Why Does it Have to Be (Wrong or Right)

Album: Wheels (1986)
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • This #1 Country hit is about adultery. The singer is seeing a married woman, who is trying to end the affair. The singer wonders to himself why does it have to be so cut and dry. Speaking to us in a 2013 interview, Restless Heart pianist and founding member Dave Innis recalled: "I remember thinking it was a little bit controversial at the time in terms of its content, but such a great feel." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lily - Argyle, TX
  • This was written by the Nashville songwriters Donny Lowery and Randy Sharp. In 1986, Nashville had not yet experienced anything quite like Randy Sharp. A rebel in the ways of lyrical etiquette, to this day songwriter Sharp chooses to toe the line in terms of content and style; and he has succeeded in producing hit upon hit upon hit.
    When he was paired with Don Lowery to co-write this song, Restless Heart didn't even exist. At the time, Tim DuBois, co-founder of Arista Records, was busy forming an idea. According to Randy, "The members of Restless Heart were all friends, and they were all working together all the time anyway. But Ted got the idea that these young sessions players that he was seeing at all the recording dates really should think about being their own band, because these guys were already a working ensemble."
    This song, says Randy, "Was so against the rules in almost every respect. And there was no Pop side of Country yet when we wrote that. It was a very straight Country market. So Don and I were just writing to entertain each other. The premise of this song was really contrary to that very conservative Country mentality. We’re talking about basically, Why am I limited to one? Why do I have to just be in love with one person at a time? I had no expectation of that story line making it on Country radio. But the demo had all of those harmonies on it. So we were just being really indulgent and creating something that we were entertained by. And of course, being kind of young men at that time, both had asked ourselves that question more than once. And it was a legitimate question and a legitimate song. Just the idea of getting it cut in the Country… we just didn’t see it happening. "
    "But we turned it in, and it just happened Tim DuBois was looking to do a Pop/Country band with the best players in town, and they were looking for something that was really elaborate vocally, and was a little outside of the expected story lines. And we sent him that song, and the band got really excited and cut it, and it was actually a bit Pop, too. Both Country and Pop, it’s one of the 100 Most Played Songs."
  • One of the original crossover bands, Restless Heart was formed in 1984, boasting "the cream of the crop of the sessions players in Nashville," says Randy Sharp. "Their stuff got played in both Country and Pop formats a lot, and they were put together specifically to do something different, and a little bit more pop-ish." Through 8 CDs and several personnel changes, they are among the top-selling bands in Country music. (Read more in our interview with Randy Sharp.)
  • Dave Innis told us that the band "did some minor editing" on the lyrics after hearing Sharp and Lowery's demo. He recalled: "One of the lines originally was, 'If you think this is not where you belong, there's no need to carry on.' And we changed it to, 'But we both know this is not where you belong, there's no need to carry on,' to make it more mutually responsible."

Comments

Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Cheerleaders In Music Videos

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TV

90210 to Buffy to Glee: How Songs Transformed TVSong Writing

Shows like Dawson's Creek, Grey's Anatomy and Buffy the Vampire Slayer changed the way songs were heard on TV, and produced some hits in the process.

Def Leppard Quiz

Def Leppard QuizMusic Quiz

Can you name Def Leppard's only #1 hit in America? Get rocked with this adrenalized quiz.

Prince

PrinceFact or Fiction

Prince is shrouded in mystery, making him an excellent candidate for Fact or Fiction. Is he really a Scientologist? Does he own an exotic animal?

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & Palmer

Greg Lake of Emerson, Lake & PalmerSongwriter Interviews

Greg talks about writing songs of "universal truth" for King Crimson and ELP, and tells us about his most memorable stage moment (it involves fireworks).

Guy Clark

Guy ClarkSongwriter Interviews

Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett are just a few of the artists who have looked to Clark for insightful, intelligent songs.