How Blue

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"How Blue"
Reba McEntire-How Blue.JPG
Single by Reba McEntire
from the album My Kind of Country
B-side "That's What He Said"
Released September 24, 1984
Format 45 RPM
Recorded 1984
Genre Country
Length 2:42
Label MCA Nashville
Songwriter(s) John Moffat
Producer(s) Harold Shedd
Reba McEntire singles chronology
"He Broke Your Memory Last Night"
"How Blue"
"Somebody Should Leave"
"He Broke Your Memory Last Night"
"How Blue"
"Somebody Should Leave"

"How Blue" is a song written by John Moffat, and recorded by American country music artist Reba McEntire. It was released in September 1984 as the first single from the album My Kind of Country. It was her third number one single on the Billboard country music chart and would be the first of a series of number one singles during the 1980s and 1990s.

Background and content[edit]

"How Blue" was recorded at the MCA studio in Nashville, Tennessee in 1984. The song was one of several new tracks released on McEntire's second MCA album, My Kind of Country, which mainly included cover versions of traditional country songs. The song itself was considered a departure from any of McEntire's previously released singles, as it contained a traditional sound, with fiddle and steel guitar in the background.[1] The song's content describes a woman who asks herself "how blue" or lonely she can feel until she has gotten over her lover, whom she had recently broken up with. The song's chorus explains the storyline:

How blue can you make me
How long till I heal
How can I go on loving you when you're gone
How blue can I feel?

Critical reception[edit]

Since its release as a single, "How Blue" has received positive critical reception from critics. Kurt Wolff of the book, Country Music: The Rough Guide called the song, "one of rootsiest songs she has ever recorded."[2] AllMusic's William Ruhlmann called the song, "the breakthrough she was looking for," and Rolling Stone also received "How Blue" well, eventually putting McEntire on their list of their "Top 5 Favorite Country Artists."[3] The country music website, My Kind of Country also praised "How Blue," commenting that it was a departure from any of McEntire's previous releases, stating, "The stripped-down, acoustic guitar and fiddle-driven arrangement was a far cry from anything McEntire had recorded before. Producer Harold Shedd had found the song and had to convince a reluctant Reba to record it. She initially felt that it was a man’s song, but she reconsidered when the line “ain’t you got a heart left in your breast” was changed to “chest”."[4]

Release and chart performance[edit]

"How Blue" was released on September 24, 1984 on MCA Nashville Records. The song reached number one on the Billboard Magazine country music chart months before My Kind of Country's release, reaching the top spot in January 1984. The song also peaked at number 6 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks charts around the same time. The song helped McEntire to win the Country Music Association Awards' "Female Vocalist of the Year" honor and was also regarded as a "new traditionalist" by many music critics, along with country artists, George Strait and Ricky Skaggs.[5]


Chart (1984–1985) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 1
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 6
Preceded by
"The Best Year of My Life"
by Eddie Rabbitt
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number one single

January 19, 1985
Succeeded by
"(There's A) Fire in the Night"
by Alabama


  1. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "My Kind of Country > Overview". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  2. ^ Wolff, Kurt. "Ch. 12 - Wild and Blue: Traditionalism Makes a Comeback". In Orla Duane. Country Music: The Rough Guide. London, England: Rough Guides Ltd. 
  3. ^ Rubiner Zinn, Megan. "Reba McEntire Biography". Musician Guide. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  4. ^ "Album review: My Kind of Country". My Kind of Retrieved 2009-08-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  5. ^ Ruhlmann, William. "Reba McEntire > Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  6. ^ "Reba McEntire – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Reba McEntire.

External links[edit]