Thinkin’ ‘Bout the Good Old Days: Remembering Naomi Judd

by Clayton Edwards

Today, the country music world is reeling from the loss of Naomi Judd. For those of us on the outside looking in, the timing of her passing makes it hurt more. She passed just one day before she and Wynonna were to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, an honor that has been a long time coming. The iconic mother-daughter duo didn’t just have some of the biggest and best hits of the 80s and 90s. Naomi’s vocals and stage presence inspired generations of singers and will continue to do so.

Additionally, this tragedy comes just weeks after The Judds announced their Final Tour. For a fleeting moment, it seemed like one of the finest duos in country music history was coming back. Unfortunately, mental illness does not care about our plans, hopes, or dreams.

Instead of dwelling on the sadness of Naomi Judd’s passing, we at Outsider are choosing to think about the good old days. We’re looking back to the days when Naomi and Wynonna were at their peak. At the same time, we’re taking this time to celebrate the legacy of one of the genre’s greatest vocalists. Take a trip down memory lane with us and crank up our new playlist Thinkin’ ‘Bout the Good Old Days: Remembering Naomi Judd on Spotify.

The Musical Legacy of Naomi Judd

Wynonna had a successful solo career outside of the Judds but Naomi did not. So, to celebrate the matriarch’s legacy, we have to delve into the duo’s discography. The playlist is packed with songs from every stage of their career. Here are a few examples of what you’ll find.

“Mama He’s Crazy” (Kenny O’Dell)

No one knew that Naomi and Wynonna Judd would become household names when they released their first single “Had a Dream (For the Heart)” in 1983. However, everyone in the country music world knew their names after “Mama He’s Crazy” hit the airwaves the next year. It was the first of 14 chart-toppers.  

If not for the single “Light of the Stable” from A Country Christmas, Volume 3 which failed to chart, “Mama He’s Crazy” would’ve been the first in a long line of number-one singles.

The Judds released “Mama He’s Crazy” as the second single from their debut EP Wynonna & Naomi. Later that year, they included it on their debut full-length release Why Not Me.

“Girls’ Night Out” (Brent Maher, Jeffrey Bullock)

“Girls’ Night Out” was the Judds’ fifth single and third chart-topper. More importantly, it marked the beginning of Naomi and Wynonna Judds’ undisputed chart dominance. For the next few years, they would burn up the country airwaves with one hit after another.

The Judds released “Girls’ Night Out” as the second single from Why Not Me. It was also the second chart-topper on the record. However, “Light of the Stable” dropped between the album’s lead single and this one.

“Let Me Tell You About Love” (Carl Perkins, Paul Kennerley, Brent Maher)

“Let Me Tell You About Love” was the third single and second chart-topper from the Judds’ 1989 album River of Love. Additionally, it was their 14th and final number-one single. However, it did not mark the end of their hitmaking ability. For the rest of their recording career, their singles would miss the charts completely or land comfortably in the top 40. It is important to note that the duo released 28 singles only four of those failed to chart.

The Judds ended this chapter with a bang, though. The song features the powerful voices of Naomi and Wynonna over the iconic guitarwork of Carl Perkins.

Remembering Naomi Judd

Lately, we’re hearing more and more about Naomi Judd’s mental health as well as her tumultuous familial relationships. And yes, the conversation surrounding mental health, in general, is an important one to have. However, I think we, as fans, should take a moment to tune all of that out and focus on the fact that Naomi was an icon who left behind a musical legacy that will outlive all of us.

I’d like to leave you with a quote from Naomi that you can carry with you. “Hope is a gift we give ourselves, and it remains when all else is gone.”