Tim McGraw fans have reason to rejoice this week as the veteran country singer releases his new album, Standing Room Only, on August 25th via Big Machine Records and McGraw Music. The title track is currently climbing the country charts and marks the Grammy-winning artist’s 92nd chart entry and is sure to become one of the most beloved Tim McGraw songs.
Co-produced by McGraw and his longtime producer Byron Gallimore, Standing Room Only features 13 new songs and it’s McGraw’s first new album since 2020. “As an artist, I always want to dig deeper and get better every time I make a new record — it’s a big part of what drives me, and I really believe this is one of the best projects we’ve made,” McGraw said in a press release. “I’ve been working on this album since 2020, and this collection of songs are some of the most emotional, thought-provoking and life-affirming music I’ve ever recorded.”
Fans will get a chance to hear the new music live when McGraw hits the road for his Standing Room Only Tour ’24, which kicks off next March in Jacksonville, FL., with Carly Pearce set to open the 30-city trek. “I always want to deliver the best possible concert I can for the fans,” McGraw said. “We’ve got some really special plans to make this the biggest and the best tour we’ve ever done.”
Since scoring his first hit with “Indian Outlaw” in 1994, the Louisiana-native has gone on to earn 68 Top Ten singles. Here, we take a look at some of the best Tim McGraw songs that have become his most memorable hits.
10 Tim McGraw songs and the stories behind them
1. “Indian Outlaw” (1994)
With decades of hits now behind him, most don’t remember that McGraw’s career actually got off to a slow start. His first album for Curb Records didn’t produce any hits — even though the label released three singles — and though he’s had multiple gold and platinum selling albums throughout his career, he jokes the first one only “went wood,” not garnering any precious metal at all.
McGraw’s fortunes changed with this song, the first single from his second album Not a Moment Too Soon. Written by Jumpin’ Gene Simmons and John D. Loudermilk, the song peaked at No. 8 on the chart. Though the single generated controversy because of the cliched Native American imagery, it launched McGraw’s career.
2. “Don’t Take the Girl” (1994)
Just when McGraw could have been dismissed as a lightweight artist after the novelty hit “Indian Outlaw,” this tender ballad showcased a more substantive side of the Louisiana native and changed the trajectory of his career. Written by Craig Martin and Larry W. Johnson, “Don’t Take the Girl” became McGraw’s first number one country single and reached No. 17 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.
3. “She Can’t Be Really Gone” (1995)
This mournful ballad about a guy missing the woman he loves was written by veteran Nashville songwriter Gary Burr and was an early hit that established McGraw as a balladeer capable of bringing considerable depth and emotion to a well-crafted lyric.
The second single from McGraw’s All I Want album, the song peaked at No. 2 on the country chart. The end of the poignant video features the Dylan Thomas quote, “Rage against the dying of the light,” and includes an 800 number for the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation.
4. “I Like It, I Love It” (1995)
This uptempo hit is often played at major sporting events as it never fails to get a crowd on their feet and singing along. In fact, Music City’s hockey team, the Nashville Predators, have a special version of the song that’s used when the team scores. Penned by Mark Hall, Jeb Stuart Anderson and Steve Dukes, the song was the first single from McGraw’s All I Want album and went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
5. “One of These Days” (1997)
This song was originally recorded by hit Nashville songwriter Marcus Hummon on his 1995 album All in Good Time. Hummon penned the poignant ballad with Monty Powell and Kip Raines. In the first verse, the lyric finds the narrator confessing to bullying another kid in school and the second verse he’s reflecting with regret on using his high school girlfriend for his own selfish pleasure then dumping her. In the final verse, he wrestles to come to terms with his behavior and learn to love himself. This song was the fourth single from McGraw’s Everywhere album and peaked at No. 2 on the country chart.
6. “It’s Your Love” (1997)
Fans love Tim McGraw and his superstar wife Faith Hill, so it’s not surprising they really love it when the couple join forces to make great music. “It’s Your Love” was written by Stephony Smith and was included on McGraw’s Everywhere album. The song spent six weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and also went to No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot 100, giving McGraw and Hill their first top ten on that chart. (Read more about Faith Hill and Tim McGraw’s Picture-Perfect Marriage)
7. “Everywhere” (1997)
Written by Mike Reid and Craig Wiseman, this was the second single from McGraw’s Everywhere album. The lyric tells the story of a relationship that ended because the girl wanted to remain in their hometown while the guy follows his wanderlust, but always carries her memory with him everywhere. Buoyed by a picturesque video, the song flew to the top of the chart, earning McGraw yet another No. 1 hit.
8. “Just To See You Smile” (1997)
This sweet love song is about a failed relationship where the guy just loves her so much, he’ll do anything to make her smile. Written by Mark Nesler and Tony Martin, the song was the third single from McGraw’s Everywhere album and spent six weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Singles & Tracks chart. It earned the honor of being Billboard’s Country Single of the Year and holds the record for the longest chart run of any country single in the 90s, riding the Billboard chart for 42 weeks.
9. “Where the Green Grass Grows” (1998)
This uptempo ode to the joys of rural life was released as the fifth single from McGraw’s hit album Everywhere, which was named CMA Album of the Year in 1997. Penned by Craig Wiseman and Jess Leary, the song was a No. 1 country hit and McGraw sampled it in his 2021 hit “7500 OBO.”
