Clint Black released "A Better Man" as his debut single in February of 1989, and the song still resonates with listeners today. Early on in his career, however, Black was bolstered by one particular country icon who gave the song high praise.

Read on to learn the story behind "A Better Man," in Black's own words. 

You know, I don't remember a lot, other than that it was a different approach to a heartache song, and the idea that even though things weren't right, something good came out of it. And really trying to stick with a positive attitude about that.

I've gotten a lot of comments over the years about how people appreciated that twist -- how it wasn't, you know, "You're a jerk, goodbye," but rather, "Hey, something positive came out of this negative for me." And it's funny, I hadn't really thought about it in terms of whether there were a lot of country songs, or any country songs, that I grew up with that did that, but we made a conscious effort at it.

And then the approach, on the demo, was really kind of a Merle Haggard influence, for me. That was how I felt, and then all the comments we got about it being so Haggard-esque, it was like, "Yeah, we hit the nail on the head."

One of the first people I met when I came to Nashville was Mel Tillis. Mel said, "You're that "Better Man" guy, aren't you?" and I said, "Yeah." He said, "When I heard that song on the radio, I thought to myself -- and then he stuttered to get it out -- 'Merle sounds good!'"

First of all, just meeting Mel Tillis when I was fresh into town, and then having him give me that kind of praise? It was just priceless, priceless. I'll never forget it.

All of Clint Black's Albums, Ranked