Number One Hits
Written by David England
I suppose there must be someone out there who hasn’t heard of Tim McGraw. From his self- titled debut album in 1993 through to his current smash Sundown Heaven Town, he’s had a hit or two or three. Should you find someone though, this collection of number one hits is the perfect place to start as an introduction to all things McGraw. There are 24 tracks on this double CD collection so if I haven’t reviewed your personal favourite, I apologise!
You may be the type of person who tends to like the unknown, seldom played track, the equivalent of an old B side, but play the first track and tell me that it’s not the most perfect song ever of living your life ever recorded. The smash hit “Live Like You Were Dying” a CMA, ACM and Grammy award winner is a huge statement to open with. The song cries out to you not to waste your life, don’t wait until it’s too late. Take it, run with it and live it.
Once you’ve opened with a big number where do you go from here? How about his first number one single? “Don’t Take The Girl’ from “Not A Moment Too Soon” is a ballad of a boy’s life from childhood through to fatherhood taking in the milestones of his life where a women is concerned. It set the McGraw sound for the future and a voice that could never be mistaken for anyone else. The title track quickly gave him his second number one.
Taken from the “All I Want” album, “I Like It, I Love It” and “She Never Lets It Go To Her Heart”, the former giving us an bluesy rock n roll tune to show us it’s not only ballads he can get to number one
After his marriage to Faith Hill, she pops up in “It’s Your Love” taken from my favourite McGraw Album “Everywhere”. Listening to the song you feel at time as if we’re peeling back the curtains into their relationship. Written by Stephany Smith, who would go on to write the wonderfully humorous “Back When” also included on this CD, it’s a beautiful song and sung by two people who are clearly in love. Other tracks include the title track, a story of a couple who agreed to leave their small town but when it comes down to it she just can’t leave through to “Just To See You Smile’ & “Where The Green Grass Grows”.
“Please Remember Me” a sweeping song with an urgent yearning chorus and is the track responsible for my wife’s love of his music. McGraw support by Patty Loveless on harmony vocals delivers a true country power ballad, and I defy you not to sing along. It’s one of the only videos of McGraw I remember seeing thanks to TOTP2 on BBC 2 and Terry Wogan if I remember correctly. “My Next 30 Years” shares themes with other McGraw songs with him looking at the time that’s gone past and the time to come. “Something Like That” & “My Best Friend” complete the second batch of four number one hits, this time from “A Place In The Sun”.
Like the previous two albums “Set This Circus Down” contains four number ones as well. The pick of them is “The Cowboy In Me”, a sort of long necks in the air anthem for the country way of life and a great song to hear live. “Grown Men Don’t Cry”, “Angry All The Time” & “Unbroken” are also included.
McGraw recorded the next album with his own band The Dancehall Doctors giving us the title of the album, “Tim McGraw & the Dancehall Doctors”. Two tracks from this album managed to make it to number one; “Watch The Wind Blows” and “Real Good Man”, which is a real crowd pleaser live and gets everyone singing along to the chorus. I’ve seen him sing this live, up close and personal, at the Venetian in Vegas and he was absolutely on the money
“Last Dollar” from “Let It Go” is a brilliantly bouncy, insanely catchy song. No surprise then to learn that is was written by Big Kenny of Big & Rich fame and based on his own experience of being down to his last dollar. It’s worth googling the story.
“Southern Voice” taken from the album with the same name with its great guitar & harmonica intro and breakdowns, reads like a who’s who of people who have put forward southern ideals, whether that’s musically, politically or in the sporting world. It feels like a riposte to those who treat the south as being somewhat backward.
Closing this collection out is the only song not to get to number one, the slightly controversial “Indian Outlaw” and what became the lead single from this album and subsequent number one “Felt Good On My Lips”. This single eventually wound up on his final album on the Curb label, “Emotional Traffic”.
With this CD only going up to 2010, we could soon be having a follow up although whether this will feature any Curb records is probably in doubt. McGraw however, with his trademark cowboy hat & fish tattoo is here for a long while yet if his latest album is anything to go by. Here’s to his next 30 years.