Nashville recording artist, sitcom superstar, frequent CMA Awards host and all-around entertainer Reba McEntire remains a creative force in country music. The Oklahoma native charted her first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1982, and she hasn't slowed down since.
She has a song for every mood, it seems, including sentimental weepers ("I'm A Survivor," "Rumor Has It"), honest tales of love and heartbreak ("One Promise Too Late," "Take It Back," "How Was I to Know," "Is There Life Out There," "Wrong Night," "The Fear Of Being Alone," ""You're the First Time I've Thought About Leaving") and upbeat dance numbers ("Consider Me Gone," "Turn On The Radio"). We could go on and on categorizing great songs that didn't crack our Top 18 -- "The Last One To Know," "How Blue," "You Lie," "Stronger Than the Truth," "What Am I Gonna Do About You," What If It's You" and "It's Your Call," to name a few more.
These 18 Reba McEntire songs exemplify the varied career and celebrated talents of one of the most endearing and enduring voices in popular music.
18. "Somebody Should Leave"
The best song on classic neo-traditional album My Kind of Country (1984) serves as the best example of why McEntire deserves to be considered in the same storytelling stratosphere as Dolly Parton.
17. "All the Women I Am"
Delving into more modern (yet no less story-driven) material, "All the Women I Am" is a powerful 2010 anthem about why being emotionally vulnerable doesn't sacrifice fierce independence for McEntire or her listeners.
16. "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter"
The title track from one of McEntire's best albums establishes her as more than just a once-in-a-generation vocalist. As this list will continually prove, she's a consistently empathetic voice, particularly for the women in her audience.
15. "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia"
Songwriting certainly ranks among the most important tools in a country singer's toolbox, but let's not sleep on the importance of masterfully interpreting others' songs. McEntire demonstrates that talent here, bringing new life to an old Vicki Lawrence hit.
14. "Sunday Kind of Love"
The strongest example of McEntire's vocal range and artistic adaptability came when she covered an old Etta James classic. The single allowed McEntire to revisit music she likely heard as a child.
13. "Because of You" (Feat. Kelly Clarkson)
Mighty voices and music genres converged for the ideal pop crossover duet. It demonstrates McEntire's ability to change with the times, as the duet matched the sound of the mainstream country charts circa 2007.
12. "Cathy's Clown"
McEntire totally changes the pace and tone of this Everly Brothers classic. Instead of a teeny-bopper dance number, the classic oldie becomes a slower tempo country song about a fool with an honest heart, pursuing an ill-advised relationship.
McEntire introduced a new generation of listeners to arguably the second greatest song by Bobbie Gentry. This tale of a mother wanting more for her daughter further cemented McEntire as a talented interpreter of songs. "Fancy" has become one of McEntire's signature songs and a major reason why the studio album its from, 1990's Rumor Has It, got a 30th anniversary reissue.
10. "Does He Love You" (feat. Linda Davis)
Linda Davis might lack the star power today of other singing partners on this list, but her duet with McEntire remains a high point in both singers' careers. The song became a recurring part of McEntire's career whenever the situation called for a duet with another talented woman. It's from MCA's 1993 compilation Greatest Hits Volume Two.
9. "Can't Even Get the Blues No More"
McEntire's first single to reach No. 1 was released by Mercury Records in 1982, and it has aged quite well as other hits rolled in. Stylistically, its boogie-woogie feel sounds like something that could've charted in the '90s, making it ahead of its time.
8. "Little Rock"
Marriages that don't line up with Forever Love are as much a part of country songwriting as d-i-v-o-r-c-e. McEntire explores the frustrations of a married woman tempted to slip off that "little rock" on her finger and find a new love.
7. "Whoever's in New England"
On this Grammy Award-winning title track (Best Female Country Vocal Performance), McEntire plays the suspicious wife, wondering why her husband takes so many business trips to New England. Touchingly, she doesn't harbor a single thought about leaving, leaving the door open for another return home.
6. "If You See Him, If You See Her" (Feat. Brooks & Dunn)
Who exactly sings as powerfully as Reba McEntire? Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn fame makes the short list, for sure. Here, two once-in-a-generation talents share a mutual secret love for each others' character. In the video, their secrets are safe with Kix.
5. "Why Haven't I Heard From You"
This song and its accompanying video allowed McEntire to flaunt her comedic talents. Think of both as the country music equivalent of a really good and sarcastic romantic comedy.
4. "The Heart Won't Lie" (Feat. Vince Gill)
Vince Gill's smooth vocal delivery provides the ideal call-and-response to McEntire in this tale of would-be lovers. Both artists represent a whole generation of talents with an ear for the past and ambitions to reshape the then-current landscape of country music. Also, who doesn't love this one's music video?
3. "The Greatest Man I Never Knew"
McEntire spoke for many who've lost a father in one of the most touching singles in recent memory. The greatest songs resound with listeners on a deep emotional level, and this one should hit home for all fans, even if Dad still lives there.
2. "For My Broken Heart"
In 1991, a plane crash killed members of McEntire's touring band. Her first trip to the studio after that tragedy spawned this gorgeous and gutting song about outliving a loved one. Even without that context, this chart-topper would rank high among her all-time hits.
1. "She Thinks His Name Was John"
McEntire tackled a hot-button issue of the '80s and '90s head-on with this song about a young woman who got HIV from a one night stand. She proved to be the right country singer to fully emote the heartbreak, loss and uncertainty associated at the time with the virus.
This story previously ran on March 20, 2020.
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