Jen asked me about a song she loved when she was in high school, Only The Wind. I love that song, and the singer was Billy Dean. Here's another guy who came around in the 1990's and had some real nice success. But more than that, he made some really good music.
Dean was a darn good singer with flat out good music, and I was a fan. In fact, we were all fans, as a whole lot of his music was really hard not to like. He was also very likable and his songs were honest and picture painting. I feel listeners really listened to the songs he recorded. And you know, that's more rare than you might think. Fans hear songs all the time and love something about a certain song, but many times we miss something. We listened to Billy Dean songs, his words and melodies flowed easily across his musical canvass, and took you with them. What a remarkable gift he gave us, songs that said something - every time.
Only The Wind - Fantastic Song!
Long before there was American Idol, The Voice, America's Got Talent and other TV showcase and reality shows we watch today, there was Star Search, (1983-1995 originally) and it was way ahead of its time. It looked for talented singers, bands and even comedians to be the next big thing. Sawyer Brown was a winner in 1984 from that show and they had a nice run in Country, and Billy Dean was noticed from his time on that show as well. Hard not to, as he is 6 foot 6 and a real presence. He was from the Tallahassee area of Florida and showed up on the charts in 1990. He was a non-hat act and looked like a movie star as much as a singer.
What a GREAT First Big Hit!
His first big song off his debut 1990 album titled Young Man, was a great song called, Only Here For A Little While. There are a few songs I have played on the radio in 41 years of this format where the phone was ringing halfway through the first play asking what the song was, and who was singing it. Josh Turner, Long Black Train, Clint Black, Better Man, Dwight Yoakam, Honkytonk Man, Blue from LeeAnn Rimes, Where've You Been, Kathy Mattea, I'm sure there are more, but the list is short. But Billy Deans first big hit, was one of them. It was a song that made you feel good and it satisfied every part of the country fan base with it's timeless versatility. It went to #3, and I have no idea how it was not #1. Dean was on his way. Then the next single, Somewhere In My Broken Heart sealed the deal winning the ACM Song Of The Year 1992, and he won as well for best new male artist.
This Was A Very Big Hit!
Over the next decade or so, Dean would have great success, and record some really fantastic songs. His second album, Billy Dean, really launched him into big success. Four big songs off of it, including his signature song, Billy The Kid, You Don't Count The Cost, If There Hadn't Been You, and Jen's favorite, Only The Wind. All top-five songs, all flat out good. He was touring with some great acts too, including The Judds and then Clint Black and he had a high gear career going.
This Was a GREAT Ramake Of A Classic Song!
1993, the Fire In The Dark album was another hit, with a remake of the Dave Mason classic, We Just Disagree and three other big songs. He was touring with the decades biggest stars now, including Alan Jackson which was a coveted slot in 1993. For the next number of years Dean would continue to have hits, release albums and have success. Some of it bigger than others, but there was always one absolute constant with him. The music was always high quality.
2004 - This Was A Popular Song
He recorded well into the 2000's with a very powerful song in 2004, Let Them Be Little which a whole lot of people really loved. He recorded with greats like, Suzy Bogguss, Kenny Rogers, Alison Krause and others. Was Billy Dean another one of these very talented acts that came along during the boom and maybe got a bit lost in the shuffle? Not sure, but what I am sure of is the quality of his music, because it was always first class. In all about 20 hit songs and a ton of top 10's.
His Signature Song
Billy Dean, very underrated from a very big time in Country. If you're not familiar with him, you should get to know him. Great talent, and great music.