J.D. Souther

You're Only Lonely

Song Review by

Detroit's John David Souther's Texas upbringing no doubt helped him to establish his smooth country-rock sound. He scored his first Top 40 hit as part of the Souther, Hillman, Furay Band in 1974 with "Fallin in Love," coming in at number 27 on the Billboard charts. After releasing his first two solo albums in the span of six years without much success, Souther finally cashed in with the title track to 1979's You're Only Lonely, his third solo release. "You're Only Lonely"'s formula is that of the perfect country-rock ballad: a slowed-down, dance-sway beat; delicate guitar (albeit without the twang) and romantic piano; and a sweet voice drenched with harmony going on about the pains of loneliness and heartache. Souther's dual country-pop charm is unearthed through the plea of fabricated desperation in his voice and in the truck-stop guilelessness of the lyrics, a foolproof combination for creating this type of radio ballad during the '70s. Aside from the apparent clich├ęs, the song struck a chord with pop and country fans alike, and the song peaked at number seven on the pop charts and even higher on the country charts. You're Only Lonely received some help from some pretty prominent musicians, as Souther hired Danny Kortchmar to play guitar, David Sanborn to add some sax, and even Phil Everly to help out with the harmony on one of the songs, as well as three members of the Eagles and even Jackson Browne. Although it was the only Top 40 hit from the album, Souther would resurface two years later, teaming up with James Taylor for the harmony-soaked "Her Town Too," which went to number 11 in March of 1981.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
You're Only Lonely 1979 Legacy / Columbia 3:48
No Image 1980
Original Soundtrack
Full Moon
No Image 1989
Various Artists
Columbia 3:45
No Image 1990
Original Soundtrack
Epic 0:00
No Image 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:47
Sounds of the Seventies: 1979 1990
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:47
Our Songs: Singers & Songwriters Encore 1992
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:47
Seventies Greatest Rock Hits, Vol. 15: Singers/Songwriters 1992
Various Artists
Priority Records 3:46
The Big Hurt: Songs to Cry By 1994
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:47
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:47
Radio Daze: Pop Hits of the 80's, Vol. 1 1995
Various Artists
Rhino 3:50
RNR Greatest Hits of the 70's, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:48
Pop in the 70's, Vol. 1 1999
Various Artists
Madacy Distribution / Madacy 3:47
The Ultimate Jukebox Hits of the '70s, Vol. 4-5 1999
Various Artists
Collectables 3:49
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:48
Greatest Hits of the 70's, Vol. 11 2000
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:49
No Image 2000
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:47
Greatest Hits of the 70's [Sony] 2001
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:49
A Year in Your Life: 1979, Vol. 2 2001
Various Artists
Definitive 3:43
Jukebox Hits of the '70s [Collectables] 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 3:49
40 Years of Jukebox Hits: The 50's, 60's, 70's & 80's 2002
Various Artists
Collectables 3:49
Desperado: The Best of Country Rock 2002
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:46
The Very Best of Singers and Songwriters 2003
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:46
Rock 'N' Roll's Greatest Hits 70's 2003
Various Artists
Platinum Disc 3:48
Straight from the Heart [Box Set] 2004
Various Artists
Universal Special Products 3:45
The Songwriter Collection 2006
Various Artists
Sony Music Distribution 3:46
The Seventies: Soft 70's Gold, Vol. 1 2007
Various Artists
American Beat Records 3:49
Border Town: The Very Best of J.D. Souther 2007 Salvo 3:45
'70s Romantic Classics 2008
Various Artists
StarVista 3:46
Country Ballads [Sony BMG] 2008
Various Artists
Sony BMG 3:47
Romancing the 70s: Lovin' You 2008
Various Artists
Time / Life Music 3:46
A Natural History 2011 eOne 4:07
Hard to Find 45s on CD, Vol. 14: 70s & 80s Pop Classics 2012
Various Artists
Eric Records 3:47
Romancing the '60s [Time] 2013
Various Artists
StarVista / Time / Life Music 3:46