Song: “The Way It Is” by Bruce Hornsby & the Range
Reached #1: December 13, 1986 (their first, 1 week)
In their typically-blunt style, the drones at Wikipedia summed up the dilemma posed by this song: “Hornsby’s recording career started with the biggest hit he has had to date”.
Hornsby had been kicking around the music scene in and around Williamsburg, Virginia – his home town – before getting his first recording deal. This was the first single off their first album – and the fact that it got to #1 would have seemed to portend good things.
However, after the #4 “Mandolin Rain” and the #5 “The Valley Road”, Hornsby hasn’t sniffed the top 10 with any of his projects – the Range, the Noisemakers, his duo with Ricky Skaggs, or his solo work.
Not that he’s disappeared – it appears that he’s just very happy going wherever music takes him instead of worrying about singles. After all, how many pop artists can lay claim to being a member of the Grateful Dead for two years?
Currently, Hornsby splits his time between watching his sons play college sports, his ownership in Williamsburg radio station “The Tide”, and his newest project, the Bruce Hornsby Trio.
Tomorrow, one of the biggest beneficiaries of Motown’s system of test-driving a single before giving it to one of the big guns…
Other songs that reached #1 on December 13:
2003 – “Hey Ya!” by Outkast (their second, 9 weeks)
2008 – “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Beyoncé (her fifth, 4 weeks)