If you’re looking for the most comprehensive list of the best 90s country songs, you’ve landed in the right place. The 90s were a decade of massive hits including some of the many country hits that almost always strike a nostalgic nerve today. High school dances, blockbuster movie soundtracks, heartfelt wedding ballads, and Americana anthems were all among the top 90s country songs. Take a look at some of the best country songs to top the charts in the 90s:
1. Don’t Take the Girl – Tim McGraw
This 1994 hit was Tim McGraw’s breakout single, topping the Billboard Top 100 at number 17. Telling the story of the hard times a couple faces throughout the different stages of their relationship, this tune is relatable and catchy. Throughout each of the obstacles the couple faces, Johnny does all he can to ensure other men “don’t take the girl.”
2. How Do I Live – Leanne Rimes
Peaking at number two on the charts for seven straight weeks, this Leanne Rimes smash hit debuted in 1997. Remaining on the charts for a whopping 69 weeks, this love song was the first release off of Rimes’s sophomore album. The song’s narrator asserts that she couldn’t live without the object of her affection. Far-fetched sentiments for a teenager to sing about, but poetic and powerful nonetheless.
3. Watermelon Crawl – Tracy Byrd
This song was Tracy Byrd’s second hit from his sophomore album, becoming the tune for a popular line dance named for the song. The dance is amusing and beginner-friendly while the lyrics are catchy and fun. The song is about a man who pulls off the highway in Georgia when he sees a sign for a local watermelon festival. The festival has all the entertainment one would expect to find in the south including spirited drinks. While the town’s mayor delights in the townspeople’s merrymaking, he suggests that instead of drinking and driving, they safely partake in a line dance called the “Watermelon Crawl.”
4. I Like It, I Love It – Tim McGraw
Released in 1995 and topping the Hot Country Songs chart at number one, this fast-moving song even became an NHL sports anthem for the Nashville Predators and was often played during NFL broadcasts too. The riotous track is one of McGraw’s most popular tracks proclaiming that the singer both likes and loves the hard work he puts into keeping his gal happy (dressing up and washing the truck to sit on the couch and watch tv).
5. Amazed – Lonestar
Released in early 1999 this power ballad remains Lonestar’s greatest hit. It’s so popularly iconic that the song has been covered by many since its release, “Amazed” resonates with both country and pop music listeners. This romantic ballad was written by a newly-smitten couple who drew from their own love for each other. The overarching message of this song is that “every little thing that you do, baby, I’m amazed by you.”
6. This Kiss – Faith Hill
Hailing from Faith Hill’s third album “Faith,” “This Kiss” debuted in 1998, topping charts in both the US and Canada. Nominated for two Grammy Awards, this song anthemizes a burgeoning love story, the likes of which women of the 90s dreamed of. Comparing her own love story to princesses such as Cinderella and Snowhite, this song makes listeners believe fairytales can really come true.
7. Independence Day – Martina McBride
When this song was released in 1994, it was instantly mistaken for a patriotic track however the true meaning of “Independence Day” proclaims a woman’s independence from domestic violence. In fact, the muse for the song’s lyrics was Francine Hughes, the first woman to ever be acquitted of a crime based on temporary insanity resulting from Battered-Woman Syndrome. An anthem for domestic violence victims across the country, this 90s hymnal has staying power.
8. Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
Released on his debut album, “Some Give All,” Billy Ray Cyrus’s “Achy Breaky Heart” became an instant hit in 1992. A crossover pop-country hit, this track was blasted on dance floors across the world, with listeners shouting the catchy lyrics in time. With an accompanying line dance and uptempo beat, this song is surely Cyrus’s most iconic.
9. I See a Darkness – Bonnie “Prince” Billy
This folksy country tune is as dark and churning as any Will Oldham (legal name of Bonnie “Prince” Billy) song. Although this foreboding song has hints of warmth, it is still inherently Oldham. “I See a Darkness” was first released in 1999 and the tune is both melodic and raw. The lyrics address “my best unbeaten brother,” toasting to the good times they’ve shared, and professing “love for everyone I know.
10. I Ain’t Ever Satisfied – Steve Earle
Steve Earle, San Antonio, TX native, released “I Ain’t Ever Satisfied” in 1996 which is as honest a tune lyrically and instrumentally as is any Steve Earle track. The song laments the cliche feeling of the grass not always being greener on the other side. Earle croons about never being satisfied even when he’s at his happiest.
11. You’re Still the One – Shania Twain
One of the best 90s country songs, this Shania Twain hit peaked at number two on the Billboard Top 100. Not surprisingly, this song is still as popular today as it was in its prime. Nominated for four Grammys and winning two in 1999, this song is a catchy ballad declaring that despite the hard times “we’ve made it” and “you’re still the one.”
