Brooks & Dunn had a constant run of hits in the ’90s and ’00s that set a new standard for any country duo that follows.
The group was famously put together by record exec Tim DuBois. After launching Arista Nashville and signing neo-traditionalist, Alan Jackson, DuBois looked to two struggling solo acts, Kix and Ronnie, and decided to suggest a partnership.
In 1991, Brand New Man was released and it became a smash hit album with the first four singles reaching the top of the country chart and a fifth reaching the top ten. It was a huge breakout for the duo after struggling to find any form of success on their own.
Ronnie brought a unique voice to the group that would go on to become their signature sound and differentiating factor. Kix brought the party energy and the excitement to the stage and recordings that added a little extra zip to the traditional, honky tonk, barn storming sound to the music that really go listeners to sign and dance along.
For 20 years the guys toured the nation and kept churning out albums and hit singles. It seemed like the streak of Duo of the Year awards would never end until one day the guys decided to part amicably for citing a lack of creativity together.
It seems each has to step away from each other…at least for the short term to see what they can do on their own.
It’s a little sad to think about not being able to see Brooks & Dunn together live for awhile, but the good news is they have left behind a huge collection of hits to keep us entertained for a lifetime.
Here are some of the best.
The 10 Best Brooks & Dunn Songs
10) She Used to Be Mine
A ballad that keeps getting played on the radio even today.
A rather sad song that looks back at a lost love. Brooks & Dunn could turn down the volume on the rocking, barn floor kicking tunes and pull at the real, sad emotions of life as well. This song is the perfect example of their versatility and their ability to records songs that continue to be played for new generations.
9) Hard Workin’ Man
I’m a hard livin’/Hard workin’ man
This was a smash hit for B&D. The first single off the album of the same name. It made it all the way to #4 in ’93 and kicked started another 5+ million selling album for the duo.
It’s amazing to look back at the quantity of records B&D were selling in the ’90s, but if you look back at the songs there is no doubting that the quality of the songs was the reason for the success.
8) She’s Not the Cheating Kind
Another ballad that sees Ronnie’s vocals soaring to the highs that only he can reach.
Buy She’s Not the Cheatin’ Kind
7) You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone
One of the few hits Brooks & Dunn had with Kix on lead vocal. This song reached number one 1995 and showed that America loved both of the guys in the duo.
Buy You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone
6)If You See Him/If You See Her
Their huge duet with the legend, Reba McEntire.
This song is still played on the radio today. People loved the pairing of the two powerhouses of country music.
Buy If You See Him/If You See Her
5) Only In America
Lots of truth to this song.
Only in America…I think Brooks & Dunn would have only been successful anywhere, but in America they became heroes and legends.
I included this one on the list because it seemed to connect with so many of the folks I knew during its run on the charts. The song went gold – one of only a few for B&D – even though it barely cracked the top ten during its chart run. I think people loved the story of the song and the way Ronnie delivered the lyric.
3) Brand New Man
From the opening line that Ronnie belts out on the track to the last kicking drum, there is no doubt who the duo is that is singing this classic song. This was their first single and it reached number 1 on the charts in 1991. People instantly became connected with the freshly formed duo and their unique, rocking country sound.
2) My Maria
This sound was huge.
A cover of B.W. Stevenson’s top ten pop hit from 1973, My Maria took on a new level of success in pop culture when Kix and Ronnie took it to the tops of the charts as well as on favorite’s lists for decades to come.
I had a teacher in high school. He had a daughter that was born in 1996 and he and his wife named her Maria.
Now that is powerful.
1) Boot Scootin’ Boogie
Some will call this a little bit of a cliche song. A little bit too much in the flavor of Achy Breaky Heart, but this song was a huge smash for Brooks & Dunn and it had people up on their feet dancing for years.
Get down. Turn around.
Thanks for the memories guys.
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