Love (Strong Love) The Judds

Singles released by Canadian artistsEdit

US CAN Single Artist
10 As Long as We Both Shall Love Carroll Baker
8 Blue Jeans Boy J. K. Gulley
15 C-Luv Radio Mike Terry
7 Cowboy in Your Heart Gary Fjellgaard
12 The Cowboy Thing To Do Bootleg
7 Do Right by Me Michelle Wright
10 Donna Lee Greg Paul
20 Don't You Cry For Me The Ellis Family Band
19 Fiddle Texas Style Cindi Cain
22 1 Full Moon Full of Love k.d. lang
9 Goldmine George Fox
20 How Long Blue Rodeo
9 I Didn't Know You Audie Henry
10 I Think That I'll Be Needing You Cindi Cain
7 I Wish I Were Only Lonely Michelle Wright
28 9 If I Ever Fall in Love Again Anne Murray with Kenny Rogers
13 In My Dreams Laura Vinson
17 Just a Place Where Mem'ries Live Cindi Cain
8 Let's Build A Life Together Family Brown
16 Long Distance George Fox
12 Love With a Capital "L" Murray McLauchlan
19 The Lucky Ones Willie P. Bennett
10 The Moon Is Out to Get Me Gary Fjellgaard with Linda Kidder
16 Old Broken Heart Greg Paul
7 Rock Me Gently Michelle Wright
10 Someday I'm Gonna Ride in a Cadillac Matt Minglewood
9 The Tip of My Fingers Anita Perras
15 Train of Life Great Western Orchestra

Top new album releasesEdit

US Album Artist Record Label
12 Absolute Torch and Twang k.d. lang and the Reclines Sire
11 Alone Vern Gosdin Columbia
24 American Dreams The Oak Ridge Boys MCA
1 Beyond the Blue Neon George Strait MCA
15 Bluebird Emmylou Harris Warner Bros.
2 Garth Brooks Garth Brooks Capitol
20 Greatest Hits Tanya Tucker Capitol
22 Greatest Hits 3 The Oak Ridge Boys MCA
1 Greatest Hits III Hank Williams, Jr. Curb/Warner Bros.
19 Hillbilly Rock Marty Stuart MCA
8 Hits 1979–1989 Rosanne Cash Columbia
2 A Horse Called Music Willie Nelson Columbia
2 I Wonder Do You Think of Me Keith Whitley RCA
3 Just Lookin' for a Hit Dwight Yoakam Reprise
18 Kentucky Thunder Ricky Skaggs Epic
15 Keys to the Highway Rodney Crowell Columbia
1 Killin' Time Clint Black RCA
6 Leave the Light On Lorrie Morgan RCA
10 Lyle Lovett and His Large Band Lyle Lovett Curb/MCA
17 Mystery Girl Roy Orbison Virgin
1 No Holdin' Back Randy Travis Warner Bros.
13 An Old Time Christmas Randy Travis Warner Bros.
13 One Woman Man George Jones Epic
22 Paint the Town Highway 101 Warner Bros.
2 Pickin' on Nashville The Kentucky Headhunters Mercury
2 Reba Live Reba McEntire MCA
2 River of Time The Judds Curb/RCA
6 The Road Not Taken Shenandoah Columbia
2 Simple Man The Charlie Daniels Band Epic
10 Something Inside So Strong Kenny Rogers Reprise
1 Southern Star Alabama RCA
13 Sowin' Love Paul Overstreet RCA
20 Stranger Things Have Happened Ronnie Milsap RCA
1 Sweet Sixteen Reba McEntire MCA
15 Tell It Like It Is Billy Joe Royal Atlantic
2 When I Call Your Name Vince Gill MCA
3 White Limozeen Dolly Parton Columbia
5 Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two Nitty Gritty Dirt Band MCA
6 Willow in the Wind Kathy Mattea Mercury

