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The Story Behind The Song “Fourteen Carat Mind” By Gene Watson

The Story Behind The Song “Fourteen Carat Mind” By Gene Watson
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Gene Watson‘s legacy as a consistent hitmaker in country music from 1975 to 1989 is a remarkable story of talent and perseverance. Despite achieving an impressive 21 singles in Billboard’s Top Ten during this time, it’s intriguing to note that only one of these hits soared to the top spot: “Fourteen Carat Mind.”

The backstory of “Fourteen Carat Mind” adds a touch of serendipity to Watson’s journey. One fateful night, while winding down on his tour bus, Watson stumbled upon the song buried in a pile of demo tapes. Despite its unconventional format on a reel-to-reel tape, Watson’s curiosity got the best of him, leading him to give it a listen. From the moment he heard the distinctive voice of renowned songwriter Dallas Frazier demoing “Fourteen Carat Mind,” Watson knew he had found something special.

>>READ ALSO: Gene Watson Turns Dallas Harms’ Song “Paper Rosie” into a Hit

Interestingly, “Fourteen Carat Mind” coincided with a significant change in Watson’s appearance—he ditched his signature “greaser” hairstyle for a new look, complete with dry curls and a freshly grown beard. This transformation graced the cover of his “Old Loves Never Die” album, with “Fourteen Carat Mind” serving as its standout single. Its debut on Billboard’s country singles chart on October 3, 1981, marked the beginning of a triumphant new chapter for Watson, culminating in its ascent to the number one spot on January 9, 1982.


The timing of Watson’s makeover and the success of “Fourteen Carat Mind” sparked speculation among fans and bandmates alike. However, Watson himself views it as purely coincidental.

A proud Texan through and through, Watson maintains residences in Palestine and Paris, Texas. His musical journey began at a tender age, with his first record released at just sixteen. The breakout success of “Love In The Hot Afternoon” in 1975 allowed Watson to bid farewell to his day job as an auto body repairman in Houston, paving the way for a remarkable career filled with classic country hits like “Farewell Party,” “Paper Rosie,” and “Memories To Burn,” among others.

While many of Watson’s songs found their way to the upper echelons of the charts, it’s “Fourteen Carat Mind” that stands out as his lone number one hit, solidifying his status as a country music legend.

>>READ ALSO: Watch Gene Watson Perform his Most Famous Song ‘Love in The Hot Afternoon’


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