Sam Hunt's debut single was released in 2014 and pretty much ever since, he's been one of the hottest new country music acts out there. Despite only releasing two country albums so far, Montevallo and Southside, the Georgia native has already had multiple number one hits on the Billboard charts, some of which were written for other country stars before he hit it big. And his third album is currently in the works.
Though the singer-songwriter initially had plans of becoming a professional football player, he packed his bags for Nashville in 2008 when things didn't pan out with the Kansas City Chiefs. Hunt decided to officially try to make it in the music biz. Just a few years later, he landed his first big songwriting hit when he co-wrote Kenny Chesney's 2012 country song "Come Over" with producer Shane McAnally, followed by Keith Urban's "Cop Car" and Billy Currington's "We Are Tonight." After co-writing "Love Somebody" for Reba McEntire, Hunt finally landed himself a record deal with MCA Nashville in 2014. His own studio album debut followed immediately.
His debut album, named after his wife Hannah Lee Fowler's hometown, made it platinum, and Hunt has gone on to tour with the likes of Lady A and Luke Bryan, collaborated with Carrie Underwood, and appealed to pop and country audiences on the charts, much like Taylor Swift's early days.
Here are our picks for the 12 best Sam Hunt songs to date.
12. "Young Once"
The official music video which is really more of a short film really brings this touching song to life. It follows two teens in love leaving behind a hard home life to be together on the road.
Released in 2021, this new song is the lead single from Hunt's upcoming third album. It's all about looking back on a past relationship fondly and appreciating the fond memories you shared together. Hunt even used a young photo of his aunt and uncle as the cover art.
10. "Make You Miss Me"
This was Hunt's fourth number one hit and make him the first male artist to get four number one hits on the billboards from a debut album. It's more of an upbeat ballad, about a guy who is involved with a girl that isn't interested in anything more than a fling. Hunt sings from the perspective of a guy who wants to be so memorable that she doesn't want to leave him.
9. "Breaking Up Was Easy in the 90s"
This breakup anthem has to be relatable for just about anyone who gets overwhelmed seeing an ex all over social media following a painful breakup. Hunt sings about how it must have been easier to break up in the 90s before we had all this technology that basically means you can't escape seeing your ex constantly even if you try.
8. "Downtown's Dead"
Though this is Hunt's lowest charting single to date, that doesn't mean it doesn't deserve a shout-out. Peaking at 14 on the Hot Country Songs Chart isn't too shabby. This breakup song, written by Hunt, Shane McAnally, Zach Crowell, Charlie Handsome, and Josh Osborne, was released as the second single from sophomore album Southside. It's different from some of Hunt's more "country meets hip-hop" hits while accurately capturing the lonely feelings in public places you can experience after a painful breakup.
7. "Leave The Night On"
Another co-write with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, "Leave The Night On" was Hunt's lead single from his debut album. It charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a number one hit on the country charts. The music video also won the 2015 CMT Breakthrough Video of the Year award. The song is fun, easy to sing along with, and -- half a decade later -- it really holds up.
6. "Body Like A Back Road"
One of the best songs has to be his greatest hit right? Southside's lead single was breaking records right and left when it was released in 2017. It also became the highest-ranked country song on the pop charts since Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise." It was one of the biggest songs of the year and for good reason. It's lighthearted and catchy, and we get some prime storytelling from Hunt and his usual team of co-writers.
5. "Break Up In A Small Town"
His debut album was heavily inspired by his painful breakup with Hannah Lee and "Break Up In A Small Town" is a great example of one of Hunt's gifts at genre-bending. A little R&B influence is evident in his "sing-talking" moments and Hunt proves he's quite the wordsmith. The song peaked at number two on the country charts.
4. "Take Your Time"
Hunt's second number one hit on the charts from Montevallo really sealed his popularity with pop and country audiences. Though the modern love song has straightforward lyrics, the music video covered the horrors of domestic violence. The song also earned Hunt an ACM Award nomination for Single of the Year in 2015.
3. "Hard to Forget"
This song from Southside is really just prime Sam Hunt. A little old-school country with the twangy guitar mixed in with some modern touches and even some reggae? It sounds like it wouldn't work but it does...very well. It's as memorable as another Southside song that was written for Hannah Lee, "Drinkin' Too Much."
This traditional love song meets Sam Hunt's fast-talking country style. Southside's third single has a great melody and poignant lyrics about wanting to introduce a lover to important family members. "Kinfolks" made it to number one on the US Country Airplay chart.
1. "House Party"
While Montevallo was full of breakup songs, it also gave us the incredibly fun and upbeat country bop "House Party" that is probably included on tons of party playlists. The number one hit was so popular, that they made two official music videos.
READ MORE: Sam Hunt Announces 2022 Live Shows
This article originally ran on Aug. 4, 2020.
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