26 Years Ago: Martina McBride Hits No. 1 With ‘Wild Angels’
Twenty-six years ago today, on March 2, 1996, Martina McBride hit a new career milestone. It was on that date that the singer scored her first No. 1 hit, with "Wild Angels," her 10th single and the title track of her third studio album.
Written by Matraca Berg, Gary Harrison and Harry Stinson, "Wild Angels" was unlike anything Berg ever expected to write.
"I started it with Harry," she recalls to The Boot. "I don’t know what we were smoking that day, but it was a very lofty, kind of poetic, lyric. I heard it [recently] and thought, 'What was I thinking?'"
With lines such as, "Well it must've been hard, it must've been tough / Keeping up with crazy fools like us / 'Cause it's so easy to fall apart / We still break each other's heart sometimes / Spent some nights on the jagged side / Somehow we wake up in each other's arms," the lyrics of "Wild Angels" taught Berg an important lesson.
"Gary gave me an epiphany with that song," she says. "Get them a good, kick-a-- chorus, and you can write whatever you want to in the verses."
The success of "Wild Angels" may have been in part due to its daring video, which was shot on top of the Clock Tower Building in New York City.
"Up there, it's pretty dangerous. There's nothing to keep you from stepping off the side of the building," video director Thom Oliphant tells Songfacts. "For every shot of somebody, from Martina sitting on the side to the extras, there's three guys with safety harnesses crouched behind the ledge making sure that those people are attached to a bungee cord."
The Wild Angels album was nominated for a CMA for Album of the Year. The song was included on several of McBride's compilation albums, including Greatest Hits in 2001, Playlist: The Very Best of Martina McBride in 2008, and Hits and More in 2012.
See Martina McBride + More Country Stars Then and Now: