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Country Rewind: 'One Love at a Time' Launches Tanya Tucker's First Comeback

Tanya Tucker's first career renaissance kicked off with "One Love at a Time," the lead single off 1986 album Girls Like Me.

Paul Davis ("Meet Me in Montana") and Paul Overstreet ("Forever and Ever, Amen") co-wrote one of the better love songs cut by Tucker. Two years later, Davis and Overstreet teamed with Tucker as performers on her chart-topping single "I Won't Take Less than Your Love" from her Love Me Like You Used To album.

At first listen, "One Love at a Time" is a straightforward love song without flashes of Tucker's sense of humor. It may be less obviously biting than "I'll Come Back as Another Woman," yet there's twisted laughs to be had over the narrator's confusion over two possible lovers' July and December birthdays. More songs followed with "love" in the title (i.e. "Just Another Love") and Tucker's no punches pulled attitude in the lyrics.

Read More: The 10 Best Tanya Tucker Songs, Ranked

The song marks a turn in fortune for Tucker. Before 1986, hits from the former child star behind "Delta Dawn" had become scattered. "One Love at a Time" began a streak of 10 straight top 10 singles, lasting through 1989's "Call on Me." It also began a streak during which 25 of 26 singles released between '86 and '94 cracked the top 20.

"One Love at a Time" and other twisted tales of romance entered Tucker's greatest hits repertoire alongside previous ("Don't Believe My Heart Can Stand Another You," "What's Your Mama's Name," "Lizzie and the Rainman") and future ("My Arms Stay Open All Night," "Two Sparrows in a Hurricane," "Strong Enough to Bend") singles.

In retrospect, the song launched a career resurgence as incredible (and deserved) as recent developments that found Tucker become the country music artist with the most 2020 Grammy nominations.

'One Love at a Time' Lyrics:

It makes me weak and in a hurry
All night long I lay
and I worry
I'm so afraid I'm gonna talk in my sleep
Who do I love
Who am I using
Which one is which can get so confusin'
I've got to choose one and set the other one free

One love at a time that's all I can handle
Burning both ends of the candle can drive you insane
With one love in your heart and one love on your mind
It can tear a girl apart
I just need one love at a time

Ones got a birthday
It's in December
Which one's in July
I can't remember
I get em mixed up
What am I gonna do
It keeps me uptight
driving me crazy
They're both believin'
They're both my baby
Sometimes I wonder
Who's been playin' with who

One love at a time that's all I can handle
Burning both ends of a candle can drive you insane
With one love in your heart
and one love on your mind
It can tear a girl apart
I just need one love at a time
Yes it can tear this girl apart
I just need one love at a time

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Country Rewind: 'One Love at a Time' Launches Tanya Tucker's First Comeback