Top 10 Songs by The Judds (1984-1990)

It’s been four decades since The Judds released their debut single “Had a Dream (For the Heart),” off their 1983 EP Wynonna & Naomi. A year later, the mother and daughter duo of Wynonna and Naomi ventured into more songs together, spanning six albums—all of which hit the top of the charts—and left behind 14 No. 1 hits and 20 top 10s. Throughout their six years together, The Judds picked up five Grammy Awards, eight ACM awards, and nine CMAs.

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Though they disbanded in 1991, with Wynonna starting her solo career, The Judds continued performing together by the late ’90s with a New Year’s Eve concert in Phoenix, Arizona in 1999, followed by their 2000 Power to Change Tour. In 2010, The Judds embarked on what would be their last outing together, the Last Encore Tour, and reformed again for a 2015 residency in Las Vegas.

[RELATED: Watch The Judds’ Final Performance]

On April 11, 2022, The Judds stepped on stage together one final time to perform “Love Can Build a Bridge” during the 2022 CMT Music Awards.

In 2022, the duo was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, just one day after the death of Noami, who died on April 30 at the age of 76.

Honoring the 40th anniversary of the iconic country duo, here’s a look at 10 great songs by The Judds.

1. “Mama He’s Crazy” (1984)
Written by Kenny O’Dell

First released on The Judds’ 1983 EP, Wynonna & Naomi, “Mama He’s Crazy” was later rereleased on their first full-length album Why Not Me. “Mama He’s Crazy” was a No. 1 hit for the duo once it was released on Why Not Me. It marked the second No. 1 country song by a female duo since The Davis Sisters’ 1953 “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know,” and earned The Judds their first Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1985.

Mama, I found someone
Like you said would come along
He’s a sight and so unlike
Any man I’ve known

I was afraid to let him in
‘Cause I’m not the trustin’ kind
But now I’m convinced that he’s heaven sent
And must be out of his mind

2.Girls Night Out” (1984)
Written by  Brent Maher and Jeffrey Bullock

The third single off The Judds’ 1984 album Why Not Me, “Girls Night Out” was the duo’s third No. 1 and spent 14 weeks on the country chart. The song was co-written by Brent Maher, who produced all six of The Judds’ albums. Nearly 30 years later, The Judds used the title of the song for their Las Vegas residency in 2015.

Two-step or the Cotton Eye Joe
They can play ’em fast or they can play ’em slow
I can do ’em all just show me the floor
You can give me a little rock ‘n roll
Or even a waltz with the lights down low
I’ll still be dancin’ when they close the door

3. “Love Is Alive” (1984)
Written by Kent Robbins

Love: a running theme throughout many of The Judds’s songs. “Love Is Alive,” is a slow-moving ballad touching on all the ways love can endure. Another No. 1 hit for The Judds, “Love Is Alive” picked up a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song.

Love ain’t a candle
It doesn’t burn for one night
And need the dark to shine
Love is alive

And love ain’t just a word
In every dictionary
With no where defined
Love is a man and he’s mine

4. “Have Mercy” (1985)
Written by Paul Kennerley

Off The Judds’ second album, Rockin’ with the Rhythm, on the bluesier “Have Mercy,” Wynonna is begging her man for mercy after seeing him with another woman. The No. 1 hit was written by British songwriter Paul Kennerley, who also penned “Cry Myself To Sleep,” off the same album and previously wrote songs for his former wife Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, The Everly Brothers, Tanya Tucker, and Patty Loveless, among others. Kennerley would go on to co-write several more songs for the duo over the next few years.

Well, I was standing in line at the city bus stop
Soaked to the skin from ev’ry raindrop
I see you driving by just like a phantom jet
With your arm around some little brunette
You say you won’t be home because you’re working late
Honey, I’m no fool, you’ve been out on a date
The lipstick on your collar gives your game away
It’s strawberry red and mine’s pink rose

5. “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)” (1985)
Written by Jamie O’Hara

Also off The Judds’ second album, Rockin’ with the Rhythm, “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)” is a nostalgic look back to a time before the modern days, when things were less chaotic and moved a little slower. The song picked up the Grammy for Country Duo Vocal Group.