Other top albumsEdit

US Album Artist Record Label
28 5:01 Blues Merle Haggard Epic
70 20 Gold Hits Patsy Cline MCA
42 Back in the Fire Gene Watson Warner Bros.
51 Beside Myself Ray Stevens MCA
30 The Blue Rose of Texas Holly Dunn Warner Bros.
29 The Boys Are Back Sawyer Brown Curb
45 Christmas in America Kenny Rogers Reprise
56 Coming Home Wayne Newton Curb
60 Fellow Travelers John Conlee 16th Avenue
59 First Move Daniele Alexander Mercury
44 Faster & Llouder Foster & Lloyd RCA
52 Greatest Hits The Forester Sisters Warner Bros.
32 Greatest Hits Volume II Anne Murray Capitol
50 Greatest Hits, Vol. III The Bellamy Brothers Curb/MCA
39 House on Old Lonesome Road Conway Twitty MCA
55 I Am Just a Rebel Billy Hill Reprise
32 I Got Dreams Steve Wariner MCA
66 If Only For One Night Lee Greenwood MCA
64 Labor of Love Janie Fricke Columbia
33 Land of Enchantment Michael Martin Murphey Warner Bros.
44 Lionel Cartwright Lionel Cartwright MCA
48 Many Mansions Moe Bandy Curb
51 Moody Woman Charley Pride 16th Avenue
38 More Great Dirt Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Warner Bros.
48 New Classic Waylon Waylon Jennings MCA
71 Next of Kin (Soundtrack) Various Artists Columbia
42 Next to You Tammy Wynette Epic
54 One Good Well Don Williams RCA
45 Pink Cadillac (Soundtrack) Various Artists Warner Bros.
49 Pure N Simple Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Curb/Universal
61 Radio Romance Canyon 16th Avenue
32 Ricky Van Shelton Sings Christmas Ricky Van Shelton Columbia
65 The Rodney Crowell Collection Rodney Crowell Warner Bros.
40 Solid as a Rock The Shooters Epic
41 Somewhere Between Suzy Bogguss Capitol
28 State of the Heart Mary Chapin Carpenter Columbia
40 Statler Brothers Live – Sold Out The Statler Brothers Mercury
68 Steppin' Stone Marie Osmond Capitol/Curb
40 Stones Gary Morris Capitol/MCA
42 Storms Nanci Griffith MCA
61 Sunrise Shelby Lynne Epic
31 Survivor Lacy J. Dalton Capitol/MCA
31 Temporary Sanity Eddy Raven Capitol
30 Turn the Tide Baillie & the Boys RCA
44 The Will to Love Skip Ewing MCA

On televisionEdit

Regular seriesEdit




  • February 4 – Kenneth C. "Jethro" Burns, 68, of the Homer and Jethro comedy duo.
  • March 8 – Stuart Hamblen, 80, one of radio's first country music superstars, whose later works reflected his religious convictions.
  • May 9 – Keith Whitley, 33, honky tonk-styled singer who rose to fame in the mid-1980s (alcohol poisoning)
  • August 25 – Al Cherney, 56, Albertan fiddler
  • September 23 – Bradley Kincaid, 94, Singer and Guitarist who started his career in 1927 in Chicago over WLS Radio, performing the traditional mountain ballads he had learned during his boyhood in Kentucky, he soon became the genre's first Multimedia superstar. He collected, recorded, and published many of the old Folk ballads, thereby preserving them for posterity. (Automobile Accident).

Hall of Fame inducteesEdit

Country Music Hall of Fame inducteesEdit

Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame inducteesEdit

Major awardsEdit

Grammy AwardsEdit

Juno AwardsEdit

Academy of Country MusicEdit

ARIA AwardsEdit

(presented in Sydney on March 6, 1989)

Canadian Country Music AssociationEdit

Country Music AssociationEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Kingsbury, Paul, "The Grand Ole Opry: History of Country Music. 70 Years of the Songs, the Stars and the Stories," Villard Books, Random House; Opryland USA, 1995
  • Kingsbury, Paul, "Vinyl Hayride: Country Music Album Covers 1947–1989," Country Music Foundation, 2003 (ISBN 0-8118-3572-3)
  • Millard, Bob, "Country Music: 70 Years of America's Favorite Music," HarperCollins, New York, 1993 (ISBN 0-06-273244-7)
  • Whitburn, Joel, "Top Country Songs 1944–2005 – 6th Edition." 2005.

Other linksEdit

External linksEdit