Country music was popular long before the 1990s, but thanks to breakout country artists like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Shania Twain and others, the '90s were a time when country music gained popularity and began to rise to the forefront of American culture. The decade spawned songs that are still popular with people who lived through the decade, and many of those tunes can still be heard on country radio stations.
In recent years, younger generations have also latched onto '90s country and brought popular songs, such as Brooks & Dunn's "Neon Moon," back into the spotlight using apps such as TiKTok. These days, there's no lack of nostalgia for the country music of the decade, so here are 10 of the best and most memorable country songs of the '90s.
10. George Strait, "Check Yes or No"
George Strait, the crowned king of country music, was also one of the kings of '90s country along with Garth Brooks. Of course, he started his career in the 1980s with hits such as "Amarillo By Morning," "Ocean Front Property" and more, but his '90s hits can't be ignored. There's the 1996 hit "Blue Clear Sky" as well as "Carrying Your Love With Me," but one of the Texas artist's biggest songs from the '90s is "Check Yes or No." In this timeless love song, Strait sings of a third grade boy who gets a girl's attention with a note asking, "Do you love me, do you want to be my friend?" The girl then has to check yes or no to answer the boy's question. As one could predict, that third grade couple go on to become husband and wife and live a happily-ever-after life together.
9. "Chattahoochee," Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson brought undeniable swagger to the country music of the '90s, breaking onto the scene as a 31-year-old singer with his 1990 hit, "Here In The Real World." Other '90s hits of his include "Don't Rock The Jukebox" and "Livin' On Love," but few are as memorable as his 1993 song, "Chattahoochee." In this energetic, fiddle-filled tune, Jackson reflects on youthful summer days on the Chattahoochee River in Georgia. The song is full of nostalgic images of days spent learning "A lot about livin' and a little 'bout love." One can also never forget the music video, which features Jackson waterskiing in jeans. This '90s tune is another that has stood the test of time.
8. "Strawberry Wine," Deana Carter
Deana Carter is another artist who did well in the '90s, and while she didn't quite reach Shania Twain's level of success, her 1996 song, "Strawberry Wine," is one that has a place in country music history. In this wistful tune that tells a coming-of-age story, Carter recalls a small town love affair from her teenage years, and although the relationship ended, she remembers it bittersweetly, just like the strawberry wine they drank. In addition to reaching the No. 1 spot on the charts, the tune won Song of the Year at the 1997 CMA Awards.
Read More: The 10 Best Country Songs About Growing Up
7. "Don't Take The Girl," Tim McGraw
Like Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and others, Tim McGraw is a country star who got started in the 1990s and is still releasing hit songs today. Some of his memorable '90s songs include "I Like It, I Love It" and "Something Like That," but one of his biggest hits was "Don't Take The Girl," released in 1994. In this classic story song, McGraw sings of a father and son who go on a fishing trip and, to the son's chagrin, bring along a neighbor girl. As the years go on, however, the young boy and girl begin to fall for one another, and the song tells the powerful and heartbreaking story of their love. Like other tunes on this list, this '90s song is one that won't soon be forgotten.
6. "She's In Love With The Boy," Trisha Yearwood
Another top country artist to who made her start in the '90s is Trisha Yearwood, who came out of the gate in 1991 with her No. 1 song, "She's in Love With the Boy." In this song, Yearwood tells the story of a rebellious young woman who falls in love with a boy who doesn't meet her father's standards, but their love transcends all boundaries. Yearwood went on to release more classic hits, including "Walkaway Joe," "XXX's and OOO's (An American Girl)" and more, but "She's in Love With the Boy" continues to be one of her most essential tunes.
5. "How Do I Live," LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes first debuted on the country scene with the classic-country inspired "Blue," which she recorded when she was 13-years-old. The next year, when she was 14, she broke out with her crossover hit, "How Do I Live." Rimes originally recorded the tune for the motion picture, Con Air, but after movie producers decided she was too young to be singing a song of such subject matter, they turned to Trisha Yearwood to record it instead. However, Rimes' version was still released, and it became a worldwide hit. The soaring love song landed at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 for five weeks. It also set a record for being on the Hot 100 chart for 69 weeks.
4. "Boot Scootin' Boogie," Brooks & Dunn
It's not '90s country without Brooks & Dunn, and their swinging hit, "Boot Scootin' Boogie," made waves during the decade. The song, released in 1992, is a simple ode to Western line dancing, and it is credited with contributing to a new interest in the dance style. "Boot Scootin' Boogie" is classic Brooks & Dunn, and in addition to landing at No. 1 on the Country charts, it was their first single to cross over to the Billboard Hot 100, landing at No. 50.
3. "This Kiss," Faith Hill
A list about '90s country is not complete without a song from '90s country-pop queen, Faith Hill. Hill debuted in the early '90s with songs such as "Wild One" before finding international success with more pop-influenced songs. Her 1998 anthem, "This Kiss," was one of her most popular among those, landing at No. 1 on the Country charts, No. 7 on the Hot 100 and No. 3 on the Top 40 charts. It also charted on the US Adult Contemporary chart and US Adult Pop chart, in addition to being nominated for a Grammy in 1999.
2. "Man! I Feel Like A Woman," Shania Twain
Many male country singers dominated the 1990s, but the decade also saw the rise of female artists who continued to take the genre to new heights. When thinking about these powerful female artists, Shania Twain is top of mind. With crossover hit singles such as "You're Still The One," "Any Man Of Mine" and "That Don't Impress Me Much," Twain became one of the bestselling artist of the decade (and of all time). Her 1999 song, "Man! I Feel Like A Woman," is especially one that has gone down in the history books. The high-powered, female anthem is still heard in popular culture today, and the song's opening line, "Let's go girls," has had its own life as a meme.
1. "Friends In Low Places," Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks undoubtedly ruled the 90s. It was the decade he broke through with singles such as "The Dance," "The Thunder Rolls" and more, leading him to becoming the world-renowned, multi-platinum selling singer he is today. While those songs are certainly notable, one of his most memorable tunes from the '90s is "Friends In Low Places." In this song, which can start a sing-along at a concert or a honky-tonk, the character portrayed by Books confronts an ex-girlfriend and her swanky new man in an epic fashion. The song has since become a country anthem for anyone with "friends in low places."
Honorable mentions: Martina McBride's "Independence Day," The Chicks' "Wide Open Spaces," Toby Keith's "Should've Been A Cowboy," Joe Diffie's "Pickup Man," Diamond Rio's "Meet In The Middle," Dwight Yoakam's "Fast As You," Tracy Byrd's "Watermelon Crawl," Billy Ray Cyrus' "Achy Breaky Heart," and more.