Tim McGraw has claimed a unique space in country music history. Alongside contemporaries like Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, he's part of a rare class of country singers that have bridged the gap between 80s and 90s hitmakers — folks like George Strait, Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson — to today's roster of country radio stars.
Released in 1991, McGraw's first single, "What Room Was the Holiday In," didn't chart but marked the launch of his accomplished career. He broke through in a big way with his sophomore album, Not a Moment Too Soon, in 1994. The record gained steam with its memorable and controversial lead single, "Indian Outlaw," but its follow-up, "Don't Take the Girl," offered McGraw his first No. 1 hit on the Billboard country charts.
The Louisiana native has recorded 16 albums over the course of his career, including an entire album with his wife, Faith Hill. During that run, he's earned three Grammys, 10 CMA Awards, 11 ACM Awards, and sold more than 80 million albums worldwide. McGraw also found time for an acting career along the way, starring in the film adaptation of Friday Night Lights, The Blind Side and the Yellowstone prequel, 1883, among other roles.
Below, take a look at 29 Tim McGraw songs that landed at No. 1 on the country charts.
"Angry All the Time"From: 'Set This Circus Down' (2001)
"Angry All the Time" was the second single from the 2001 album Set This Circus Down. McGraw's collaboration with his wife, Faith Hill, is a mournful ballad about a relationship falling apart. While the slow number gradually picks up its' pace, the lyrical storytelling is the star of this Bruce Robison-penned tune.
"Humble and Kind"From: 'Damn Country Music' (2005)
One of Tim McGraw's more recent singles was "Humble and Kind," a reference to simple life advice from a parent to their children. Lori McKenna wrote the song about her relationship with her own young children, which she also recorded for her acclaimed solo album, The Bird and the Rifle.
"Shotgun Rider"From: 'Let It Go' (2007)
A new, pop-heavier sound took over the genre during the early 2000s, but McGraw never strayed too far from his neo-traditional roots. When the pedal steel comes in early on his 2007 single, "Shotgun Rider," it reminds listeners that the 55-year-old has never really compromised the heart of his sound.
"My Best Friend"From: 'A Place in the Sun' (1999)
Tim McGraw surely had Faith Hill in mind when he chose to record the 1999 track "My Best Friend." Written by Bill Luther and Aimee Mayo, the ballad is about the depths of a relationship built on a firm foundation. It was the third single from A Place in the Sun and was quite a sonic departure from the upbeat singalong that preceded it, "Something Like That."
"Grown Men Don't Cry"From: 'Set This Circus Down' (2001)
"Grown Men Don't Cry" leans on one of McGraw's most consistent storytelling narratives, which follows young characters as they navigate different stages of life. Here, he recalls people from his past that he can no longer see. As the narrator grows older, he admires the family that he's surrounded himself with and weeps tears of joy at the life he has for himself.
"Back When"From: 'Live Like You Were Dying' (2004)
Another pedal steel scorcher, "Back When," has a honky tonk swing throughout. The narrator recalls the "good old days" as he somewhat curmudgeonly laments on words that no longer "mean" what they did when the narrator was a kid.
"Everywhere"From: 'Everywhere' (1997)
"Everywhere" was the second single and title track of an album that catapulted McGraw into superstardom. The fiddle-laden track tells the story of a man who plans a life on the road but dreams of sharing it with a significant other after his former love says goodbye.
"Southern Voice"From: 'Southern Voice' (2009)
From Dale Earnhardt to Bear Bryant to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "Southern Voice" is an ode to the people that shaped the South. It's also filled with imagery of places like Daytona Beach and Apalachicola. It's the type of song that live audiences love, proudly shouting out the references that hit closest to home.
"Watch the Wind Blow By"From: 'Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors' (2002)
"Watch the Wind Blow By" was the final single from Tim McGraw's Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors project. The album mixed the country star's familiar Texas swing stylings with some bluesier sounds. This single, which hit No. 1 in 2004, is the perfect example of that sonic shift. "Watch the Wind Blow By" was also co-written by Anders Osborne, who's had quite a career as a blues singer-songwriter himself.
"Real Good Man"From: 'Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors' (2002)
"Real Good Man" was built on the kind of foot-stomping, hard-driving country that would fit perfectly within the fictional Yellowstone universe.
"Unbroken"From: 'Set This Circus Down' (2001)
"Unbroken" is an uptempo track about the bliss of being in love and how that unbridled joy can make the past seem like a distant memory. It's a toe-tapping, feel-good tune that can hit especially hard if you find yourself in the throws of a blossoming relationship.
"Felt Good on My Lips"From: 'Number One Hits' (2010)
Including a new track on a collection of greatest hits is a strong indicator of a track that's destined for greatness. "Felt Good on My Lips" was no exception, thanks to its catchy drum breakdown, driving piano and infectious lyrics made for loud singalongs.
"Bring on the Rain"From: 'Burn' (2000)
Tim McGraw has recorded many stellar collaborations throughout his career, but this track with Jo Dee Messina stands as one of his best. Messina, who is currently enjoying her own career resurgence thanks to Cole Swindell's "She Had Me at Heads Carolina," included the chart-topping duet on her 2000 album Burn.
