On This Day: John Anderson Takes ‘Swingin” to the Top in 1983

by Jim Casey

John Anderson scored a No. 1 hit with “Swingin’,” his best-selling single of all time, on March 26, 1983.

Don’t sleep on John Anderson’s career, or should it be “careers.” He was a musical force on the charts in both the early 1980s and the early 1990s. His distinctive voice helped usher in the neo-traditional movement of the 1980s with other like-minded artists, including George Strait, Keith Whitley, and more.

John Anderson Takes a Swing

John Anderson really hit his stride with the release of his fourth album, Wild & Blue, in 1982. The album’s title track became John’s first No. 1 single in December 1982.

By March 26, 1983, John had his second chart-topper with “Swingin’.” Penned by John and Lionel Delmore, “Swingin'” sang the praises of amorous neighbor Charlotte Johnson and a romance that began with a little “swingin’.” Front porch, that is. Or, if you’re John Anderson, “swangin’.”

The song was such a hit that it earned the CMA Award for Single of the year in 1983. It also helped John win the CMA Horizon Award for Best New Artist in 1983. He bested Reba McEntire and George Strait in the category, among others. Soon after, John nicknamed his Martin D-35 guitar, “Charlotte.”

Comeback Kid

By the mid-1980s, John’s singles were barely making a dent on the charts. During a stretch from 1986 to 1991, John released more than 10 singles, none of which cracked the Top 20.

But all that was about to change. John released his 12th studio album, Seminole Wind, in 1992. The album’s “Straight Tequila Night” reached No. 1, while the title track and “When It Come to You” became Top 5 hits.

John Anderson was back, baby. In 1994, John received the ACM Career Achievement Award after the success of Seminole Wind, and his follow-up album, Solid Ground, in 1993.

However, to this day, “Swingin'” is John’s best-selling single. It has been certified Gold by the RIAA for moving 500,000 units.