Rewinding the Country Charts: In 1986, Reba McEntire Went From Nashville to 'New England'
Her nod to the north topped Hot Country Songs & sparked her first No. 1 on Top Country Albums.
Thirty years ago this week, then 31-year-old Reba Neil McEntire's "Whoever's in New England," penned by Kendal Franceschi and Quentin Powers, crowned Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart (dated May 31, 1986).
The title track from McEntire's 10th studio album tells the story of a wife suspecting her husband of having an affair while on business north but who pledges her loyalty regardless. Perfect story material, the song sparked McEntire's first video (filmed in the hub of New England: Boston) and a successful acting career alongside her music.
McEntire's fifth Hot Country Songs No. 1 helped its parent LP become her first of 12 Top Country Albums leaders. At the 1986 Country Music Association Awards, which McEntire hosted with John Schneider (The Dukes of Hazzard), she won the coveted entertainer of the year trophy, as well as best female vocalist (her third of four straight wins).
McEntire has notched 59 Hot Country Songs top 10s, the most among women, while her 24 No. 1s are second only to Dolly Parton's 25. McEntire remains chart royalty; her 2015 set Love Somebody debuted at No. 1 on Top Country Albums.