Before striking out as a solo artist who's dominated the Grammy, ACM and CMA Awards in recent years, Chris Stapleton worked in Nashville as a songwriter. He was equally adept in that role, with many of his co-writes landing on albums by some of country music's top stars.
Indeed, Stapleton helped pen quite a few songs that you might not associate with the vocal juggernaut heard on his award-winning studio albums (Traveller (2015), the From a Room series (2017) and Starting Over (2020)).
In addition to the following selections, Stapleton had a hand in writing songs recorded by Steel Magnolia ("Keep on Lovin' You"), Trace Adkins ("Swing"), Darryl Worley ("Nothin' But a Love Thang"), Ashley Monroe ("Winning Streak"), Gary Allan ("Hangover Tonight"), Jake Owen ("If He Ain't Gonna Love You," "If the Devil Don't Want Me"), Rascal Flatts ("Vandalized") and Brad Paisley ("The Best Thing That I Had Goin'").
"Your Man," Josh Turner (2005)
This ready-made wedding playlist entry earned Josh Turner his first No. 1 and an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) award for Stapleton, who co-wrote it with Chris DuBois and Jace Everett. In 2007, Turner found Top 15 country chart success with "Everything is Fine," a Trisha Yearwood duet co-penned by Stapleton.
"Never Wanted Nothing More," Kenny Chesney (2007)
Stapleton wrote this song about changing priorities with Ronnie Bowman. It suited Kenny Chesney's Just Who I Am: Poets and Pirates album en route to becoming another Billboard Hot Country Songs chart-topper from Stapleton's first act in Nashville.
"Whiskey and You," Chris Stapleton (2007)
Tim McGraw recorded Stapleton and Lee Thomas Miller's lyrical grappling with a bitter breakup about eight years before it appeared on Traveller. A version by former Staind lead singer Aaron Lewis followed in 2016.
"100 Miles" Blake Shelton (2008)
Blake Shelton recorded multiple Stapleton co-writes, from this breakup song to another Starting Fires selection, "Never Lovin' You," and the Shelton and Miranda Lambert duet "Draggin' the River."
"Either Way," Lee Ann Womack (2008)
This standout track from Lee Ann Womack's Call Me Crazy would make for a killer Chris and Morgane Stapleton duet. Stapleton co-wrote two other notable songs recorded by Womack: "Finding My Way Back Home" and the title track of her 2005 album There's More Where That Came From.
"Come Back Song," Darius Rucker
Stapleton and Casey Beathard helped Darius Rucker pen this breezy story of sorrow and regret that topped the country charts.
"Miles to Go," Alison Krauss and Union Station (2011)
As a Kentucky native and former member of bluegrass outfit the SteelDrivers, it makes sense that something from the mind of Stapleton would suit the storytelling needs of Alison Krauss.
Stapleton wrote this one with Union Station bassist Barry Bales.
"If It Hadn't Been for Love," Adele (2011)
This Stapleton co-write appeared on Worley's self-titled 2004 album. Four years later, Stapleton sang it on his debut LP with the SteelDrivers. In 2011, pop megastar Adele brought way more ears to a swampy murder ballad by including her interpretation as a bonus track for 21.
"Nobody's Fool," Miranda Lambert (2011)
Stapleton penned this traditional country stunner with a rock punch that fit Lambert's Four the Record album like a custom-made Stetson.
"Love's Gonna Make It Alright," George Strait (2011)
Stapleton joined Al Anderson to check off a lofty bucket list item: co-write a Top 5 entry for King George.
It's worth noting that George Strait typically turned to Dean Dillon, co-writer of "Tennessee Whiskey," for potential hits.
"Gonna Come Back as a Country Song," Alan Jackson (2012)
The best country stomper about reincarnation this side of "Highwayman" opened Alan Jackson's Thirty Miles West album. It was written by Stapleton and one of Brooks & Dunn's go-to composers, Terry McBride.
"Homesick," Sheryl Crow (Feat. Zac Brown) (2013)
Sheryl Crow and Stapleton co-wrote this for her countrified album Feels Like Home. It's sweetened by harmony vocals by the Zac Brown Band's namesake.
"Drink a Beer," Luke Bryan (2013)
Despite a title that might make you suspect a party song, this one by Stapleton and Jim Beavers is about coping with the loss of a loved one. Bryan took one of his most sentimental singles the top of the charts.
"Front Porch Thing," Little Big Town (2013)
Blues and gospel vibes flavor this Adam Hood co-write that would've suited any of Stapleton's albums.
"Crash and Burn," Thomas Rhett (2015)
The same year that Stapleton first tasted solo fame, one of his Jesse Frasure collaborations became a major stepping stone toward sustained chart success for fellow rising star Thomas Rhett.
Rhett previously recorded a song he co-wrote with Stapleton and Miller, 2012's "Something to Do With My Hands."
READ MORE: 'Broken Halos,' 'Fire Away' + More of Best Chris Stapleton Songs, Ranked
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