Rascal Flatts was an institution in country music for 20 years. Along the way, the trio's songs soundtracked fans' weddings, high school graduations and other life-shaping events.
Joe Don Rooney and second cousins Gary LeVox and Jay DeMarcus first came together in Nashville in 1997. DeMarcus was originally a Christian singer performing in the band East to West. A few years later, he invited LeVox to move to Tennessee from Ohio to help him produce an album. The cousins were working in a nightclub in Printer's Alley one night when their guitarist didn't show up. DeMarcus had met Rooney while working for Chely Wright's band, so he invited him to join them onstage for the first time. As the story goes, it was an instantaneous connection and Rascal Flatts was born shortly after.
A three-song demo got the group signed by Lyric Street, and one of those tracks ended up being their debut single, "Prayin' for Daylight," which reached No. 3 on the Billboard country chart. Pretty impressive for a musical debut. A successful self-titled debut album earned the upstart act an ACM Award for Top New Vocal Duo Or Group.
From 2000 to 2017, Rascal Flatts released eleven studio albums — Rascal Flatts (2000), Melt (2002), Feels Like Today (2004), Me and My Gang (2006), Still Feels Good (2007), Unstoppable (2009), Nothing Like This (2010), Changed (2012), Rewind (2014), The Greatest Gift of All (2016) and Back to Us (2017).
The trio achieved 14 No. 1 hits across it 25 singles, a Grammy Award in 2006 for signature song "Bless the Broken Road" and two CMT Music Awards for Group/Duo of the Year.
In honor of the trio's incredible 20-year career (a farewell tour was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19), here are our 20 favorite Rascal Flatts songs of all time.
20. "Love You Out Loud"
Written by Brett James and Lonnie Wilson, country stunner and live set high point "Love You Out Loud" hit the Top 5 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart in 2003.
19. "Feels Like Today"
Released in 2004, orchestral pop stunner "Feels Like Today" is the title track to the band's third studio album.
18. "Fast Cars and Freedom"
Another cut from Feels Like Today, driving country-rocker "Fast Cars and Freedom" was co-written by Gary LeVox and hit No. 1 on the country charts in 2005.
This ode to simpler times and the setting of The Andy Griffith Show was the final single from Rascal Flatt's 2002 album Melt.
16. "I Melt"
This steamy love song was the third single from the band's 2002 album Melt. In 2003, the song's video became the first video on CMT to feature (barely concealed) nudity.
15. "Life Is a Highway"
The band covered this Tom Cochrane tune (also recorded by country rebels Chris LeDoux and Jerry Jeff Walker) for the 2006 soundtrack of the animated movie Cars.
This 2014 song was the first release from the band's album of the same name. It's a solid example of how and why the band adapted and survived as country radio stars delved further into their pop and R&B influences.
13. "Yours If You Want It"
Written by Andrew Dorff and Jonathan Singleton, upbeat, pop-inspired love song "Yours if You Want It" was the first single from the band's 10th studio album, Back to Us.
12. "Take Me There"
Co-written by country titan Kenny Chesney, the sentimental "Take Me There" was the first single from 2007's Still Feels Good.
11. "Back To Us"
Released as a stand-alone single in 2018, this feel-good ode to the simple joys of a relationship was co-written by Shay Mooney of obvious Rascal Flatts fans Dan+Shay.
10. "I Like the Sound of That"
The final single from the band's 2014 album Rewind, "I Like the Sound of That" was yet another No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart for the band. It's another winning blend of pop-friendly harmonies, modern production techniques and traditional country instrumentations.
9. "I'm Movin' On"
One of the band's earliest hits, top 5 hit, "I'm Movin' On," was included on the group's self-titled debut album. It appealed equally to old souls, courtesy of a sweet mandolin solo, and pop-country listeners.
8. "Here Comes Goodbye"
This weeper from Unstoppable earned the group a Grammy nomination for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. Plus, as the music video shows, it showcases Rooney as a guitar shredder.
7. "Summer Nights"
Co-written by LeVox, Brett James and Busbee, "Summer Nights" stands up as Rascal Flatts' best contribution to country music's never-ending seasonal playlist.
6. "I Won't Let Go"
Songwriters Jason Sellers and Stephen Robson's stunning "I Won't Let Go" was another Top 5 country hit for the band. It's the finest showpiece of LeVox's gift as one of the finest country ballad singers this side of Kenny Rogers.
5. "Prayin' For Daylight"
Rascal Flatt's debut single "Prayin' For Daylight," a deceptively upbeat fiddle tune about a heartbroken man, helped put the band on the country music map.
4. "These Days"
This heartbreak song about a man running into a former flame was the group's first-ever No. 1 hit. The single and its music video sit at the intersection of '90s country sentimentality and the style shifts (musically and fashion-wise) the trio popularized in the new millennium.
3. "My Wish"
This punch No. 1 hit is a heartfelt wish that a loved one lives a happy life and one of the group's signature songs. It's a good example of the harmony-laden Rascal Flatts hits that became regulars on graduation playlists.
2. "What Hurts The Most"
Originally recorded by Mark Wills, countrified power ballad "What Hurts the Most" earned Rascal Flatt's Grammy nominations for Best Country Song and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
1. "Bless The Broken Road"
Written in 1994 by Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Jeff Hanna, it took about 10 years for "Bless the Broken Road" to reach Rascal Flatts. Just as the already-recorded song "The Gambler" needed Rogers, "Bless the Broken Road" needed Rascal Flatts to become one of the greatest hits of the early aughts and our favorite song in Rascal Flatts' singles discography.
Honorable mention: "Winner at a Losing Game," "Banjo," "How They Remember You," "Back to Life," "Come Wake Me Up," "Bob That Head," "Why Wait" and "This Everyday Love"