Country music is known for its record-setting duos. From classic partnerships like George Jones and Tammy Wynette to chart-topping "bro-country" royalty like Florida Georgia Line, musical tag teams play a vital role in the history of the genre. Brooks & Dunn very well may be the greatest of them all, between having the old-school appeal of Clint Black and the staying power of Tim McGraw.
Formed in 1991 by Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks, the Nashville-formed duo owned the country songs chart throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Let's take a look at the 12 best Brooks & Dunn songs. As usually happens with these playlists, a lot of great tracks get skipped, including the three No. 1s off the band's third album, Waitin' on Sundown.
12. "Only in America"
This solid proof that arena rock begat stadium country doubles as one of the most patriotic statements on country radio (or the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, on which it reached No. 33) in 2001: a year more associated with Toby Keith and Alan Jackson.
11. "Indian Summer"
This one is a little bittersweet because it's among the last hits from the band before it went on a hiatus that lasted from 2010 to 2015. It was the duo's 49th overall single and an exclusive to its third greatest hits album. The tale of small-town young love peaked at No. 16.
10. "Ain't Nothing 'Bout You"
This rocking tune signaled a change in style from the group's early '90s boot-scootin' sound. The gamble paid off because the song topped the charts and stayed there for six weeks. It crossed over onto the Billboard Hot 100 too, peaking at No. 25. It became the biggest country hit of the year.
9. "Lost and Found"
One of the few songs that features Kix Brooks as the primary vocalist, "Lost and Found" is the fifth single from debut album Brand New Man. Brooks co-wrote the tune, and though it didn't quite make it to No. 1 on the radio charts (it peaked at No. 6), it remains a big fan favorite and one of the duo's most successful mid-tempo ballads.
8. "My Maria"
The only song on the list that neither Brooks nor Dunn wrote, "My Maria" is a 1996 smash hit from Borderline. B.W. Stevenson first released the song in 1973 to pretty decent success. But Brooks & Dunn's remake more than 20 years later dominated country radio and remains one of the duo's most popular tunes. It also notched the band its second Grammy Award.
7. "Cowgirls Don't Cry"
Brooks & Dunn had a great relationship with Reba McEntire. Their kinship got cemented by this 2008 single, which got re-released with the country legend singing on the final verse. It's an interesting story, but basically, the duo performed the song with McEntire at the 2008 CMA Awards. It was received so well that McEntire added her vocals, and it got re-released the single -- only a month after it first charted.
It's a genuinely touching song and fitting for McEntire: one of country music's most famous ropers and riders.
Ten years earlier, the two acts joined forces for "If You See Him/If You See Her."
6. "Hard Workin' Man"
The title track off the duo's second album, "Hard Workin' Man" is a solo write from Dunn that praises the virtues of blue-collar work. It's the kind of song that solidified the pair as everyday people.
The song earned the group the first of its two Grammy awards. Plus, it's associated with one of the better official videos of its time.
5. "Play Something Country"
"Play Something Country" is the band's last No. 1 radio hit to date, but it's as memorable as the first. Amazingly, this selection from 2005's Hillbilly Deluxe became their first gold single, meaning it sold at least 500,000 units.
4. "Boot Scootin' Boogie"
Dunn brought this tune to the table after it'd been cut first by fellow Texaans Asleep at the Wheel. Though it may not be one of the most magical Brooks & Dunn songs when it comes to lyrics, there's no denying its sustained impact on line dancing.
At the end of the day, this song is one of the duo's most famous for a reason. Dunn's energy mixed with that little falsetto vocal turn when he says "boogie" makes it more than a '90s country novelty.
Most think of heavy-hitting, rock-infused tunes when reminiscing about Brooks & Dunn's best songs. Yet in 2005, the duo slowed things down for this heart-wrenching yet faith-filled country-gospel selection that Rolling Stone ranked as its 33rd saddest country song of all time.
It won three CMA awards in 2006: Single of the Year, Song of the Year and Music Video of the Year.
For additional slowed-down weepers, check out such honorable mention picks as "She Used to Be Mine," "It's Getting Better All the Time" and Roger Miller cover "Husbands and Wives."
2. "Neon Moon"
Back to the first album teaming Brooks and Dunn, "Neon Moon" still ranks among the band's most popular songs, probably thanks to slow dance DJs across the country and outside-the-box treatments by Cody Belew and Kacey Musgraves. Oddly enough, the heartbreak ballad is pretty popular at weddings, despite it telling the sad story a man who drowns the sorrow of his lost love beneath the neon lighting of a bar sign.
On the outside chance that anyone needs proof that Brooks & Dunn's still got it, check out the above performance of this crown jewel of '90s country on CMT Storytellers.
1. "Brand New Man"
Debut single "Brand New Man" remains the seminal example of what the duo does best. Great harmonies, heartfelt lyrics, Dunn doing what Dunn does best and earworm melodies that pretty much defined the '90s. When it comes to why Brooks & Dunn matters, this one may best sum them up to new fans.
Luke Combs joined his '90s country heroes in 2019 for a multi-generational team-up of honky-tonk heroes at heart. That version appears on Brooks & Dunn's collaborative album Reboot.
Additional honorable mentions: "Ain't No Way to Go," "My Next Broken Heart," "Red Dirt Road," "Little Miss Honky Tonk," "You Can't Take the Honky Tonk Out of the Girl," "Mama Don't Get Dressed Up For Nothing," "The Long Goodbye," "Johnny Cash Junkie (Buck Owens Freak)," "She's Not the Cheatin' Kind," "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone," "How Long Gone" and "Rock My World (Little Country Girl)"
This story previously ran on Feb. 1, 2021.
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