Here is Part 3 of the Greatest Country Songs of the ’90s…
100 Greatest Songs of the ’90s – 60 to 41
60) Hard Workin’ Man – Brooks & Dunn
In 1991, Brooks & Dunn emerged on the country music scene and changed the way fans perceived the genre. Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn were struggling solo acts, but together they were a huge success. After their debut album sold over six million copies and made them overnight superstars, the guys released their sophomore set. The lead off and title single was Hard Workin’ Man. The song is an ode to the hard working folks in the US. Nobody could have done this song better than Kix and Ronnie. Kix rocked the track with his energy and Ronnie added his one-of-a-kind vocals. Now on their last rodeo tour, the guys will soon separate. Their legend is forever stamped on country music.
59) She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful – Sammy Kershaw
Starting in 1990 and running for about 8-10 years, Sammy Kershaw had a great run as a country star. His biggest hit and currently only #1 hit was She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful. The song is for all the women out there that don’t know it, as Sammy puts it. Many of the great women out there don’t realize that men simply love the way they look when they don’t realize it. The song has a great melody and is still extremely popular on country radio. Sammy still tours with his band each year and She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful is still one of the most popular in the set.
58) Life’s a Dance – John Michael Montgomery
As 1993 kicked off in the US, a young, energetic guy with the biggest dimples you’ve ever seen emerged on the country music scene with an infectious debut single. Life’s a Dance became the first of many big hits for John Michael Montgomery. The song became a signature hit for JMM and that’s impressive given the number of quality hits he had over his career. Some say the song is an obvious rip off of Garth Brooks’ The Dance, but in reality Life’s a Dance does just fine on its own. The song is incredibly catchy and is requested on radio stations all over the US today. It’s a great example of why country music was great in the ’90s.
57) Small Town Saturday Night – Hal Ketchum
In 1991, the major label debut single from singer Hal Ketchum – Small Town Saturday Night – was released. The song climbed all the way to #2 on the charts and has never left country radio playlists. The song tells the common story of what people do in small towns all across the US. Millions connect with the song and sing along with the catchy chorus when it plays over the speakers. It’s still an anthem for many that look for a little fun on Saturday night.
56) I Saw The Light – Wynonna
In 1992, The Judds took a break from recording and touring. Naomi needed time to rest and recover and pursue other interests. Daughter Wynonna signed a solo deal and began her career on her own. Wynonna the solo artist turned out to be a huge success. Wynonna’s second single as a solo act was I Saw The Light. The song is uptempo and catchy. It was popular in 1992 and remains popular today. Wynonna is still releasing new music and touring. Word is she will reunite with her Mother to record new music and tour in 2010.
55) Independence Day – Martina McBride
It’s unusual for a song that missed the top ten on the charts to become a signature song for a superstar artist. That is the case, however, for Martina McBride. The song Independence Day is about domestic abuse and how it affects an entire family including a daughter. The song is not a comfortable topic, but it connected with many. Martina left her mark on the song with soaring chorus notes and passionate vocals. Independence Day is still a popular song today.
54) Fancy – Reba McEntire
Of all the Reba songs that could make this list, it’s surprising – on the surface – that the #8 hit from 1991 Fancy had the most impact. The story of prostitution with Reba’s rendition became a popular hit throughout the decade and still one of Reba’s best known songs. Reba’s sassy vocal and catchy delivery had girls singing along to the distaste of many parents. The impact was positive, however, and Reba is an inspiration for a generation of female country stars.
53) Love, Me – Collin Raye
Collin Raye had an almost quietly successful career in throughout the ’90s. He churned out multiple big hits that still play well today. Perhaps his best song is his first big hit Love, Me. The song is about true love as told by a grandson. The still has the ability to bring tears to the eyes of fans as they reflect on their own experiences with lifelong loves. Collin Raye had major label success the turn of the ’00s, but he’s still actively recording and touring.
52) John Deere Green – Joe Diffie
Mr. Tongue-In-Cheek Joe Diffie was releasing quality fun songs long before Brad Paisley and Jason Aldean came onto the country music scene. Diffie had a knack for writing and finding songs that were fun and touching at the same time. His 1993 top five smash hit John Deere Green was the best of the bunch. The song tells the tale of a young couple in love. To celebrate their love, Billy Bob writes Billy Bob Loves Charlene in big John Deere Green letters on the local town water tower. It’s a great tune that fans still love singing along with today.
51) Longneck Bottle – Garth Brooks and Steve Wariner
By the end of 1997, Garth Brooks was at odds with his record label. Brooks was upset about the lack of sales (by his standards) of his album Fresh Horses. He wanted to make sure his next album was a major hit. The first single released from the album Sevens was Longneck Bottle. The song, a duet with Steve Wariner, became a major #1 smash hit. More hits followed and Sevens sold extremely well. Longneck Bottle marked a bit of a comeback for Brooks and a big comeback for Wariner.
