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Rewinding the Country Charts: In 1996, Tracy Lawrence Marched to No. 1

Twenty years ago, Lawrence led with Bobby Braddock's story-song.

On June 22, 1996, Tracy Lawrence spent his first of three weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart with “Time Marches On.”

The song was written by Country Music Hall of Famer Bobby Braddock, who penned No. 1 songs in each decade from the ’60s to the 2000s, starting with Tammy Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” in 1968. Other leaders on his songwriting resume: George Jones’ iconic “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980), Toby Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me” (2001) and Billy Currington’s “People Are Crazy” (2009).


With its references to Hank Williams and Bob Dylan, “Time” paints the story of a couple and its two kids, trooping through time, battling everyday challenges like depression and high cholesterol, as the world changes around them. By the end, sadly, but in true country music form, “Momma’s out of touch with reality / Daddy’s in the ground, beneath the maple tree.”

“Time” became Lawrence’s seventh of eight Hot Country Songs No. 1s. He logged 19 consecutive career-opening top 10s in 1992-97, starting with his chart-topping debut, “Sticks and Stones.” He most recently led in 2007 with “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” which caught on when stations began playing an alternate version featuring guest vocals from Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney.

The most recent album from Atlanta, Texas, native Lawrence, now 48, Headlights, Taillights and Radios, reached No. 26 on Top Country Albums in 2013.