Here’s the story of a tune that certainly didn’t go down as one of Country’s biggest hits, but it’s the song that showcases Lorrie Morgan’s talent as a singer more than any other: 1992’s “Something In Red.”
Morgan had signed with RCA in 1988. She released her first single for the label in December of that year, “Trainwreck of Emotion,” which went Top Twenty. Bigger releases followed and Lorrie continued on as a solid hitmaker with RCA through the mid-‘90s, long after Whitley’s death on May 9, 1989. She logged a total of fourteen singles that landed in the Top Ten, including three number ones.
Meanwhile, songwriter Angela Kaset had been composing songs for one publishing company and another for some fifteen years in Nashville. She had gotten a few album cuts, but no singles. Angela was working for a publisher and when her contract came up for renewal, the company chose not to extend it, marking the first time she had ever been canned from a writing gig. Being out of work hit her pretty hard, and the next few months were tough, both emotionally and financially. A long winter was coming to an end and spring was on its way. On an early morning drive, Kaset remembers looking around and noticing some of the first hints of green. It fed her soul. She thought,
“Wow, there really is going to be a spring. There is going to be a break to all this darkness and gloom. It’s so good to see something in green.”
Right away, her observance triggered a song idea. Angela thought she might write a song called “Something In Green” which of course would be about jealousy. The storyline would be about a woman out shopping and the clerk asks if she could help her, and the lady says “I’m looking for something in green.” Kaset liked the idea but realized she couldn’t write an entire song about jealousy. She needed another place to start, so she took the story back a few notches in her mind. Sticking with colors as the centerpiece for her idea, Angela thought,
“If this woman was in the store looking for something else, what other colors might she choose?”
There are many colors that have emotional significance, and fortunately, they are good rhyming words, too (red, blue, green and white were chosen for the song).
Something in Red
Red seemed to be the color of attraction and the one that calls attention to itself. Kaset decided red would be her new starting point, and after arriving home, she spent the rest of the day writing the lyrics to “Something In Red.” After several months of riding the emotional roller coaster regarding the uncertainty of her songwriting career, the new song was quite transformative because Angela signed on with another publishing company solely on the strength of “Something In Red.”
Kaset immediately pitched the song to Lorrie Morgan via her producer Richard Landis, but she passed on it. Landis thought “Something In Red” had potential, and suggested Lorrie listen to it again, this time all the way through and more carefully. Morgan obliged and after the second listen, she gave Richard an enthusiastic “thumbs up,” and took it into the studio. Exactly three years to the day after Keith Whitley’s death, Lorrie’s recording of “Something In Red” debuted on Billboard’s country singles chart on May 9, 1992, later reaching #14 for a high-water mark. It enjoyed a five-month chart run, longer than many number one hits.
Kaset says the most interesting thing about “Something In Red” was that a lot of men have come up to her in the years since, saying how much the song influenced them. She was surprised at that because she thought it would appeal only to women. Once, Angela received a letter from this woman who claimed she had a better way to end the song, and that she’d be happy to come in as a co-writer on it because of the revised ending. The woman had written a closing verse with the narrator looking for something in black, with the guy dying! Kaset understandably decided to pass on this suggestion!
Lorrie Morgan, Something in Red