With a CMA “Vocal of the Year” and a TNN/Music City News award for “Best Vocal Collaboration,” Reba McEntire’s “Does He Love You” with Linda Davis was nothing short of a hit.
McEntire and Davis’ vocals blended right in with the song’s portrayal of a unique conversation between two women in a love triangle. It’s safe to say that the pairing worked really well with the song.
So how did the pair find each other for this duet?
“Does He Love You” was written by Billy Stritch and Sandy Knox in 1982. Stritch wanted to write a song that could be sung by two women in a love triangle, so he recorded the song with a trio.
It was then pitched to Liza Minnelli and Barbara Mandrell, but it was McEntire who ended up recording the song.
McEntire’s first choice as duet partner was Linda Davis, who was a vocalist in her road band at the time.
But Narvel Blackstock, McEntire’s husband and manager, informed her that MCA Records (McEntire’s label) would prefer it if she records the song with someone more established. The names that came up were Trisha Yearwood and Wynonna Judd, both artists under MCA Records as well.
So McEntire called Tony Brown, the record producer she and Judd were working with at the time. Brown told McEntire that Judd usually stays away from record songs with “marital problems,” but added that she might agree to record the song if McEntire asks her personally.
McEntire recorded a demo and submitted it to Judd. When she failed to receive a reply, she then went on and recorded the song with Davis.
The results of the pairing proved to be remunerative as “Does He Love You” soon reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, and both McEntire and Davis received a Grammy for “Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.”
Linda Davis, Reba McEntire