12. What Part of No (Don’t You Understand) – Lorrie Morgan
An admonishment to sexual harassment, this Lorrie Morgan song doesn’t mince words. Released in 1992, this song was a chart-topping track with a woman asking a man “what part of no don’t you understand” following repeated unwanted advances. The powerful chorus of this song would go on to be quoted in legal documents related to sexual harassment.
13. Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares) – Travis Tritt
This 1991 hit is the vindication anthem for anyone who’s ever been toyed with or dumped by a partner. When the song’s narrator comes face to face with an ex who wants to wiggle back into his life, he scornfully suggests she “call someone who cares,” even offering her the quarter to make the call (it doesn’t get much more 90s than this).
14. Wrecking Ball – Emmylou Harris
Released in 1995, this Emmylou Harris hit was a departure from her traditionally acoustic sound. Like much of her music, “Wrecking Ball” is distinctly Americana. Although the song never topped any charts, the song is highly regarded by her colleagues. The song is about a girl who knows she can’t return to where she’s come from but isn’t certain of how to proceed either. A resonant song for so many Harris fans, “Wrecking Ball” is one of the best country songs to come out of the 90s.
15. It’s a Little Too Late – Mark Chestnutt
A top country song in both the US and Canada, Mark Chestnutt’s “It’s a Little Too Late” debuted in 1996. This regretful song laments the relatable feeling of wishing one could do things over. When the narrator’s lady leaves him, he thinks of all the things he could’ve done differently only to come to the same conclusion…“it’s a little too late.”
16. Chattahoochie – Alan Jackson
This chart-topping hit was released in 1993 and earned Alan Jackson a Country Music Award for Song of the Year. This approachable song was received well by country music and pop artists alike. The sentiments of living life to its fullest and coming of age in Small Town, USA never get old. The uptempo beat and fun lyrics make “Chattahoochee” a much-loved 90s hit.
17. Love, Me – Collin Raye
This single was released in 1991 and became Collin Raye’s first number one hit early the next year. The couple featured in this smooth, country ballad promise to love each other, get married, honor their vows, and grow old together. In the end, the woman passes before the man but he promises to continue loving her nonetheless.
18. Fast As You – Dwight Yoakam
“Fast As You” was released from Dwight Yoakam’s album “This Time” in 1993. A crossover country/rock tune, the song was a big hit with both US and Canadian audiences. The song’s narrator muses that maybe one day he’ll be as fast as the girl who broke his heart. He also wonders if she’ll slow down when her turn to hurt comes around.
19. Please Remember Me – Rodney Crowell
Recorded and released in 1995, Crowell’s “Please Remember Me” only charted at number 69 on the Billboard Top 100. However, the single was later rereleased by several other famous artists including Aaron Neville, Linda Ronstadt, and Tim McGraw. This mournful song of lamentable heartache bids farewell to a loved one assuring them that they’ll be okay in the end.
20. Should’ve Been a Cowboy – Toby Keith
Released by country legend Toby Keith in 1993, this song reached number one on multiple music charts. A popular song played at college sporting events, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” glamorized the cowboy condition, paying homage to popular old Westerns. Gun-slinging, playboy antics, and name-dropping famous cowboys are just a few of the ways the song sentimentalized cowboy life.
21. Blue Clear Sky – George Strait
After soaring to the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100 list in 1996, this song solidified its place in 90s country music history. Recorded in Nashville, the birthplace of so many wonderful country hits, the famous “Blue Clear Sky” actually came from the “Forest Gump” movie. Undoubtedly, the song has a timeless tune as well as relatable lyrics: the singer’s long-awaited lover appears out of the “blue clear sky.”
22. I Try to Think About Elvis – Patty Loveless
This catchy single was released in 1994 and charted as a country hit for 20 weeks. The song is all about finding distractions when you’re feeling broken-hearted. The singer can’t remember her responsibilities or keep her mind off her ex-lover, so to do so, she tries to “think about Elvis Presley” to keep her mind off the heartache.
23. She’s In Love With The Boy – Trisha Yearwood
This 1991 country hit is an unforgettable, twangy ballad of a young couple whose parents disapprove of their relationship. The threaded “Romeo and Juliet” theme of defying authority to be with the one you love can’t be overlooked. Thankfully one of the parents makes the realization that she and her husband were once the same teenage couple in love and all turned out well for them.
24. Is There Life Out There – Reba McEntire
Debuting in 1992, this Reba McEntire hit peaked at number one on both US and Canadian charts. This upbeat song recalls the story of a woman who was married at 20 years old and as she ages, dreams about what life would be like outside of her responsibilities to her family and home. A sympathetic song to stay-at-home moms and homemakers alike, this song remains a popular country track.
25. Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks
This hot country hit debuted in August of 1990 and has remained ever-popular since. Belted out in barrooms across the country, the quippy lyrics and catchy tune make it a crowd favorite. The song was born of that dreadful feeling of realizing you’ve forgotten your wallet when the bar bill arrives. The friend realizes he’ll have to cover his pal’s tab and laments “I’ve Got Friends in Low Places.”
26. God Blessed Texas – Little Texas
This popular Little Texas tune debuted in 1993 and quickly became the band’s trademark song. They’ve concluded every live performance since its release with the song. The song is a celebration of Texan pride, proclaiming that “God Blessed Texas” with something a little more special than any other state. “God Bless Texas” is played at sporting events all over the Lonestar State.
27. Maybe it Was Memphis – Pam Tillis
Recorded twice by Pam Tillis, this track dropped for the second time in 1991. The track is a love song with a moderate tempo. The song’s narrator fondly recollects a lover she once met in Memphis. She reminisces the magic of falling in love while reflecting on her surroundings in those moments; “misty moonlight,” “Southern summer nights,” and “a front porch swing” all contribute to the narrator’s amazing experience.
28. Go Rest High on that Mountain – Vince Gill
Vince Gill released this ballad in 1995; the heartfelt lyrics of this powerful ballad eulogize the late country singer, Keith Whitley who passed away in 1989, and his own brother who died suddenly in 1993. This tributary song expresses the hope that loved ones rest in peace when they meet God.
29. Boot Scootin’ Boogie – Brooks & Dunn
This 1991 “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” release was its second and most popular release, however, Brooks & Dunn re-released the smash hit again in 2009. The 1991 version is an upbeat, rhythmic song; it’s a honky tonk-style song for which many line dances have been choreographed. The song’s lyrics inspire dancers to hit their favorite watering hole to boogie the night away after a hard day’s work.
30. Pickup Man – Joe Diffie
Pickup Man is a 1994 hit country single that spent many weeks topping the charts. The song’s quippy double meaning suggests that the narrator can score the girl (be a “pickup man”) with his trusty pickup truck. He’s in the driver’s seat, both literally and figuratively, picking up women.
31. Passionate Kisses – Mary Chapin Carpenter
This 1993 release was Mary Chapin Carpenter’s more popular cover of the original Lucinda Williams release. With iconic guitar riffs and a folksy rhythm, the song earned Carpenter a Grammy. The song’s lyrics essentially list the desires of a female narrator in a committed relationship: “food to fill me up,” “warm clothes,” “a comfortable bed…,” and most importantly, “passionate kisses.”
32. Meet In the Middle – Diamond Rio
This 1991 country song was Diamond Rio’s debut single; the song features melodic banjo riffs as well as organ ornamentations. The song follows a couple upon their first platonic meeting “near that old Georgia Pine” in the middle of their homes. The song follows the couple through marriage and hardship, always remembering to “meet in the middle.”
33. Summer’s Comin’ – Clint Black
This sizzling Clint Black hit, which debuted in 1995, is what summer was all about in the 90s: catching a tan, picking up chicks, and treating every day like it’s Saturday. This summer anthem recites all the cool pastimes that summer dreams are made of: cruising the strip, riding waves at the beach, and truly enjoying the time off you’ve worked all year to enjoy.
34. Strawberry Wine – Deana Carter
This sweet country love song debuted in 1997 and gave all the feels of the narrator’s saccharine first love. The summer love comes to an end when the college boy returns home after working on the narrator’s grandpa’s farm. Despite how pure the first love was, it couldn’t be sustained as a long-distance relationship.
35. Every Light In The House Is On – Trace Adkins
This 1996 hit single peaked at number three on the charts. This upbeat ballad features piano and fiddle accompaniments giving it a quick, rhythmic sound. This sad love song laments the narrator’s recent split from his wife and how he keeps “every light in the house…on” in hopes that she’ll be back soon.
36. I’m Alright – Jo Dee Messina
Released in the Spring of 1997, Jo Dee Messina’s “I’m Alright” is a perfect example of high-spirited country-pop. The song’s female narrator is down on her luck when she meets up with an old friend. Throughout the song she complains about all that’s going wrong; for instance, she complains, “I’m stuck in the middle where my money gets tight.” However, in the end, the narrator reconciles, “I’m Alright.”
37. Fancy – Reba McEntire
First released in 1969 by another country artist, this song was covered and rereleased by McEntire in 1990. The song’s blunt, feminist message is told from a woman named Fancy’s perspective. Fancy uses sex work to conquer poverty; she recalls turning 18, living in a one-room shack along with all the troubles her family faced. In the end, she recognizes, “But if you want out [of poverty], well, it’s up to you.”
