September 23

Gene Watson Songs That Became The Standard Bearer For Genuine, Traditional Country Music

Gene Watson came into the country music scene in the middle of the 1970s as the heir to the kind of straight-ahead hard Texas country pioneered by legendary artists Ray Price and George Jones. Gene Watson songs brought the old-fashioned sound a breath of fresh air with lyrical and musical tweaks, so his recordings matched up to the 1970s’ country airwaves – while making sure Texas tradition is intact.

Soon enough, Watson became a fixture in the country chart. His powerful vocal performances that held true to his Texas music roots earned him a reputation as one of the best ballad singers. Truly, his absence from country music would have left a gaping hole.

With that in mind, we’ve gathered some of Gene Watson‘s best hits throughout the decades. Keep on scrolling below to find out.

1. Love in the Hot Afternoon

From: Love in the Hot Afternoon (1975)

Watson achieved his first top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart when this steamy ballad ranked No. 3 on the said chart. “Love in the Hot Afternoon” finds Watson falling head over heels in love with a girl he just met and is full of mystery. It went on vividly to illustrate a passionate encounter on a hot afternoon.

2. Paper Rosie

From: Paper Rosie (1977)

This song was written by country singer Dallas Harms, who released the song in 1975. “Paper Rosie” tells the story of a young man buying a paper rose from an elderly female vendor outside a tavern. Soon enough, the church bells started ringing, and choir voices echoed – suggesting that a funeral was happening nearby.

He later realized that the funeral was for the woman whom he bought the rose from.

3. Fourteen Carat Mind

From: Old Loves Never Die (1981)

While Watson kept a position being one of the genre’s most consistent hitmakers, it’s surprising that only one of his songs made it to the top spot. “Fourteen Carat Mind” was Watson’s only No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart – where it remained atop for the entire week, spending a total of fifteen weeks on that chart.

4. Farewell Party

From: Reflections (1979)

This sad song did not only leave a mark on the country chart – peaking at No. 5 – it also marked the hearts of many music lovers. Written by Lawton Williams, the somber ballad tells the story of a man envisioning the day he dies.

Watson performed the song in clubs for several years before putting it into a record. His version was such a success that he named his band Farewell Party Band.

In addition to Watson, “Farewell Party” has been covered by several notable artists – including Little Jimmy Dickens and Alan Jackson. Still, country fanatics consider it Watson’s signature tune.

5. You’re Out Doing What I’m Here Doing Without

From: Sometimes I Get Lucky (1983)

Here’s another chart-topper by Watson. Many country fans absolutely relate to the song that it peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. It tells the story of a man who believes his lover is making a fool out of him. But he’s had enough, and he’s done putting up with what she’s putting him through.

6. What She Don’t Know Won’t Hurt Her

From: This Dream’s on Me (1982)

Watson finds himself feeling guilty for making his wife believe that he does not cheat on her whenever they’re not together. While he finds comfort in the thought that what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her, it’s absolutely killing him inside.

7. Got No Reason Now for Goin’ Home

From: Heartaches and Love and Stuff (1984)

This is probably the saddest song Watson has ever released. It tells the story of a man whose wife left him for another man. And now that she’s gone, he no longer has a reason to go home. So, he ended up drinking in some bar, missing her, and thinking about her.

8. Should I Come Home (Or Should I Go Crazy)

From: Should I Come Home (1979)

Written by Joe Allen, the song finds Watson begging his woman to sort out her feelings because he’s been lately seeing all the signs of a relationship that’s about to end. He’s asking her to make up her mind as quickly as possible as he’s losing his mind.

“If you love me, then think it all over. So make up your mind, or I’ll lose mine,” Watson sings.

9. Nothing Sure Looked Good on You

From: Should I Come Home (1979)

Here’s another sad ballad by Watson. It tells the story of a man whose lover left him for a greener pasture. He laments how she used to tell him that all she needed were the simple things that he had plenty of and how they had always lived in love. 

However, the woman now enjoys the lavish life of living in a mansion on the hill, driving flashing foreign cars, laughing on a Caribbean cruise, and having plenty of time to kill.

10. Pick the Wildwood Flower

From: Reflections (1979)

Here’s another song written by Joel Allen. The song tells the story of a young man who left his hometown in Texas to chase his dreams and hit the road to freedom in Dallas. Sadly, making a living in such a big city was not easy enough.

Some More Gene Watson Songs That Remained True To His Texas Music Root

While Gene Watson’s star started fading as the 1980s came to a close, he never stopped doing the thing he loves the most. He went on recording and performing into the 2010s. Check out some more of his greatest hits below.

  • Where Love Begins
  • Memories to Burn
  • Don’t Waste It on the Blues
  • I Don’t Need a Thing at All
  • One Sided Conversation
  • This Dream’s on Me
  • Speak Softly (You’re Talking to My Heart)
  • Sometimes I Get Lucky and Forget
  • You Could Know as Much About a Stranger
  • Drinkin’ My Way Back Home
  • Forever Again
  • The Old Man and His Horn
  • Cowboys Don’t Get Lucky All the Time
  • No One Will Ever Know
  • Raisin’ Cane in Texas

So, what do you think of this list of Gene Watson songs? Did you find your favorites?


Gene Watson

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