'Does He Love You,' Reba McEntire and Linda Davis' Classic Duet, Could've Sounded Very Different
By: Grace Lenehan Vaughn
In 1993, Reba McEntire released "Does He Love You," featuring Linda Davis, as the lead single from her album, Greatest Hits Volume Two. In the song, McEntire plays the part of a wife whose husband is cheating on her and Davis is the mistress with whom he's being unfaithful. Throughout the song, the two women sing to one another about the man they love, wondering which one he loves the most. McEntire starts off the heartbreaking first verse, which details the situation from her point of view.
"I've known about you for a while now / When he leaves me, he wears a smile now / As soon as he's away from me / In your arms is where he wants to be," she sings to Davis.
In the second verse, Davis chimes in, noting that while she and the man have a few nights together, McEntire is the one he's committed to.
"I never see his face in the early morning light / You have his mornings, his daytime / And sometimes, I have his nights," she sings.
They then come together in the chorus as they ponder, "Does he love you? Like he loves me?"
The track features one of the most impressive vocal displays in country music, and it went on to become a hit, landing at No. 1 on the charts and winning a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Collaboration as well as a CMA Award for Vocal Event Of The Year. McEntire has invited Kelly Clarkson to sing Davis' part of the song on a few occasions, and it has been covered by many artists including Clarkson and Martina McBride, Jamie O'Neal and Carrie Underwood, Lady A's (formerly Lady Antebellum) Hillary Scott (Davis' daughter) and Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild, Liza Minelli and Donna Summer and Patti LaBelle. While the original version with McEntire and Davis is the one country fans know and love, the song could have had a very different life.
Who Wrote 'Does He Love You'?
"Does He Love You" was written by Sandy Knox and Billy Stritch in 1982, and was originally recorded by two female members of the trio Stritch was in at the time. Before the track ended up McEntire's hands, it was pitched to Barbara Mandrell and Liza Minelli. Once McEntire acquired the song, she thought to include Davis, who was her backup singer at the time. While McEntire wanted to include Davis, her record label, MCA Records, thought she should choose a more "established" country singer like Wynonna Judd or Trisha Yearwood. So, McEntire contacted Tony Brown, who was a producer for both her and Judd. She then sent the song demo to Judd, but when she didn't hear back, she recorded it with Davis.
The official music video for "Does He Love You" is almost as iconic as the song itself. It's a cinematic video that shows the story play out between McEntire, Davis and the man in question.
Although it was released almost 30 years ago, "Does He Love You" still holds its relevance to the day and has found a home among McEntire's many meaningful duets, including "If You See Him, If You See Her," "Because Of You," "Every Other Weekend," and many more.
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