Tim McGraw's 20 best songs ever, ranked
2 August 2023, 10:40
Tim McGraw is without doubt one of the greatest country artists of all time.
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With a career spanning over three decades, he has sold more than 50 million records worldwide, scored 43 number-one singles, won three Grammy Awards and numerous other accolades.
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But what are the best songs by Tim McGraw? How do you choose from his vast and diverse catalogue of hits, ranging from heartfelt ballads to upbeat anthems, from traditional country to crossover pop?
These are the songs that have touched millions of fans, earned critical acclaim and made a lasting impact on the genre and beyond.
Not a Moment Too Soon
Tim McGraw - Not A Moment Too Soon (Official Music Video)
'Not a Moment Too Soon' was the title track from his 1994 album, and was written by Wayne Perry and Joe Barnhill, who had previously written songs for Reba McEntire and Billy Ray Cyrus.
The song is a romantic ballad that expresses his gratitude for finding his true love just in time. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number two on the Country Airplay chart.
Me and Tennessee (with Gwyneth Paltrow)
Tim McGraw, Gwyneth Paltrow - Me and Tennessee
Coldplay's Chris Martin wrote this song, for this then-wife Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw, for the soundtrack to the film Country Strong in 2010.
The song is a duet that tells the story of a couple who are struggling with their relationship and their careers in the music industry. They reminisce about their happier times in Tennessee, where they fell in love and made music together.
While the film itself didn't get the best of reviews at the time, this song was one of the film's highlights. McGraw said that he enjoyed working with Paltrow on the song and the film, and that he was impressed by her singing ability and her dedication to her role. He also said that he was honoured to sing a song written by Chris Martin.
Where the Green Grass Grows
Where The Green Grass Grows
From his 1998 album Everywhere, this song was written by Jess Leary and Craig Wiseman, who had previously written songs for Mark Chesnutt and Diamond Rio.
The song is about a man who is tired of living in the city and longs for a simpler life in the country.
It reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number 27 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was also a number one hit in Canada.
Nashville Without You
Tim McGraw - Nashville Without You
This was released in 2013 as a track from Tim's album Two Lanes of Freedom. The song is a tribute to the legends and icons of country music who have influenced and inspired McGraw and his genre.
The song was written by Kyle Jacobs, Joe Leathers and Ruston Kelly, who are also country singers and songwriters. McGraw said that he loved the song because it had a “country lyric” but also a “universalism to that melody” that could appeal to a wider audience.
The song was accompanied by a music video that featured footage of McGraw performing the song live at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, as well as clips of some of the country legends he mentions in the lyrics.
Nashville Without You is a song that celebrates the history and legacy of country music, as well as McGraw’s own connection to the genre and the city that shaped it. It is a song that expresses gratitude, admiration and respect for the artists who have made Nashville what it is today.
It's Your Love (with Faith Hill)
Tim McGraw - It's Your Love (Official Music Video)
This track features Tim McGraw's wife Faith Hill, and was the first single from his album Everywhere.
The song was written by Stephony Smith, who had previously written songs for Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood.
The song is a romantic ballad that praises the power of love to transform one’s life. It was a huge hit for McGraw and Hill, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for six weeks and becoming the top country song of 1997.
Tim McGraw - Southern Girl
This song was written by Jaren Johnston, Rodney Clawson and Lee Thomas Miller, who had previously written songs for Keith Urban, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley.
The song is a upbeat and catchy tune that praises the beauty and charm of girls from the south. It was a hit for McGraw, reaching number two on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and number four on the Hot Country Songs chart.
Highway Don't Care (with Taylor Swift)
Tim McGraw - Highway Don't Care ft. Taylor Swift, Keith Urban
This track features Taylor Swift on vocals and Keith Urban on guitar. It was released in 2013 as the third single from McGraw’s album Two Lanes of Freedom.
The song was written by Mark Irwin, Josh Kear and Brad and Brett Warren, who wanted to create a duet for McGraw and Swift, who had previously collaborated on Swift’s song 'Tim McGraw' in 2006.
