Rewinding the Country Charts: In 1992, the Hits Came for Mary Chapin Carpenter
Released 25 years ago, "Come On Come On" produced seven singles, including her first pop crossover.
By 1992, Mary Chapin Carpenter had become a regular force on Billboard‘s country charts, having notched eight top 20 singles on Hot Country Songs since her 1989 chart debut.
Her fourth studio LP, however, took her to new heights, as, on July 18, 1992, Come On Come On became her first Top Country Albums top 10, debuting at its No. 6 peak.
Sparked by radio-ready collaborations with Don Schlitz (who broke through as the writer of Kenny Rogers‘ “The Gambler” before authoring more than a dozen more No. 1s), the set nearly doubled Carpenter’s count of top 20 hits on Hot Country Songs, yielding a whopping seven through 1994, including the No. 2-peaking country-pop sixth and seventh singles “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” and “I Take My Chances.”
Meanwhile, jangly third single “Passionate Kisses,” written by Lucinda Williams, became Carpenter’s first crossover hit, reaching the top 15 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.
Come On Come On‘s seven singles, in order of release: the flirty, Lyle Lovett/Dwight Yoakam-referencing “I Feel Lucky” (No. 4 on Hot Country Songs); traditional country ballad “Not Too Much to Ask,” with Joe Diffie (No. 15); “Kisses” (No. 4); “The Hard Way” (No. 11); the Mark Knopfler-penned “The Bug” (No. 16); and “He Thinks” and “Chances.”
The album has sold 2.9 million copies to date, according to Nielsen Music, marking Carpenter’s best-selling set. It also won her two Grammy Awards, as “Lucky” and “Kisses” garnered her best country vocal performance, female, honors in 1993 and 1994, respectively.
The success of Come On Come On helped lay the groundwork for Carpenter’s next set, 1994’s Stones in the Road, her lone No. 1 on Top Country Albums; the latter LP also generated her first Hot Country Songs No. 1, “Shut Up and Kiss Me.”
Inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, Princeton, N.J. native, Carpenter, 59, has rolled up 28 Hot Country Songs appearances, including nine top 10s. Her most recent album, 2016’s The Things That We Are Made Of, became her ninth Top Country Albums top 10 (while also hitting No. 3 on Americana/Folk Albums). The set furthers Carpenter’s hallmark of insightful, introspective lyrics (backed by easy musical hooks). “So many of the songs pose questions of how this happens, or that happens, from deep in the heart,” she told Billboard in 2016.
“What is important is that the questions are asked. It’s not necessarily that you have the answers. It’s the idea that these questions serve as markers for where you are in life.”