50) If I Know Me – George Strait
George Strait had so many hits in the ’90s it’s hard to pick for this list. If I Know Me is a song that still sees a lot of play on radio and seems to be a fan favorite. The song was a #1 hit for Strait in 1991. The song tells the story of a guy that recently broke up with a girlfriend. He’s questioning his decision and playing with the idea that maybe he can’t really go through with it. It’s a common personal fight men tend to go through. Perhaps that’s why it was and remains so popular. That and nobody sings a song like King George.
49) Down Home – Alabama
Alabama ruled the 1980s in country music. They were still releasing hits as the ’90s came and Down Home was a major hit for the group. The song is classic Alabama. The story of growing up in rural America. The good times, the bad times, and all the fond memories. As usual, Alabama crafted a catchy song that fans loved to sing along with. It’s what made them so special to country music.
48) Vidalia – Sammy Kershaw
It’s hard to believe that a song about a girl named after an onion could become such a fan favorite hit. The song was Sammy Kershaw’s Vidalia cracked the top ten in ’96 and became a signature song for Kershaw. According to him, it’s still a fan favorite in concert and transcends generations. The song is a sing along favorite for country fans of all ages. It wasn’t Sammy’s biggest hit during his successful run in the ’90s, but it’s a fun song that has become a timeless big hit.
47) Walk On Faith – Mike Reid
In late 1990 and 1991, former Cincinnati Bengals Defensive end Mike Reid took his debut single to #1 on the country charts. Walk On Faith had an infectious guitar riff and optimistic lyrics. Reid had been writing songs for successful artist since his retirement from football in 1974 and he’d had some big success. He continues writing songs for other artists today, but he might still best be known the most for Walk On Faith when it comes to his recognition in the music industry.
46) Seminole Wind – John Anderson
By the time the ’90s came around, John Anderson was experiencing a slump. He had major success in the early eighties, but things changed toward the end of the decade. That all changed in 1992 when John released his double platinum album Seminole Wind. The album produced a string of hits. The title track from the album went all the way to #2 on the charts. The song seemed to be too regional for national success on the surface, but fans all over the country connected with the story about Seminole Indians. Fans loved the melody and still request the song often.
45) You Don’t Even Know Who I Am – Patty Loveless
During the mid ’90s, Patty Loveless was the biggest female in country music. She was winning awards and her songs were having a major impact on the charts. In 1995, she released You Don’t Even Know Who I Am from her Album of the Year When Fallen Angels Fly. The song became a top five hit on radio and connected with country fans. The song is about a dying relationship. It doesn’t put blame on either person involved. According to Patty, the song lets people know they’re not the only ones experiencing the sad and lonely situation of an ending relationship. Patty put vocals on the track like only she can. The song is still a favorite today.
44) Sittin’ On Go – Bryan White
In the mid-90s, Bryan White was just about as hot as an artist could be in country music. He was only in his early twenties at the time, but had the charm and maturity of a guy much older. His voice was unique and his talent was undeniable. In 1997, he released the 4th and final single – Sittin’ On Go – from his platinum album Between Now and Forever. The song went all the way to #1. The song was uptempo and catchy. Fans still sing along each time it comes on the radio. Bryan took a few years off during the ’00s to raise a family. Now that his sons are a little older he is back out recording and touring again.
43) Goin’ Through The Big D – Mark Chesnutt
Mark Chesnutt had a lion’s share of hits in the ’90s. A traditional sounding guy from Texas, Chesnutt drew on the influence of the great George Jones. He took the fun Goin’ Through The Big D all the way to #2 in ’94-’95. The song took an upbeat mood to the common situation of divorce. The song perfectly written as it walked a fine line of cliche and commonalities. The song remains a fresh perspective on the all too common divorce so many experience.
42) Every Once in a While – Blackhawk
Looking back now, Blackhawk was an amazing band. The songs they recorded and released during the ’90s are some of the best country songs every created. Every Once And A While was the 2nd single off the band’s debut album. The song reached #2 on the charts in 1994. The story of two lovers that still think about each other every now and then with the killer melodies the band created, the song is still a favorite of country fans today.
41) Go Rest High On That Mountain – Vince Gill
In 1995, Vince Gill released the tear-jerking song Go Rest High On That Mountain. The song won Song of the Year at the CMA Awards as well as two Grammy awards. The song began as a tribute to Keith Whitley, but Gill finished the song after the passing of his brother. The song has helped many grieve the loss of loved ones over the years and remains one of Gill’s biggest hits despite only reaching #14 on the charts.