Keith Urban was added later to play the guitar solo, which he recorded in a hotel room while on tour.
The song is a mid-tempo ballad that tells the story of a man who is separated from his lover, who is driving away from him. He tries to reach her on the phone, but she ignores his calls and listens to the radio instead.
The radio plays a song sung by Swift, which expresses the man’s feelings of longing and regret. He tells her that the highway doesn’t care if she’s alone or if she’s going home, but he does. The song has a dramatic twist at the end, when it is revealed that the woman has been in a car accident while talking to him.
It reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and number four on the Hot Country Songs chart. It also crossed over to the pop charts, peaking at number 22 on the Billboard Hot 100. It won several awards, including Musical Event of the Year and Music Video of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, and Video of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Tim McGraw - Indian Outlaw (Official Music Video)
This track was written by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons and John D Loudermilk, and was the first single from Tim's album Not a Moment Too Soon.
It describes the narrator as a rebellious American Indian character, 'Half Cherokee and Choctaw'. He boasts about his skills as a hunter, a lover and a fighter, and his attraction to a Chippewa woman.
While a big hit at the time, it received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its catchy hook, but criticized its stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans. The song also sparked controversy among some radio stations and Native American groups, who deemed it offensive and racist.
Standing Room Only
Tim McGraw - Standing Room Only (Official Music Video)
This 2023 track is the lead single and title track from his latest album, to be released in August.
The song encourages the listener to live a life that is meaningful and memorable, and hope that by the time you die, there will be 'standing room only' at your funeral.
Just to See You Smile
Just To See You Smile
Released in August 1997, this was the third single from his album Everywhere. The song was written by Mark Nesler and Tony Martin, who had previously written McGraw’s hit 'Time Marches On'.
The song tells the story of a man who sacrifices his own happiness and dreams to please his lover, who eventually leaves him for someone else. He says that he would do anything "just to see you smile".
It was a huge success for McGraw, spending six weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and becoming the top country song of 1998. It also reached number one in Canada and number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. No music video was made for this song.
If You're Reading This
If You're Reading This
This ballad was written in 2007 as the fourth single from his album Let It Go.
The song was co-written by McGraw, Brad Warren and Brett Warren, who were inspired by a magazine article on war casualties. The song is a letter from a soldier who has died in combat to his wife and family, expressing his love, his regrets and his faith. He asks them to lay him down in an open field and to remember that his soul is in heaven.
It was first performed by McGraw at the Academy of Country Music Awards in May 2007, where he was joined by 100 relatives of fallen soldiers on stage. The performance received a standing ovation and was widely praised for its emotional impact.
The song became a hit on country radio, even though there was no studio version available at first. A remixed version of the live recording was later released as a single and added to later pressings of the album.
Don't Take the Girl
Tim McGraw - Don't Take The Girl (Official Music Video)
This 1994 song was the second single from his album Not a Moment Too Soon.
The song was written by Craig Martin and Larry W Johnson, who had previously written songs for Tanya Tucker and John Michael Montgomery.
The song follows the story of a man named Johnny and his love interest through three stages of their lives: childhood, adolescence and adulthood. In each stage, Johnny faces a different challenge and pleads with someone to "don’t take the girl".
'Don’t Take the Girl' was Tim McGraw’s first number one hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and also reached number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100, making it his first crossover hit.
I Like It, I Love It
Tim McGraw - I Like It I Love It (Official Music Video)
This was released in 1995 as the first single from his album All I Want. It was written by Jeb Stuart Anderson, Steve Dukes and Mark Hall, who had previously written songs for George Strait, Patty Loveless and Diamond Rio.
It is an upbeat and catchy tune that describes his infatuation with his lover. It was a huge hit for McGraw, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for five weeks and becoming the top country song of 1995.
My Next Thirty Years
My Next Thirty Years
Written by Phil Vassar, this 2000 track was the fifth and final single from McGraw’s album A Place in the Sun.