38. Wide Open Spaces – Dixie Chicks
Recorded and released by the Dixie Chicks in the Summer of 1998, “Wide Open Spaces” has a Bluegrass feel making the song powerful and unadulterated. The song’s lyrics speak to all the possibilities in life that lie in the narrator’s future: the “wide open spaces.” This song is for all the dreamers who look forward to discovering their future paths.
39. I Swear – John Michael Montgomery
This beautiful ballad was first released as a country hit by John Michael Montgomery in 1993 and later as an R&B hit by All For One in 1994. Both versions are beautiful and memorable. The heartfelt lyrics reassure the male narrator’s lover that despite her uncertainty, he’ll always love her “with every beat of [his] heart.”
40. Walkaway Joe – Trisha Yearwood
Recorded by Trisha Yearwood and featuring Don Henley of Eagles fame, this song topped the charts in 1992. “Walkaway Joe” is a fast-moving ditty about the riotous relationship of a teenage girl and her bad-boy counterpart, Walkaway Joe. The girl’s “mama told her baby girl to take it real slow” because Walkaway Joe was “born to be a leaver.”
41. Any Man of Mine – Shania Twain
Topping both country and pop music charts, Twain’s “Any Many of Mine” debuted in 1995. This sassy, up-tempo hit lists all of the qualities the perfect man should have. Some of the items on that list include, “Even when I’m ugly, he still better love me,” he better be on time for their dates, and “anything I do or say better be okay.”
42. If I Know Me – George Strait
This 1991 single is rife with sentiments that ring true for many couples; it explores the feeling of being unable to leave a rocky relationship. The narrator laments that even through the arguments, despite exchanging insults they do not mean, and although they repeatedly walk away from the relationship, he knows they can’t resist each other and will both come back in the end.
43. He Didn’t Have to Be – Brad Paisley
This song, released in the Summer of 1999, tugs at the heartstrings. Becoming Brad Paisley’s first number one hit, this song talks about how difficult it is for a single mother to date. It’s written from the perspective of a child of a single mom. In the end, the grown son sweetly hopes to be the type of father his stepfather “didn’t have to be.”
44. That Don’t Impress Me Much – Shania Twain
This upbeat, catchy tune, released in 1998, topped both country and pop charts. The song depicts narcissistic admirers who vie for the singer’s attention. She wards each off by asserting that their come-ons “don’t impress [her] much.” She asserts that brains and money don’t impress her, rather a man with a warm touch and good spirit will win her heart.
45. She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy – Kenny Chesney
This humorous Kenny Chesney track dropped in 1999 and has been a popular country tune since. The song amusingly describes a man working a farm on his tractor in the hot summer weather. He muses that surely any woman would find him and his tractor sexy. It’s funny, relatable, and catchy all in a way only a country song can be.
46. I Cross My Heart – George Strait
Debuting in September of 1992, “I Cross My Heart” has it all. This ballad was an instant hit on the radio charts and was also featured in the George Strait movie “Pure Country.” The song’s lyrics are a heartfelt declaration of unconditional love. The narrator declares, “I cross my heart and promise to give all I’ve got to give” in addition to other sweet promises.
47. If I Could I Make a Living – Clay Walker
This upbeat Clay Walker song dropped in the Summer of 1994 and eventually landed on many industry charts. This sweet love song has the narrator proclaiming that if he could earn a living off of the love he feels for his woman, he’d be a millionaire “in a week or two.” The song’s greatest sentiment is that he wishes he didn’t have to leave his lady to travel for work.
48. The Dance – Garth Brooks
This 1990 country hit, nominated for a Grammy, is considered Garth Brooks’s trademark song. The song’s double meaning deals with sad endings and can be related to an ending relationship or the death of a loved one who sacrifices his or her life for a cause. The song’s thematic proclamation asserts, “our lives are better left to chance…but I’d have had to miss the dance.”
49. Blue – Leanne Rimes
Leanne Rimes’s cover of the 1958 Bill Mack hit was released in 1996, quickly becoming a hit for the young artist. This sorrowful ballad depicts a sad, lonely man who wonders why his former lover isn’t sad or “blue” over him. It later occurs to the man that all of her sweet nothings must’ve been lies.
50. Change the World – Wynonna
This hugely popular song was released by many A-list artists, however, Wynonna’s 1996 release was the most popular country version. This love song has the narrator proclaiming that she’d give her lover the world if she could. If she could, she’d “reach for the stars and pull one down” for him or “be the sunlight in [his] universe.” The song’s romantic spirit makes it a powerful country ballad.
51. Better Class of Losers – Randy Travis
This 1991 country hit was co-written by Randy Travis and Alan Jackson; it even earned Travis a Grammy nomination. The song is narrated from a husband’s perspective who married up the socio-economic ladder. He’s a man with simple needs who abhors his wife’s uppity friends and high-class habits.
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.