“I Believe In You” was a difficult song for Mel to do. It was structured so much differently from his usual “shuffle-beat” material, which caused him to stretch out quite a bit in order to achieve the desired results. On the fourth attempt, Tillis got the cut he wanted. After the session, Mel went on tour and while he was out of town, Bowen decided to overdub a full string section to the recording, plus he hired Los Angeles woodwind player Jim Horn to lay in a few fills on a flute!
When Tillis returned and heard what Bowen had done to the song, he didn’t really know what to make of it. Neither did country radio. Some stations initially resisted the record, but the ones that did add “I Believe In You” garnered positive results and the single ultimately built enough momentum to reach #1 on Billboard’s country singles chart July 8, 1978. Mel’s “I Believe In You” album also generated a Top Five follow-up, “Ain’t No California,” on which Horn played saxophone.