(written by Tim Dubois and Vince Gill)
Vince Gill (#2, 1990)
There are many country artists who have embraced golf as a hobby. It is often said that more deals have been made on the golf course than on Music Row. Yet, only one country music star has ever been forced to choose between a career on the links and one in the recording studio. It was a talented Oklahoman who had earned a powerful reputation in the bluegrass field.
Very early in his performing career, Vince Gill had worked with a young Ricky Skaggs, but interest in bluegrass music was at a low point in the late-‘70s, so Vince left Nashville and headed to Los Angeles where he joined the country-rock band The Pure Prairie League. As he worked with this group, Gill’s talents as both a lead vocalist and songwriter grew within the music community in Southern California.
The Pure Prairie League’s top ten hit “Let Me Love You Tonight” came from Vince’s pen, but the band gave no real signs of really taking off, despite the long tours and months on the road. Sensing he needed a new direction to reach his potential, Gill left the group and joined Rodney Crowell’s band. At about the same time, his wife Janis was beginning to find some success as a member of the Sweethearts of the Rodeo. While he was with Crowell, Nashville began to take notice of Vince’s work. In 1984 RCA called and offered him a record deal.
The label announced that it had great plans for three of its new signees: Louise Mandrell (Barbara’s younger sister, who was trying to get her own recording career going), The Judds and Gill. RCA predicted that all three acts would quickly become major stars, but as it turned out, the only one to find huge success with the label was The Judds. Though they tried for four years, RCA and Vince couldn’t come up with a major record. Most of his singles managed modest chart success, but none made much money for either him or the label. By 1988, RCA dropped Gill to concentrate on finding other new acts.