Clint Black Week: Singer Wraps Up With New Recording of Classic ‘A Better Man’ [Watch]
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Clint Black Week is coming to an end at Taste of Country, and the singer is giving fans a big send-off by sharing a newly-recorded version of his career-making hit, “A Better Man.”
Black took over Taste of Country to share exclusive new content every day this week in celebration of the 25th anniversary of his landmark debut album, Killin’ Time, including new recordings of classic songs, retrospective interviews and more. He has saved the best for last, treating fans to a stripped-down version of “A Better Man,” which launched his career by giving him his first No. 1 hit in 1989.
“A Better Man” was the first single from Killin’ Time, and it rocketed Black to instant success, reaching No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart and becoming Billboard‘s top country song of 1989.
Black had just broken up with a longtime girlfriend, and he suggested the line, “I’m leaving here a better man” to co-writer Hayden Nicholas, who had the idea for the instrumental rhythm figure. They married the two ideas to write the song.
“Usually the musical idea would race to the finish line, and we’d have our structure completed,” Black recalls in the video above. “It would take hours and hours and days, or in some cases weeks to finish out the lyrics. I always look at that as kind of a jigsaw puzzle.”
The new recording of the song features Black in the studio with his core band members, who are the same musicians he drafted for the Killin’ Time album a quarter of a century ago. While it’s similar in tone and feel to the familiar studio version, it’s performed in a slightly stripped-down, looser feel that’s more like going to a Clint Black gig and seeing this collection of people play it in 2016, with the easy chemistry between the longtime collaborators visibly apparent.
The song has stood the test of time, and Black attributes that longevity to the uniqueness of the idea.
“A country song about leaving someone was usually going to be beating that someone over the head with that song,” he reflects. “Don’t you usually get something good out of a relationship? Especially the ones that last a while. Female listeners — and that’s a huge part of the audience — I think they had to have enjoyed hearing a guy singing about a girl and a relationship that didn’t work out, where there wasn’t something terribly wrong with the girl,” he adds with a laugh.
Black will include “A Better Man” and other classic tracks from Killin’ Time, as well as selections from across his long career, as he tours to promote his most recent album, On Purpose, this year.
Backstage at the 2015 ACM Awards With Clint Black