Remember When Dierks Bentley Scored His First No. 1 Hit?
Dierks Bentley was one of the rare artists who scores a No. 1 hit with a debut single. Bentley landed his first No. 1 hit on Sept. 27, 2003, with "What Was I Thinkin'."
Bentley co-wrote "What Was I Thinkin'" with his producer, Brett Beavers, and Deric Ruttan, and released it as the first single from his self-titled debut album on April 13, 2003. The record's production sounded very different from anything else on country radio at the time, built around an up-tempo but rugged acoustic guitar riff and featuring a lead dobro riff that was actually one of the hooks of the song.
Bentley gave a charming performance on the track, in which the protagonist looks back on a wild night he spent with a " beauty from south Alabama" whose "daddy had a heart like a nine-pound hammer / Think he even did a little time in the slammer / What was I thinkin'?" as the lyrics explained.
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"Oh, I knew there'd be hell to pay / But that crossed my mind a little too late," the singer admits. "'Cause I was thinkin 'bout a little white tank top / Sittin' right there in the middle by me / I was thinkin' 'bout a long kiss, man just gotta get goin' where the night might lead / I know what I was feelin' / But what was I thinkin'."
The attention-grabbing track caught on at radio quickly, landing at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart just five months later and introducing Bentley as one of country music's hottest new rising stars. Bentley possessed a very distinctive voice, and his shaggy long hair and laid-back attitude also helped differentiate him from his contemporaries. So did a clever video for the song that featured Bentley's trusty dog, Jake, in the first of many appearances.
Bentley would go on to score two more hits with the album in "My Last Name" and "How Am I Doin'," and his debut album sold more than a million copies, setting him on the course to a long run of hits that continues to this day and helping him build a career as a country music headliner. "What Was I Thinkin'" remains a highlight of Bentley's live sets.
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