Clint Black released his debut album, Killin’ Time, in May of 1989, producing five No. 1 singles and cementing him as one of the standout country traditionalists.
Since that transformative debut album over 30 years ago, Black has gone on to sell over 20 million records across his 12 studio albums and had 22 trips to the top of the country charts, as well as nabbed a GRAMMY, five ACM trophies and two CMA awards.
Outside of his own musical career, Black has also dabbled as an actor and opened his own record label in 2003 under the name Equity Music Group.
Here are 10 of the best Clint Black songs:
10. A Good Run of Bad Luck
Written by Clint Black, Hayden Nicholas (1993)
Our list kicks off with “A Good Run of Bad Luck,” which served as a nearly three-minute-long gambling metaphor. Written with frequent collaborator Hayden Nicholas, the tune became Black’s eighth No. 1 and was included on his fourth studio album, No Time To Kill. “A Good Run of Bad Luck” provides some much-welcomed tempo to Black’s traditionally slower discography, fit with a fiery harmonica backdrop that carries the tune.
9. Something That We Do
Written by Clint Black, Skip Ewing (1997)
Included on his Nothin’ But The Taillights record, “Something That We Do” shows the talented tunesmith, who wrote much of his lengthy catalog, digging into the mechanics of love as a verb, singing “Love isn’t something that we have, it’s something that we do.” While the song only made it to the second spot on the country charts, it did nab the 1997 Song of the Year from the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI).
8. Nobody’s Home
Written by Clint Black (1989)
“Nobody’s Home” was the third of five No. 1 singles from Black’s debut record, Killin’ Time. The simple ballad describes how the main character’s life has changed since splitting with his beloved, noting that much everything is the same except mentally “the lights are on, but nobody’s home.” Marking Black’s first music video, the tune stayed atop the charts for an impressive three consecutive weeks and was the No. 1 country song on Billboard‘s 1990 year-end chart.
7. Put Yourself In My Shoes
Written by Clint Black, Hayden Nicholas, Shake Russell (1990)
“Put Yourself In My Shoes” is the title track of Black’s second album, released in 1990. Though the sophomore record itself didn’t make as big of a splash as Black’s celebrated debut, it still included a handful of hits. Peaking at No. 4, the bluesy heartbreak tune begs the heartbreaker to put themself in Black’s shoes because if he was in theirs he would “walk right back to me.“
6. Time For That
Written by Clint Black, Frank Rogers (2015)
Though Black celebrated much of his success in the first two decades of his career, the decorated singer-songwriter has continued to make music, with his latest project, Out Of Sane, coming in 2020. This 2015 tune is one of Black’s more recent takes on making time for the things that matter in life and, while it was never a radio hit, the light and breezy tune serves as a reminder of Black’s enduring artistry.
5. Killin’ Time
Written by Clint Black, Hayden Nicholas (1989)
The title track of his debut album, and his sophomore single at country radio, “Killin’ Time” undoubtedly served as a formal introduction to what fans could expect from the then-rising traditionalist. Further proving his star-in-the-making pedigree, the tune took the second spot on Billboard‘s 1989 year-end country chart and earned Black a GRAMMY nomination for Country Male Performance at the 1990 ceremony.
4. Nothin’ But The Taillights
Written by Clint Black, Steve Wariner (1997)
The title track of his Platinum-certified eighth studio album, “Nothin’ But The Taillights” showed a new side to the mature artist who, up until this point, had built much of his success on his powerful love ballads. Co-written with songwriting royalty Steve Wariner, this up-tempo and utterly humorous tune, which spent two weeks atop the country charts, depicts a man left on the side of the road as the woman he loves literally dumps him there. It’s country storytelling in its most entertaining form.
3. Like The Rain
Written by Clint Black, Hayden Nicholas (1996)
A three-week No. 1 for Black in the mid-90s, “Like The Rain” was included on Black’s first Greatest Hits collections and rightfully so. In addition to its hard-hitting chorus, the utterly romantic single, which opens with the line “I never liked the rain until I walked through it with you,” hits you right in the chest. Nabbing Black another nomination for Country Male Vocal Performance at the 1997 GRAMMYs, it’s no surprise that this one ends up in the upper echelons of his best songs.
2. When I Said I Do (with Lisa Hartman Black)
Written by Clint Black (1999)
An indisputable Black favorite, “When I Said I Do” was the first single on his D’lectrified album and features the honey-drenched vocals of his wife, Lisa Hartman Black. In one of Black’s best vocal performances to date, the ethereal ballad reflects on the Blacks’ marriage as the two said ‘I do’ eight years earlier. It was a shock to no one when the song, drowning in charisma, shot to the top of the charts on both the country and pop charts. The moving track earned the trophy for Vocal Event of the Year at the 1999 ACM Awards and easily sits as the best duet in Black’s discography.
1. A Better Man
Written by Clint Black, Hayden Nicholas (1989)
Taking the top spot is Black’s history-making debut single, “Better Man.” Marking the first time in 14 years that a country artist’s first single made its way to No. 1 on the charts, the introspective song explains how after ending a seven-year long relationship, he would be leaving it better than he was when it began due to how he grew from their time together. The song, found on his debut album Killin’ Time, earned Black the ACM Award for Single of the Year in 1989 and it ended the year atop Billboard‘s year-end country singles chart. After more than three decades since its release, “A Better Man” still serves as a standard in country music and paved a golden path for the rest of Black’s career that followed.