The song reflects on the singer's life as he turns 30 years old. He looks back on his past mistakes and achievements, and vows to make the most of his next 30 years. He promises to be more responsible, healthy, loving and optimistic.
Tim McGraw said that he related to the song’s message and its positive outlook on life. He said that he wanted to record the song as a way of expressing his gratitude for his career and his family, as well as his hopes for the future.
Tim McGraw - 7500 OBO
This was the third single from Tim McGraw's 16th studio album Here on Earth in 2021. It was written by Nathan Spicer, Matt McGinn and Jennifer Schott.
It tells the story of a man who wants to sell his old pickup truck because it reminds him too much of his ex-girlfriend. He lists the truck’s features and flaws, as well as the memories they shared in it, and asks for $7500 'or best offer'.
McGraw said that he loved the song’s concept and its clever references to some of his previous hits, such as 'Where the Green Grass Grows', 'Shotgun Rider' and 'Let It Go'.
The official music video features his youngest daughter Audrey in her acting debut, playing the role of the ex-girlfriend.
I Called Mama
Tim McGraw - I Called Mama (Live From the 55th ACM Awards)
This song is a heartfelt ballad that expresses the importance of reaching out to the people who matter most in life, especially in times of trouble or uncertainty.
Tim describes how he was shaken by the news of a friend’s death, and how he decided to call his mother to reconnect with her and seek comfort.
He said that he was drawn to the song’s message of gratitude and appreciation for his mother, Betty Trimble, who raised him and his two sisters as a single parent in Louisiana.
He said that she endured domestic abuse from her husbands, and worked multiple jobs to support their family. He also said that the song resonated with him more during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he realized how precious life is and how important it is to stay in touch with loved ones.
Something Like That
Tim McGraw - Something Like That (Official Music Video)
This catchy song recounts Tim's youthful experience of falling in love for the very first time at age 17. He sees a woman at a county fair on Labor Day weekend, and then five years later, sees her on a plane, while he is heading to Mardi Gras.
He realizes that his feelings for her have never faded, even though he has forgotten her name.
McGraw said that he liked the song’s melody and its nostalgic tone. He said that he wanted to record the song as a way of capturing the innocence and excitement of young love.
Live Like You Were Dying
Tim McGraw - Live Like You Were Dying (Official Music Video)
'Live Like You Were Dying' was the lead single from Tim McGraw's eighth album of the same name, in 2004.
The power ballad tells the story of a man who is diagnosed with a terminal illness and decides to live his life to the fullest, doing things he always wanted to do, such as skydiving, mountain climbing, fishing and bull riding.
McGraw said that he was inspired by the song’s message and its relevance to his own life, as his father, former baseball player Tug McGraw, had died of brain cancer in 2004. He said that he wanted to record the song as a tribute to his father and as a reminder to himself and his fans to appreciate every moment of life.
Please Remember Me
Tim McGraw - Please Remember Me (Official Music Video)
Written by Rodney Crowell and Will Jennings and first recorded by Crowell on his 1995 album Jewel of the South, Tim McGraw covered it for his fourth album, A Place in the Sun.
The power ballad tells the story of a person who leaves his partner and goes on a new journey. He asks his partner to remember him fondly and wishes him or her well. He also expresses his hope that they will meet again someday.
McGraw said that he was drawn to the song’s melody and its emotional lyrics. He said that he wanted to record the song as a way of expressing his feelings for his wife Faith Hill and their family.
Humble & Kind
Tim McGraw - Humble And Kind (Official Video)
This ballad was written by Lori McKenna in 2016, as the second single from his 14th studio album, Damn Country Music. McKenna later recorded her rendition of the song for her eighth studio album, The Bird and the Rifle.
It is a heartfelt ballad that offers a series of life lessons and advice to the singer's children, such as being respectful, generous, compassionate and grateful.
Tim McGraw said that he was moved by the song’s message and its relevance to his own family, as he has three daughters with his wife Faith Hill. He said that he wanted to record the song as a gift to his children and as a reminder to himself. He also said that he hoped the song would inspire people to be more kind and humble in their daily lives.