It’s hard to imagine Reba McEntire putting out a piece of work and it not being a commercial success, but that’s exactly what happened with her very first album in 1977.
On this date, Reba McEntire was released as the country music artist’s debut self-titled project. Some of the singles from the track list were able to eventually chart, but the album itself struggled and failed to reach the Billboard Country chart.
Reba’s first single was “I Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand,” followed by a cover of Jennifer Warnes’ “Right time of the Night,” with the last song to be released before the entire album being “Angel in Your Arms.” All three of the singles made their way onto the Billboard Country charts, but that success didn’t translate to the entire album.
Reba McEntire had mixed reviews from fans and critics. Reba’s powerful and recognizable voice was very much there at the age of 22, but many thought that the production that was added to her songs was a little over the top and distracting.
That complaint from country fans continued during Reba’s time with Mercury records, and finally ended in 1983 when McEntire dropped her longtime label and signed with MCA.
You would most likely remember her shining moment as a young artist, My Kind of Country, in 1984, which was a subtle shot at Mercury for not letting her be herself while she was with them (that album title makes more sense now doesn’t it?).
Reba actually produced five albums with Mercury, with none of them experiencing the levels of success as we are used to seeing with the 3-time Grammy winner.
With the debut of Reba McEntire, the country music legend didn’t even make royalty income from any of the songs or the entirety of the album. The expenses of the album were greater than the sales and profits, which is wild to think about considering the thunderous success Reba went on to have.
And if you go back and listen to the album, it’s not all that bad. Like I mentioned earlier, McEntire’s vocal talent is on full display, but it seems as though the clunky production around it might have distracted fans and critics from seeing the potential of the “future country music hall of famer.”
Take a listen to “I Don’t Want To Be A One Night Stand” and see what you think: