By Emily Wagner
Some make it look so easy, with over 20 number one hits, millions of records and selling out football stadiums. But those are the anomalies in Nashville and more often than not you are lucky to get just one hit song. The following artists certainly had other songs, some that even did pretty well on the charts, but they all have one iconic song that made a big impact on country music at the time of it’s release and still resonate today. The one hit wonders of country music, ranked.
15. “Too Much Fun” – Daryle Singletary
If this song doesn’t make your 90’s country playlist, I think you’re doing this wrong. It epitomizes 90s country, lots of steel guitar, violin and harmonica, easy, catchy lyrics about there being no such thing as having too much fun. If Luke Combs would like to do a cover of this song, I would not object.
14. “Daddy’s Money” – Ricochet
This song, another icon of the 90’s reached number 1 on the charts in 1996. Perhaps there could have been more, but for numerous different reasons, the band has changed 10 fold over the last two decades, with only one original member remaining. Jeff and Junior Bryant, two brothers who formed the band, are the uncles to new artist, Chase Bryant.
13. “Break Down Here” – Julie Roberts
Julie Roberts came onto the country scene hot with this song. It reached #9 on the charts and her voice, persona and the dark tone of the song, was the talk of the town. Business changes and decisions beyond her control let to a downfall of a once promising career. Check out her memoir, “Beauty in the Breakdown” where she explains in her own words, the ups and downs of her career.
12. “Living in a Moment” – Ty Herndon
Ugh. 90’s country was so good. I’m mad at myself that I ever forgot this song existed. Herndon had a solid few years, as this became his second #1 hit, and the album was top 10 of the year. However, Herndon got himself into some personal trouble in the early 2000’s and his music was halted from the airwaves. Long live the 90’s!
11. “Nobody Knows” – Kevin Sharp
Sharp struck gold with this as his very first single, a cover, originally sang by R&B artist Tony Rich. It spent 4 weeks at the number one spot in 1996. Sadly in 2014, Sharp lost his long fight with cancer, and passed away.
10. “Who I Am” – Jessica Andrews
Released in 2001, when she was just 17 years old, “Who I Am” became her one and only number one song. Andrews continued to make music, but nothing has been released since a 2010 greatest hits album.
9. “Yes.” – Chad Brock
Perhaps one of the cutest, true story songs about meeting and romancing his wife, “Yes” became Brock’s only #1 song in 2000 and reached the top 20 on the pop charts. The former professional wrestler, left the music scene, to work as a DJ on a local morning radio show.
8. “Leave the Pieces” – The Wreckers
I had such high hopes for these two. Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp joined together to create one album, which gave them a number one song in “Leave the Pieces” and top ten with “My, Oh My.” Then they continued on their separate ways, and that’s not fair to us fans who loved their perfect harmonies.
7. “I Loved Her First” – Heartland
If you’re going to have one major hit, make sure it is one that can stand the test of time, and that will be played at weddings for years to come. After “I Loved Her First” hit #1 in 2006, the band’s next few singles failed to chart, all but two members left the band. Gaining a third singer to become a trio, the band at last glance, released a single in 2012.
6. “In Color” – Jamey Johnson
While this song only peaked at #9, over the years it has become a cult favorite, as many people likening Johnson to true country in an era of an ever influencing pop sound in the country charts. Johnson still has a prominent career in Nashville, as renowned songwriter and producer.
5. “Achy Breaky Heart” – Billy Ray Cyrus
I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who couldn’t sing the chorus to this song. It was Cyrus’ debut single in 1992 and had a huge crossover effect into the pop world, and then all over the world, from Australia to Europe. Cyrus didn’t have another number 1 song, until 27 years later. Yes this year, with the ever catchy “Old Town Road” with Lil Nas X.
4. “That Ain’t My Truck” – Rhett Akins
After neither of his first two singles reached passed 35 on the charts, “That Ain’t My Truck” was Akins breakout hit in 1995, going all the way to number 3. Akins didn’t go away, just going behind the scenes, becoming one of the most successful songwriters in Nashville.
3. “Strawberry Wine” – Deana Carter
“Strawberry Wine” was Carter’s first #1 song, but not her last as she went on to achieve two more #1’s all from the same album. But something about this song has made it endure the test of time. Many up and coming female artists like Carly Pearce cover this song in their sets. It became an iconic female country song of the 1990’s that still holds up today.
2. “Fishin’ In The Dark” – The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Name another song by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Nothing of the magnitude of “Fishin’ In The Dark.” Not even close. Yes they’ve had other number one songs, but even those who have never listened to a minute of country radio can sing back these lyrics. From the first strums of the guitar, this song is just as recognizable today as it was in 1987.
1. “Dust on the Bottle” – David Lee Murphy
Was there any question that this would be in the number one spot? It was Murphy’s first number one in 1995, and remained that way until 2018 and his collaboration with Kenny Chesney, “Everything’s Going to be Alright.” Rumor has it, Murphy wrote this song in 15 minutes, after it “came out of nowhere” one morning. Legendary. This song is covered at every country show, everyone knows it, everyone loves it, and with that, it transcend generations of country music fans.
Agree? Disagree? What songs did we leave out?