With 45 number one songs under his belt, three-time GRAMMY award winner Tim McGraw has cemented his place in country music history as the icon of a generation. Since 1992, the Louisiana native has released 16 albums and sold more than eighty million records worldwide.
Beyond music, McGraw has found success as an author with four New York Times bestselling books and as an actor, starring in Friday Night Lights, The Blind Side, most recently portraying James Dutton in the TV series 1883.
Here are 10 of the best Tim McGraw songs:
10. “Down on the Farm”
Written by Jerry Laseter, Kerry Kurt Phillips (1994)
The rural party anthem “Down on the Farm” was the third single from McGraw’s sophomore album, Not a Moment Too Soon. Painting the scene of a Friday night beyond the city lights, the song shares the benefits of fun in the country: “Ain’t no closing time, ain’t no cover charge / Just country boys and girls gettin’ down on the farm”
9. “It’s Your Love” featuring Faith Hill
Written by Stephony Smith (1997)
Several of McGraw’s hits feature his superstar wife, Faith Hill, including the powerful romantic ballad “It’s Your Love.” The stunning music video features a glowing Hill, who was visibly pregnant with their first child, Gracie. The song went on to win both ACM and CMA Vocal Event of the Year.
8. “Where the Green Grass Grows”
Written by Craig Wiseman and Jess Leary (1998)
“Where the Green Grass Grows,” the fifth single from his Everywhere album, tells the story of a person from a small town who heads to the city for greener pastures but realizes that the life he left behind is where he wants to be. 24 years after its initial release, McGraw references “Where the Green Grass Grows” in his 45th number one song “7500 OBO.”
7. “Red Ragtop”
Written by Jason White (2002)
“Red Rag Top” was the first single from the Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors album. The narrator recalls memories of a lost love, most notably an unexpected pregnancy and the decision to get an abortion. The controversial topic led to some radio stations banning the song, but it still reached the top five of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
6. “Don’t Take the Girl”
Written by Larry W. Johnson, Craig Martin (1994)
“Don’t Take the Girl” was the first number one song for McGraw, appearing on his album Not a Moment Too Soon, setting a precedent for McGraw’s ability to deliver powerful stories. McGraw tells the story of Johnny during three seasons of his life where he pleaded with different people, “don’t take the girl.”
5. “The Cowboy In Me”
Written by Al Anderson, Jeffrey Steele, Craig Wiseman (2001)
“The Cowboy in Me” was the third single from McGraw’s Set This Circus Down album, foreshadowing his future role as a cowboy in the TV series 1883. The song reached the number one spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart just one week after his duet with Jo Dee Messina, “Bring On the Rain.”
4. “Something Like That”
Written by Rick Ferrell, Keith Follesé (1999)
“I’ve got a barbecue stain on my white t-shirt” is arguably one of the most memorable lyrics of the 90s country music scene and has become synonymous with the Labor Day party anthem “Something Like That.” The song was the second single from McGraw’s album A Place in the Sun.
3. “I Like It, I Love It”
Written by Jeb Stuart Anderson, Steve Dukes, Mark Hall (1995)
Also known as the goal song for the Nashville Predators NHL hockey team, “I Like It, I Love It” was the first single from McGraw’s album All I Want. The music video showcases McGraw’s superstar status in a live concert setting, with his high-energy performance and throngs of adoring fans.
2. “Humble and Kind”
Written by Lori McKenna (2016)
“Humble and Kind” was a career-defining song for McGraw, winning a GRAMMY award for Best Country Song, Video of the Year at the CMT Music Awards, Song of the Year at the CMA Awards, and Country Song of the Year at the American Music Awards. Songwriter Lori McKenna wrote the song as a letter to her husband and their children, describing all the things she wanted to make sure she told them. What started as a personal song became a global call to action.
1. “Live Like You Were Dying”
Written by Tim Nichols, Craig Wiseman (2004)
“Live Like You Were Dying” was the title track of McGraw’s eighth album and paralleled his personal life at the time. His father, Tug McGraw, passed away just months before the song was released in 2004. The song describes advice from a man who received news of a terminal illness, then went on to fulfill his bucket list of adventures and became a better person. “Live Like You Were Dying” racked up several awards, including CMA and ACM Single of the Year and Song of the Year, as well as the GRAMMY Country Song of the Year. It spent an incredible seven weeks at the top of the Billboard country charts.