Faith Hill, country queen of our hearts, was always destined to go far. The Mississippi raised powerhouse singer rose to prominence with her debut 1993 album Take Me As I Am, featuring her countrified cover of "Piece of My Heart." But it wasn't an overnight success for the singer who would go on to become a famous crossover artist with songs like "Breathe" and "Cry" and one-half of one of country music's most beloved couples.
After seeing Elvis perform when she was nine years old, Hill knew her calling was to be an entertainer. She formed a band when she was 17 and began playing local shows. Two years later, Hill set out for Nashville, where she worked as a secretary and auditioned to be a backup singer for Reba McEntire. Though she didn't get the gig, she eventually got discovered by a Warner Bros. executive while singing backup at Nashville's Bluebird Cafe.
Following the success of Take Me As I Am and her sophomore album It Matters to Me, Hill joined fellow rising country star Tim McGraw on the 1996 Spontaneous Combustion Tour. The two fell in love and were married in October of 1996. The couple has three daughters together and has gone on to headline several more successful tours together.
Alongside peers like Shania Twain, Hill incorporated pop into country in the late '90s and early 2000s with her songs "The Way You Love Me" and "If My Heart Had Wings," leading to chart success on country and pop radio. In 1999, Hill was named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Country Music Association.
From the reflective "The Secret of Life" to the biographical "Mississippi Girl" (penned for Hill by fellow country artist John Rich), Hill has built a career on lush melodies and lyrics with substance.
Here are the 12 best Faith Hill songs, ranked.
12. "Piece of My Heart"
It takes guts to tackle a song made famous by rock legend Janis Joplin, but if anyone was up for the challenge, it was Faith Hill. Released as a single in 1993, Hill's rendition of "Piece of My Heart" introduced the song to a whole new generation and made country radio take notice of the singer's incredible voice.
11. "Let's Go to Vegas"
Released in 1995 as the lead single from It Matters to Me, "Let's Go to Vegas" proved early on that Hill knew how to cut loose with this rollicking tune about the value of elopement. The song hit No. 5 on the country charts.
10. "Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me"
One of several duets with husband Tim McGraw, "Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me," allowed Hill to take the lead on a steamy love song two years after "It's Your Love" burned up country radio.
9. "There You'll Be"
Written by pop genius Diane Warren, "There You'll Be" was featured on the 2001 Pearl Harbor soundtrack. Hill earned a Grammy nomination for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her soaring vocals on the track.
8. "Let Me Let Go"
Released in 1998 as the third single from Faith, "Let Me Let Go" is a breathless plea to be set free from memories of a failed relationship. Hill's passionate delivery and background vocals by Vince Gill make it one of the country queen's best songs.
7. "The Way You Love Me"
Released as the second single from Breathe, "The Way You Love Me" marked a stronger pop-country song from Hill. When you add in the impossibly fun music video that features Hill playing a mom, heiress, and a diner waitress, "The Way You Love Me" is one of Hill's most irresistible hits.
6. "It Matters to Me"
The title track to Hill's 1995 sophomore album, "It Matters to Me" is a modern classic country weeper about a woman being taken for granted in her relationship. The song earned Hill her third No. 1 single.
5. "Someone Else's Dream"
Written by Trey Bruce and Craig Wiseman, the fiery "Someone Else's Dream" advocates finding yourself before looking for anyone else, following a narrator in her late 20s fed up with being labeled with everything from "daddy's little girl" to "pageant queen."
4. "I Can't Do That Anymore"
Written by Alan Jackson, "I Can't Do That Anymore" follows a housewife stuck in ordinary life and dreaming of having "something of her own." The song peaked at No. 8 on the country charts.
The title track to Hill's Grammy-winning 1999 album, "Breathe" was a smash on both country and adult contemporary radio. The sultry track, which features Dolly Parton on backing vocals, catapulted Hill into a crossover superstar.
2. "Wild One"
Hill's first appearance on the country charts came in the form of an anthem for rule-breakers and dreamers. "Wild One" went to No. 1 and kickstarted Hill's now-legendary career.
1. "This Kiss"
"This Kiss" was written by songwriters Beth Nielsen Chapman, Robin Lerner and Annie Roboff. Released in 1998, it was the first single from Hill's album Faith. The infectious melody and the lyrical genius of comparing a great kiss to "centrifugal motion" make "This Kiss" Hill's most lovely signature song.
This story originally ran on Jan. 10, 2020.