"She Never Lets It Go to Her Heart"From: 'All I Want' (1995)
One of his earliest No. 1 hits, "She Never Lets It Go to Her Heart," is a cut from McGraw's third studio album, All I Want. The song has more of that classic 90s country sound, marked by the slow metronome tap of the drumstick, but it still fits perfectly into the rest of his catalog.
"The Cowboy in Me"From: 'Set This Circus Down' (2001)
"The Cowboy in Me" hits the kind of notes you don't often hear McGraw tackle. Lyrically, the narrator reflects on everything he's most stubborn about. Ironically, this one leans slightly more into electric guitar than his trademark fiddles and pedal steel, but that could be by design.
"May We All"From: 'Dig Your Roots' (2016)
Released in 2016, "May We All" was a collaboration with the now-defunct duo Florida Georgia Line." The trio sings about the simple pleasures of small-town life and comes complete with a cinematic video featuring a dirt race track folks gather at for their weekly entertainment. "May We All" have such a place to congregate.
"Not a Moment Too Soon"From: 'Not a Moment Too Soon' (1994)
One of two tracks from Not a Moment Too Soon to reach the top of the charts, the record's title track is another ballad about the timing of love. In the sweet tune, McGraw gratefully celebrates the romantic bond forged at precisely the right time.
"My Next Thirty Years"From: 'A Place in the Sun' (1999)
"My Next Thirty Years" is a hopeful look at what life will look like for the narrator as he glances at his future. But he will have to straighten up if he wants that fresh start. The up-tempo, organ-driven tune sees a bright future ahead as he adds a few more salads into his diet and gets rid of a few beers. Maybe, he'll find time to raise a family, too. The world is his oyster.
"Just to See You Smile"From: 'Everywhere' (1997)
"Just to See You Smile" has a way of combining McGraw's older, neo-traditional sound with a fresh creative direction. The heartfelt single is a cut from Everywhere, an album that was integral in forging a new chapter in his career.
"Highway Don't Care"From: 'Two Lanes of Freedom' (2013)
A collaboration for the ages, "Highway Don't Care" was included on Tim McGraw's first Big Machine record in 2013, Two Lanes of Freedom. With Taylor Swift on background vocals and Keith Urban providing guitar, this big and bold track helped McGraw forge a new musical path as he crossed into his 40s.
"It's Your Love"From: 'Everywhere' (1997)
"It's Your Love" is the most epic duet of Tim McGraw's career. The ballad marked his first formal single with Hill, which became a cross-genre success in 1997, pushing out pop stars like Mariah Carey and Celine Dion to become a Top 10 hit on Billboard's Hot 100 chart.
"One of Those Nights"From: 'Two Lanes of Freedom' (2013)
Another number one from Tim McGraw's debut with Big Machine, "One of Those Nights," features a big, driving chorus that McGraw has become a trademark element of his most beloved career hits.
"Please Remember Me"From: 'A Place in the Sun' (1999)
Penned and originally recorded by Rodney Crowell, "Please Remember Me" celebrates the good times of a relationship that's coming to an end. McGraw's version of the song, which he recorded for 1999's A Place in the Sun, features Patty Loveless on harmonies.
"Last Dollar (Fly Away)"From: 'Let It Go' (2007)
"Last Dollar (Fly Away)" acts as the acapella opening for his 2007 record Let it Go, reminiscent of the Eagles' iconic "Seven Bridges Road." When the drum kicks into the first verse, it transforms into an upbeat, positive anthem about living in the moment.
"Don't Take the Girl"From: 'Not a Moment Too Soon' (1994)
"Don't Take the Girl" is an all-time great country ballad still sung in karaoke bars across the country. McGraw again revisits his favorite storytelling device, taking the listener on a journey through different stages of a person's life.
"Something Like That"From: 'A Place in the Sun' (1999)
"Something Like That" continued an era in Tim McGraw's career where the songs were all fun, upbeat, and about being young and dumb. Another gem from A Place in the Sun, the song became one of the most-played singles of both 1999 and 2000.
"I Like It, I Love It"From: 'All I Want' (1995)
For over 20 years, the Nashville Predators hockey team has played "I Like It, I Love It" over arena speakers every time they score a goal. That's just one example of the track's staying power, even 27 years after its initial release.
"Where the Green Grass Grows"From: 'Everywhere' (1997)
An anthem about small-town living, "Where the Green Grass Grows" became the fifth and final single off Everywhere. McGraw later sampled the twangy tune, penned by Jess Leary and Craig Wiseman, for his 2021 single, "7500 OBO."
"Live Like You Were Dying"From: 'Live Like You Were Dying' (2004)
"Live Like You Were Dying" is the Tim McGraw song that your friend that doesn't like country music knows. The narrator sings about everything he wants to do before his last breath, but it's with an energized spirit that wants to soak every last moment of life in before his days' end.
Tim McGraw's dad, Tug, was diagnosed with a brain tumor around the time he penned this song, and it serves as a musical tribute to the former Major League Baseball star. Upon its release in 2004, the emotionally-charged track became a cross-genre sensation, charting on the Billboard Hot 100, Mainstream Top 40, Adult Top 40, Adult Contemporary and Hot Country Songs charts.