Grandpa, tell me ’bout the good old days
Sometimes it feels like this world’s gone crazy
Grandpa, take me back to yesterday
When the line between right and wrong
Didn’t seem so hazy

6. “Who Is This Babe” (1987)
Written by Don Potter

Penned by The Judds’ longtime producer and collaborator, Don Potter, who helped craft the duo’s sound and also worked with Wynonna on her solo albums, “Who Is This Babe” is worth a mention among the duo’s bigger hits. Released on The Judds’ only holiday album together, Christmas with The Judds, “Who Is This Babe” was an original track added to their classic renditions of “O Holy Night, ” “Silver Bells,” “Winter Wonderland,” and other traditional songs.

Who is this baby
Where did he come from
He’s the son of a carpenter
The chosen one
He’s the hope of the angels
A gift of his love
Just a child in a manger
Gods only son

7. “Change of Heart” (1987)
Written by Naomi Judd

The Judds’ third album, Heartland, opens with a cover of Elvis Presley‘s 1956 hit “Don’t Be Cruel” and courses through familial and loving tales around their traditional ballads and a more contemporary country sound. Written solely by Naomi Judd, “Change of Heart” was originally released on the European version of Heartland called Give a Little Love, and hit No. 1 in the UK. The duo later released the song on their 1988 Greatest Hits album, where it hit the top of the U.S. country charts.

When you were mine
I was still playing
And promises I made
Were just words I was saying
I was playing you for a fool
Breaking love’s precious rule
I did you so wrong
Guess you knew all along

8. “Give a Little Love” (1988)
Written by Paul Kennerly

“Give a Little Love,” released on The Judds Greatest Hits in 1988 centers around an ideal man who knows how to show a little love. The Judds won a Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal in 1989 for the hit.

Get this, you can be some big hunk, handsome, dark and tall
Talk to me in foreign tongues or with a southern drawl
Or be a man from old Siam, wear a pointed hat
I don’t care how you look, ’cause that ain’t where it’s at

9. “Let Me Tell You About Love” (1989)
Written by Carl Perkins, Paul Kennerley, Brent Maher

Co-written by Carl Perkins, on “Let Me Tell You About Love,” off The Judds’ fifth album, River of Time, they sing through biblical love stories, from Solomon and the Queen of Sheba to Sampson and Delilah. The album peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, and “Let Me Tell You About Love” hit No. 1. Perkins also plays guitar on the track and later worked with the duo on their 1993 compilation, The Judds: Greatest Hits Volume II.

Now Sheba, she was a beauty queen
The purtiest thing that you ever have seen
Solomon, he was a mighty wise
‘Til Sheba, she done caught his eye
The world would be in a dreadful fix
If it wasn’t for the love between the cats and chicks
This world wouldn’t amount to much
Without a hug and a kiss and a tender touch and

10. “Love Can Build a Bridge” (1990)
Written by Naomi Judd, Paul Overstreet, and John Barlow Jarvis

Originally written by Naomi Judd, “Love Can Build a Bridge” centers on the power of unity, and love. The song was also Naomi’s touching “goodbye” prior to The Judds disbandment in 1991, after she was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. The Judds won their fifth and final Grammy for “Love Can Build a Bridge” in 1992 for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

In 1995, Cher released a cover of the song on her 1995 The Greatest Hits album, featuring Chrissie Hynde, Neneh Cherry, and Eric Clapton.

[RELATED: Wynonna Judd Reflects on Mother Naomi’s Death: “This Cannot be How The Judds Story Ends”]

I would whisper love so loudly
Every heart could understand
That love and only love
Can join the tribes of man
I would give my heart’s desire
So that you might see
The first step is to realize
That it all begins with you and me

Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don’t you think it’s time?

Photo by Ebet Roberts/Getty Images

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