In his 30-year career, Tim McGraw has sold more than 50 million records worldwide, while taking 10 of his albums and 43 of his singles all the way to #1.
As legend has it, the singer from Start, Louisiana, wrote his first song at the age of 14, after watching the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981. He doesn’t remember that much about that song, except that, in his own words, “it was terrible”.
Holler took a round trip right back to the 90s to pick out the very best of them:
McGraw gets super meta on a spin-off of Taylor Swift’s song ‘Tim McGraw’, as he imagines his lover driving away from him.
As she turns on the car radio, she hears Taylor’s voice singing the exact words that Tim wants to say to her.
Keith Urban then appears out of nowhere for a cameo guitar solo and it all starts to get a bit Anchorman 2.
McGraw can handle a big weeper better than most, easing into every corner like it’s riding on rails.
Written by Will Jennings and Rodney Crowell, this gorgeously sad ballad had already been cut by Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt, as well as by Crowell himself.
When Tim got his hands on it, he added some lush country-pop production and a Patty Loveless harmony vocal, driving it all the way to #1.
Tim bumps into his first love on a plane to Mardi Gras, before beginning to reminisce about when they hooked up five years before.
She asks if he remembers her, and he tells her that "a heart don't forget something like that". It’s all very sweet, but also, it was only five years ago! How much of a player does she think he is?! This is Tim McGraw! Of course he’s going to remember her; he’s probably been singing about her ever since.
He sang it while sitting on a diving board during lockdown for Elton John’s Living Room Concert for America, in one of 2020's strangely more explicable moments.
Country music’s most sexually potent power couple, Tim and his wife Faith Hill recorded this soaring power ballad for Let It Go in 2007.
The couple like to perform it live while sitting between each other’s legs, gazing into each others’ eyes in front of a stadium full of awkward fans; most are found shuffling around, not knowing where to look.
“If you're reading this, I'm already home”, he sings in this tear-jerking tribute to the families of soldiers who have died at war, written as a letter from a soldier to his family.
McGraw received a standing ovation after his performance of the song at the ACM awards show just a few weeks after it was written, with a hundred relatives of soldiers joining him onstage.
Nearly a decade before Nelly called shotgun on Florida Georgia Line’s ‘Cruise’, he had Tim McGraw sitting up next to him in the passenger seat for this laid-back hip-hop country crossover power ballad.
Mixing the best of both genres with its sensitive machismo and smooth breaks, the cassette would have almost definitely been playing on repeat on nineteen-year-old Sam Hunt’s car stereo.
After spending 42 weeks on the Billboard charts, this sprightly country shuffle from Everywhere set the record for the longest chart run of any country single in the 90s.
Tim played the sad-sack romantic in this lovelorn tale of unconditional, but ultimately unrequited, love. It’s heartbreaking just imagining it.
This song is a roll call of icons from the American south, beginning with Hank Williams before taking in everyone from Dolly Parton and Scarlett O'Hara to Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks.
It’s hard to imagine many other lyricists that could squeeze William Faulkner and Michael Jordan into the same song, but songwriters Bob DiPiero and Tom Douglas somehow managed it, even fitting the word ‘Apalachicola' in along the way.
Unfortunately for McGraw, a lifelong LSU Tigers fan, this song meant he’s had to spend the rest of his career singing the praises of Bear Bryant, and the University of Alabama's Crimson Tide football team.
A sleeper hit from Not A Moment Too Soon and a 90s dancefloor classic, McGraw stars in the lead role as a recently dumped no-hoper who’s heading down to Mexico with a tequila hangover to try and get some perspective on it all.
Chances that he actually found any perspective there are pretty slim, but he did come up with this incredible pun.
One of six singles to be lifted from McGraw’s breakthrough album Everywhere, as he turned away from the more traditional sound of his first three albums and added a little snap, crackle and pop to his country sound.
Despite all the success, Tim is longing to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city to return to a simpler life out in the country.
A decade after their first duet together, Tim and Faith finally got around to putting out a whole album, including this sweeping power ballad. The power couple trade verses as they offer out romantic advice to a girl’s potential male suitors.
With lines like, “she don't give a damn about your pride or the lies that you're hiding behind”, it ended up being a quietly subversive feminist-lite take on overbearing masculinity, which sat in stark contrast to the bulk of “girl” songs clogging up the country airwaves at the time.
It’s not all touchy-feely power ballads around here you know. McGraw can throw down with the best of them, and ‘I Like It, I Love It’ is his ultimate party anthem.
Here, he ditches his mates for a new love interest and blows fifty dollars winning a teddy bear for her at a country fair. Elsewhere, he opens doors for her, takes out the trash and sweeps the floor, and implies that these small acts of courtesy represent some huge behavioural shift.
It makes you wonder just how lazy and uninvolved he was with his previous girlfriends.
Written by Lori McKenna, this CMA and Grammy award-winning song is a smorgasbord of advice passed down from a parent to their children.
While ranging from practical life hacks like eating a root beer popsicle and rolling the windows down to wider moral life lessons, in the end, the ultimate top tip is just to “always stay humble and kind”. Wise words indeed.
Tim McGraw cranked the emotion up to eleven for this three-hanky tale of Johnny, the song’s everyman hero, captured with an unnamed girl in three different life-changing moments.
Every time it comes down to it, Johnny does everything he can to make sure that whoever they are, they "please, don't take the girl." In the last verse, Johnny is in the hospital, looking on as the “same sweet girl” that he didn’t want to bring fishing in the first verse, is now giving birth to their baby.
The baby is safely delivered, but when the doctor comes in to tell Johnny that his wife is dying from complications in childbirth and "fading fast", Johnny falls to the floor to pray.
It was McGraw’s first single to go to #1
Written by Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, this was a double Grammy award winner for McGraw, and even found its way into a cappella riff-off in Pitch Perfect 2.
Tim begins the song by having a conversation with a man who was told in his early forties that he had a life-threatening illness.
When Tim asks him how he handled the news, the man explains to him that it gave him a whole new outlook on life, and that he responded, not just by ticking things off his bucket list - like skydiving and mountain climbing - but also by taking the time to be a more considerate friend, a better husband and father.
McGraw recorded the song just two weeks after his own father, the Major League baseball player Tug McGraw, died of cancer.
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