Country Throwback: Reba McEntire Dazzles Crowd with ‘The Fear of Being Alone’ in 1998

by Suzanne Halliburton

Reba McEntire and her 22nd album represented something of a comeback for one of country music’s signature stars.

The album was called “What If It’s You.” And the first single released was “The Fear of Being Alone.”

Check out Reba McEntire singing this hit at a concert stop back in 1998 and then keep reading for more details.

Back in 1998, Reba McEntire was in her fourth year of touring with the country duo, Brooks and Dunn. McEntire took turns with the duo on who would end each show. A review by the Washington Post said McEntire performed some new stuff, but that most of the concert had a greatest hits sound to it.

So a Reba McEntire concert in the 1990s would have featured “Is There Life Out There” and “You Lie.” Or “The Greatest Man I Never Knew,” “Till You Love Me” and “Does He Love You.” In other words, McEntire hit the love theme hard.

And Reba McEntire could especially sell a song like “The Fear of Being Alone,” the first single from “What If It’s You.” That’s the album that followed “Starting Over.”

For McEntire, “Starting Over” was a bit of a step back. Only one single made it to the top 10. And that was the cover of Lee Greenwood’s “Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands.” Meanwhile, “What If It’s You” sported a No. 1 single and two songs that reached No. 2.

Walt Aldridge and Bruce Miller wrote “Fear of Being Alone.” Country music fans probably know Aldridge’s work since his songs were really big in the 1980s. He was responsible for Ronnie Milsap’s “There’s No Gettin’ Over Me.” He also wrote for Barbara Mandrell and Earl Thomas Conley. Travis Tritt also sang two of his songs years later. And now, he had Reba McEntire.

“The Fear of Being Alone” peaked at No. 2 on the country charts in December 1996. And it really fit Reba McEntire, who was in her early 40s when she recorded the song. The title basically tells a lot of what the song is about.

Two people meet. They drink some wine, then they reconvene their date by the river. They do a lot of talking. Do they love each other? Or are they merely comfortable with the idea of being a couple?

A sampling of the lyrics that Reba McEntire turned into a terrific musical story:

“So I asked you to take me some place quiet. We wound up at the river for the rest of the night. Somewhere around the break of day, I could hear it coming from a mile away.

“So don’t say that word, not the one we both heard too much. You may think you do, but you don’t. It’s just the fear of being alone. I must admit it’s been fun, but that’s no reason to jump the gun.

“If this is real, time will tell. So let me bite my tongue and remind myself. So don’t say that word, not the one we both heard too much. You may think you do, but you don’t. It’s just the fear of being alone.”