The midway point of '90s country marks a time of transition from the neo-traditionalists and "hat acts" that still ruled the charts to a more pop-friendly sound that changed radio playlists by the turn of the century.
In a year when the decade's biggest stars (Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black, Mark Chesnutt, Collin Raye, Joe Diffie) and hottest groups (Shenandoah, Sawyer Brown, Diamond Rio, Little Texas, Blackhawk) joined the usual suspects (Reba McEntire, Randy Travis, Alabama, John Anderson) on the list of unit-shifting acts, the following 10 songs made the biggest impact on the shape of country music to come.
Check out these 10 songs for a quick trip down memory lane.
10. "I Didn't Know My Own Strength," Lorrie Morgan
The tenth spot could've gone to a lot of songs, from Perfect Stranger's "You've Got the Right to Remain Silent" to Tracy Lawrence's "Texas Tornado," but instead it goes to class of '89 member Lorrie Morgan for her third and final No. 1 hit.
9. "Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)," Pam Tillis
The competition was strong enough in the '90s to limit the great Pam Tillis to only one No. 1 hit. Instead of "Maybe It Was Memphis," it was this blend of honky-tonk and South of the Border vibes.
8. "What Mattered Most," Ty Herndon
This tune, which got updated in 2019, stands out in a year when country music was blessed with one of its deepest pools of promising, new talents, including Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Toby Keith, Neal McCoy, Clay Walker, Bryan White, James House, Terri Clark, Rhett Akins, Tracy Byrd, John Berry, Rick Trevino, Wade Hayes, Jeff Carson, Lee Roy Parnell and others.
7. "I Like It, I Love It," Tim McGraw
"Not a Moment Too Soon" also topped the charts that year, yet it and no other Tim McGraw hit from the past 25 years blares in Nashville's Bridgestone Arena whenever the Nashville Predators score a goal.
6. "Dust on the Bottle," David Lee Murphy
For years to come, this song and not David Lee Murphy's other 1995 hit "Party Crowd" could still be heard during every acoustic set in every college town.
5. "Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)," John Michael Montgomery
John Michael Montgomery was the second best behind Garth Brooks at juggling sentimental songs (see Montgomery's "I Can Love You Like That") with carefree party anthems that'd suit today's country airwaves.
4. "Gone Country," Alan Jackson
The midway point of the '90s was kind to Alan Jackson. His 1995 hits include "I Don't Even Know Your Name," "Song for the Life" and this classic celebration of rural, Southern living.
3. "Check Yes or No," George Strait
Country music's best selling box set, Strait Out of the Box, included this brand-new single: one that holds its own compared to the other hits on the four-disc set.
2. "Any Man of Mine," Shania Twain
Shania Twain went from new voice on the radio to ever-present megastar with what's as much a dance hit as it's a decade-defining country song. In the process, she changed country music and its relationship with pop.
1. "Go Rest High on That Mountain," Vince Gill
This eulogy for Vince Gill's older brother Bob and country singer Keith Whitley will forever define the catalogs of Gill and backup vocalists Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs. For something with a Southern rock edge, revisit Gill's other 1995 hit, "You Better Think Twice"