Saturday (Feb. 14) marks Valentine’s Day, where people celebrate the connections they make with our significant others. With that in mind, we thought we’d go back in the 615 Archives and pick out a few love songs that have stood the test of time.
In making the selections for this week, we admit that it would be easy to include a lot of Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, George Strait, and so forth. So we decided to pick one song from the past 20 years, with each artist only appearing once. Additionally, we also chose five songs from before the time period that have also continued to unite lovers for years.
Happy Valentines’ Day, everyone!
1996 — “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” Travis Tritt
Known for his southern rock bad boy side, Tritt toned things down for this light-hearted love song that made quite a bit of impact with couples in 1996, peaking at No. 3.
1997 — “It’s Your Love,” Tim McGraw with Faith Hill
If there ever was a slam dunk as a single, this was it. You pair country music’s newest couple, give them a well-written lyric and equally beautiful video, and simply watch the song fly up the charts — which it did. The track hit No. 1 on the Country charts for six weeks, and also peaked at No. 7 on the Hot 100.
1998 — “Love Of My Life,” Sammy Kershaw
Perhaps best known for a series of honky-tonk hits like “Cadillac Style” and “Don’t Go Near The Water,” Kershaw turned balladeer in 1998 with a song that earned him a No. 2 ranking on the chart — and several more fans, who might not have been aware of his multi-faceted talent in the process.
1999 — “Amazed,” Lonestar
It had been more than three decades since a country single had topped the charts for eight weeks, but Lonestar’s epic love song did just that in the summer of 1999. A remix of the song gave the group the distinction of becoming the first country artist to top the Hot 100 since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton in 1983.
2000 — “When I Said I Do,” Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black
Going from Lulu Belle and Scotty to Johnny and June to Tim and Faith, country fans have always had a connection with real life couples. The first recording of Clint’s to feature his actress wife was one of his last major hits at radio, giving him his final trip to the top in 2000.
2001 — “One More Day With You,” Diamond Rio
When the group recorded the song, they might have thought they had just another love song on their hands. However, with the February death of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, the song started to spread its’ wings, and then later in the year, different remixes of the song gave it new life after the 9/11 attacks. All told, the song spent two weeks at No. 1, but its’ impact goes far beyond a simple chart position.
2002 — “Somebody Like You,” Keith Urban
Love songs don’t always have to be slow and sappy. Urban’s first single from Golden Road was a great example of this, with its’ sing along beat. The video — which featured then-girlfriend Niki Taylor — also got people talking as well. It spent six weeks atop the charts, and in 2009, was named as the number one song for the 21st Century’s first decade.
2003 — “Forever and For Always,” Shania Twain
For all the pyrotechnics of a Twain collaboration with former husband/producer “Mutt” Lange, this record was a little more laid back than some of her most recent fare, such as “I’m Gonna Get You Good” and “Up.” Fans gravitated to the song as well. It hit No. 4 on the Country Singles chart, earning the superstar her most recent Gold single in the process.
2004 — “Remember When,” Alan Jackson
Jackson has never shied away from writing about his marriage to Denise, with his 1998 single “I’ll Go On Loving You” (written during a brief separation) being one of his top moments. Also not too far down that list is this more romantic single about his spouse of 35-plus years that was one of the most played records at Country Radio in 2004, spending a pair of weeks atop the Billboard charts.
2005 — “Bless The Broken Road,” Rascal Flatts
Sometimes a song just needs the right home. The track had floated around on different albums before it came to the attention of Rascal Flatts, who wasted little time cutting it. Needless to say, it was a good move. The song spent five weeks at the pinnacle of the hit list, and also gave them their very first Top 20 ranking on the AC chart. And just how many weddings has this one been a part of?
2006 — “Your Man,” Josh Turner
Turner was looking for a little bit of a different sound for the lead-off track for his second album, Long Black Train, the song that kicked his career off. With this dreamy melody and romantic lyrics, that showcased his strong vocals, he got it. The tune hit the top of the charts in March of 2006 and remains a crowd favorite to this day.
2007 — “Lost In This Moment,” Big & Rich
Known for such party songs as “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy),” Big & Rich switched gears for their first romantic ballad in 2007. The single became the duo’s only chart-topper to date.
2008 — “All I Want To Do,” Sugarland
Hey, it’s not all about holding hands and looking at the stars. Sugarland put a little bit of steam in the summer of 2008, topping the chart in August — and making Jennifer Nettles‘ suggestive “Oohs” a favorite of the male audience.
2009 — “I Run To You,” Lady Antebellum
In spite of all the negativity of the world, the one thing that should remain is a couple’s commitment to each other. This was the message of the first number one from Lady Antebellum, and also gained them a Grammy nomination.
2010 — “Mine,” Taylor Swift
From her third studio album, Speak Now, this was a chance for Swift to showcase her development as a writer — with a song about a couple who had withstood the doubts of others and rough times to come through on the other side.
2011 — “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson
Just like a football game, you don’t play a record on paper. The styles of Aldean and Clarkson couldn’t be any different, but it worked — and then some. From the moment the two performed it on the 2010 CMA Awards, the race was on. The song made Clarkson the third American Idol alum to top the country charts, following Josh Gracin and Carrie Underwood.
2012 — “A Woman Like You,” Lee Brice
Brice, with his ball caps and beard, might not look like the stereotype of a sensitive balladeer. But if you sample his biggest hits, you will find that’s what he has hit with time after time. The song became his first number one hit.
2013 — “More Than Miles,” Brantley Gilbert
Just like with Brice, Gilbert doesn’t have the look nor the image of the romantic lead, but he poured his heart and soul into this salute to his significant other, who waits patiently while he’s out on the road. The song proves there’s a lot more to Gilbert than simply going “Bottoms Up.”
2014 — “My Eyes,” Blake Shelton with Gwen Sebastian
Shelton has always had an undeniable bond with his The Voice cohort, and nowhere has that been more apparent than on this single from the spring of 2014. Shelton brought out a playful personality, and Sebastian’s sensual harmonies made this one of the big hits of the summer.
2015 — “Perfect Storm,” Brad Paisley
Paisley has had some great love song moments, but his most recent chart-topper might very well be his most potent. Buoyed by a strong and tight production, this gave him his first trip to the top in almost four years. The lyrics, which were co-written with Lee Thomas Miller, also stand as some as the most inventive to describe that special person.
And for those whose taste goes beyond the past 20 years, here are five more classics that need to be on any country fan’s Valentine’s Day playlist.
1970 — “For The Good Times,” Ray Price
1979 — “You Decorated My Life,” Kenny Rogers
1984 — “When We Make Love,” Alabama
1987 — “Forever and Ever, Amen,” Randy Travis
1995 — “Till You Love Me,” Reba McEntire