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Country Rewind: Reba McEntire's Neo-Traditional Stomper 'Little Rock'

When Reba McEntire's legendary career first hit its stride in the mid-'80s, she rewrote the country charts of the time with songs like "Little Rock," a No. 1 hit from the 1986 album Whoever's in New England.

McEntire sings about heartbreak and defiance, not the capitol of Arkansas, on this upbeat, neo-traditional country stomper. It's got a way different tone than her prior No. 1, the gloomier story-song "Whoever's in New England." Both vibes set the tone for McEntire's ongoing string of must-hear singles.

Songwriters Pat McManus, Bob DiPiero and Gerry House wrote this tale of a woman who's so bored with her rich husband that she's questioning if money's the root of happiness. As she's known to do, McEntire took a well-written song and made it immortal.

Years before successful cover versions of "Fancy" and "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" shot up Billboard's Hot Country Singles chart, McEntire cemented her spot in Nashville with not just Whoever's in New England but also the two albums before it, My Kind of Country (1984) and Have I Got a Deal For You (1985). McEntire had hits before '84 (two No. 1's, to be exact), but she became the superstar we all know and love during this three-album stretch.

And if you're in a situation where creative or professional success seems frustratingly out of reach, keep in mind that My Kind of Country was McEntire's eighth career album.

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It's not to be confused with Collin Raye's "Little Rock." Raye's No. 2 hit from 1994 was written by Tom Douglas. It tells the story of a man who's pieced his life back together in Little Rock, Ark., where he sells VCRs at Wal-Mart, avoids alcohol and connects spiritually with the local Church of Christ minister. Even with those personal strides, he's still got an ex-lover-sized hole in his heart.

"Little Rock" Lyrics (by Pat McManus, Bob DiPiero and Gerry House)

Well I'm married to the good life
I said I'd be a good wife
When I put on this ring
I drive a new Mercedes
I play tennis with the ladies
I buy all the finer things
But all that don't mean nothing
When you can't get a good night's loving

Oh little rock
Think I'm gonna have to slip you off
Take a chance tonight and untie the knot
There's more to life than what I've got
Oh little rock
You know this heart of mine just can't be bought
I'm gonna find someone who really cares a lot
When I slip off this little rock

Well I wonder if he'll miss me
He doesn't even kiss me
When he comes home at night
He never calls me honey
But he sure loves his money
And I'm the one who pays the price
But when he finds this ring he'll see
He keeps everything but me

Oh little rock
Think I'm gonna have to slip you off
Take a chance tonight and untie the knot
There's more to life than what I've got
Oh little rock
You know this heart of mine just can't be bought
I'm gonna find someone who really cares a lot
When I slip off this little rock

Oh you little rock
Think I'm gonna have to slip you off
Take a chance tonight and untie the knot
There's more to life than what I've got
Oh little rock
You know this heart of mine just can't be bought
I'm gonna find someone who really cares a lot
When I slip off this little rock

Ooh yeah, ooh
Little rock, ooh yeah

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Country Rewind: Reba McEntire's Neo-Traditional Stomper 'Little Rock'