10. “Something Like That” (1999)
Often referred to as the “barbecue stain” song because of the line McGraw sings that says “I had a barbecue stain on my white t-shirt. She was killing me in that mini-skirt,” this uptempo hit about unexpectedly reuniting with a former flame on a flight is one of McGraw’s best loved hits. Written by Rick Ferrell and Keith Follese, the song became a No. 1 tune and McGraw has often said it’s one of his favorite songs to play live.
11. “My Next 30 Years” (2000)
Written by Phil Vassar, a hitmaking country star himself, this song was the fifth single from McGraw’s A Place in the Sun album. The thoughtful lyric finds a man taking stock of life on his 30th birthday and looking positively toward a better future. The song went to No. 1 on the country chart and No. 27 on the Hot 100.
12. “The Cowboy in Me” (2001) Tim McGraw songs
Written by Al Anderson, Craig Wiseman and Jeffrey Steele, this song finds the narrator admitting to his selfish and sometimes destructive tendencies and attributing it to his renegade cowboy spirit. The third single from McGraw’s Set This Circus Down album, the song became another of McGraw’s many No. 1 hits. During most its chart run, it overlapped with McGraw’s duet with Jo Dee Messina, “Bring on the Rain,” which was No. 1 the previous week.
13. “Grown Men Don’t Cry” (2001)
Released as the first single from McGraw’s Set This Circus Down album, this poignant ballad was written by Tom Douglas and Steve Seskin. The lyric finds the narrator detailing several scenarios that bring him to tears such as a homeless woman and her son in a parking lot as McGraw sings: “Like ice cream melting they embraced. Years of bad decisions running down her face.”
The second verse of the chart-topping hit finds the narrator reflecting on his relationship with his father and the third verse finds him spending time with his family and a bedtime story with his little girl. Each verse packs an emotional wallop.
14. “Live Like You Were Dying” (2004) Tim McGraw songs
Written by hit Nashville songwriters Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, this life-affirming anthem was the title track of McGraw’s eighth album. The song spent seven nonconsecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s country chart and became the biggest country single of the year. “Live Like You Were Dying” won numerous accolades, including Single and Song of the Year honors from both the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, as well as the Grammy Award for Best Country Song. The song’s inspirational message about living life to the fullest and being the best person you can be continues to resonate nearly two decades later.
15. “Over and Over Again” (2004)
Nelly and Tim McGraw might seem like an unlikely pairing, but it’s hard to listen to this catchy groove without wanting to hear it over and over again. Released as a single from Nelly’s fourth album, Suit, the song peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Top 40. McGraw included the duet on his 2006 album Reflected: Greatest Hits: Vol. 2. The video for the song was directed by Nelly and Erik White.
16. “The Last Dollar (Fly Away)” (2006) Tim McGraw songs
This upbeat hit was the first single from McGraw’s Let it Go album and features his three daughters singing on the end of the song. (See what Tim McGraw’s daughters have to say about collaborating with him here!) When it hit No. 1 on the country chart, it became his first song to top the chart since “Back When” in 2004. The song was written by Big Kenny, half of the duo Big & Rich, after a night gambling in Vegas that took him down to his last dollar.
“I’ll never forget the day I played him the song,” Alphin has said. “We were at Blackbird Studio and Tim was making a new album. As we sat together in my truck, I played him a couple of the songs that I was recording. The second song I played was ‘Last Dollar.’ He looked over at me and said, ‘Are you gonna let me record that?’”
17. “My Little Girl” (2006) Tim McGraw songs
Considered a great interpreter of songs, McGraw is not known as a songwriter. This single marks the first time he co-wrote one of his hits. Penned with Tom Douglas, the song was featured in the 2006 film Flicka, which starred McGraw alongside Alison Lohman and Maria Bello. The song peaked at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and was nominated for Best Song by the Broadcast Film Critics Association in 2006.
18. “Highway Don’t Care” (2013) Tim McGraw songs
McGraw teamed up with superstar Taylor Swift for this chart-topping hit, which is made even cooler by featuring Keith Urban on lead guitar. Written by Mark Irwin, Josh Kear and brothers Brad and Brett Warren, the song was the third single from McGraw’s debut album for Big Machine Records, Two Lanes of Freedom. The song won CMA Awards for Musical Event of the Year and Music Video as well as nabbing the ACM Award for Video of the Year.
19. “Humble and Kind” (2016)
Released as the second single from McGraw’s 14th studio album, Damn Country Music, this thoughtful ballad became McGraw’s 26th No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. The song won a Grammy for Best Country Song as well as CMA Song of the Year and Country Song of the Year at the American Music Awards. The song was written by iconic songwriter Lori McKenna for her husband and five children. McKenna recorded the song on her 2016 album The Bird and the Rifle.
20. “Standing Room Only” (2023) Tim McGraw songs
Written by Craig Wiseman (whose talent has carried McGraw to the top of the charts multiple times) with Tommy Cecil and Patrick Murphy, this song is title track of McGraw’s brand new album. The thoughtful lyric finds the singer leaning into an appreciation for the things that really matter in life and expressing a desire to live a life so that “when I die there’s standing room only.” The song is currently in the top 15 on the country charts and climbing.
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Deborah Evans Price believes everyone has a story to tell and, as a journalist, she considers it a privilege to share those stories with the world. Deborah contributes to Billboard, CMA Close Up, Jesus Calling, First for Women, Woman’s World and Country Top 40 with Fitz, among other media outlets. Author of the CMA Awards Vault and Country Faith, Deborah is the 2013 winner of the Country Music Association’s Media Achievement Award and the 2022 recipient of the Cindy Walker Humanitarian Award from the Academy of Western Artists. Deborah lives on a hill outside Nashville with her husband, Gary, son Trey and cat Toby.