AUSTIN, TX - MAY 02: Musician Brad Paisley performs onstage during the 2015 iHeartRadio Country Festival at The Frank Erwin Center on May 2, 2015 in Austin, Texas. The 2015 iHeartRadio Country Festival will be televised as an exclusive nationwide two-hour broadcast special on NBC, May 27 from 9-11 p.m. ET.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

14 Songs That Best Display Brad Paisley's Talent and Versatility


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Brad Paisley is one heck of a singer, songwriter and guitarist, and he has been ever since he burst onto the Nashville scene by way of West Virginia. Very few modern country superstars concoct as potent a mix of tongue-in-cheek humor and heartstring-tugging love songs as Paisley.

Sure, hilarious CMA Awards hosting gigs with Carrie Underwood helped. But Paisley got to his arena-filling success on the backs of great songs.

With 21 No. 1 singles and plenty of great deep cuts, Paisley's catalog has few duds-- aside from the fairly derided "Accidental Racist." Seriously, the competition to make it onto our playlist was stiff. Let's take a look at the cream of the Paisley songs crop.

14. "He Didn't Have to Be"

Paisley's first No. 1 and second big-label single is still among his most heartfelt. It's from the perspective of a man who not only embraced his stepdad-- he wanted to be the same kind of husband and father as an adult as his hero "didn't have to be."

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13. "American Saturday Night"

The title track from his 2009 album, "American Saturday Night" showcases elements that make Paisley such a special artist. Not many could people pull off a song that somehow manages to feel patriotic without being cliche. It praises American diversity and includes a ripping guitar solo. He's explored such topics a few other times too, including on songs like "Southern Comfort Zone" and "Heaven South."

12. "Ticks"

It's hard to imagine anybody else making ticks sound playfully sexy. Paisley hones in on what most people consider a pretty uniquely Southern experience-- and an important step in preventative healthcare-- and then turns it somehow into a charmingly tasteless love song.

11. "Remind Me"

Paisley's 2011 album This Is Country Music brought some absolute smashers. Among them was "Remind Me," which features Underwood. It became a country radio No. 1 as well as Paisley's highest-highest charting single on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

10. "Alcohol"

Another of Paisley's earlier tunes, "Alcohol" quickly became a fan favorite and a staple of his live show after it appeared on the album Time Well Wasted. He wrote it entirely by himself and landed two Grammy nominations for the tune. An early example of Paisley's knack for poking fun at, well, everyone, "Alcohol" helped establish his musical wit. It's interesting to note, too, that Paisley himself doesn't imbibe.

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9. "Online"

If only Paisley had known how much more true this song would eventually become. He wrote and released it in 2007 (on album 5th Gear) at the height of the Myspace craze and when Facebook still required a college email address. Still, the insanely catchy "Online" stands the test of time. The music video featured then-rising star Taylor Swift, who was just out of high school, and a young Kellie Pickler.

8. "Old Alabama"

Paisley's song with Alabama was a huge success for a reason. Bringing cousins Randy Owen, Jeff Cook and Teddy Gentry in to record a song about the band's country legacy takes standing on the shoulders of musical giants to a whole different level.

7. "Little Moments"

Released in 2003, "Little Moments" became Paisley fans' go-to love song before "Waitin' on a Woman" topped it five years later. He took that same playful tone from a song like "Ticks" and instead slowed it down and turned it into a romantic ballad from the perspective of a married man. Paisley's performance makes a song with lyrics about fender benders and burnt cakes suit wedding playlists, and that takes a true craftsman.

6. "Me Neither"

A standout from Paisley's lone major label album from the '90s (1999's Who Needs Pictures), this knee-slapper captures the frantic energy and undeniable fun associated with some of Joe Diffie, Brooks & Dunn and other peers' more upbeat hits.

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5. "He Didn't Have to Be"

Paisley's first No. 1 and second big-label single is still among his most heartfelt. It's from the perspective of a man who not only embraced his stepdad-- he wanted to be the same kind of husband and father as an adult as his hero "didn't have to be."

4. "When I Get Where I'm Going"

Dolly Parton lent vocals to this song, which is enough to land it on our list. Even without a country queen's contributions, this tune penned by George Teren and Rivers Rutherford would be the kind of song that countless people would turn to in times of loss. It's a great example of just how important music really is, and not only in good times. The song had a stint on Christian radio when Geoff Moore covered it in 2007.

3. "Waitin' On A Woman"

If you haven't seen the music video for this song, just watch it. Andy Griffith's cameo is enough to bring you to tears. Beyond that, it's among the finest examples of storytelling in modern country love song lore.

2. "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)"

Paisley's funniest song is smart aleck in a Roger Miller and Tom T. Hall kind of way. It's no wonder, then, that country traditionalists Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and George Strait are said to have stated interest in cutting it themselves. Even with that cast of names, it's hard to imagine anyone suiting its humor quite like Paisley.

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1. "Whiskey Lullaby"

Amazingly, this beautiful duet with Alison Krauss from 2003's Mud On The Tires never made it to No. 1 on country radio, peaking at No. 2. But no matter, because it will go down as one of the quintessential sad country songs. Bill Anderson and Jon Randall wrote the tune, with Paisley and Krauss bringing its haunting words to life. One of Paisley's four songs to go double platinum, "Whiskey Lullaby" won the CMA Song of the Year Award in 2005.

Honorable mention Brad Paisley songs: "We Danced," "The Mona Lisa," "Anything Like Me," "Two People Fell in Love," "Camouflage," "I Can't Change the World," "Perfect Storm," "No I in Beer," "Love and War" (feat. John Fogerty), "Start a Band" (feat. Keith Urban), "Welcome to the Future," "River Bank," "Who Needs Pictures," "Beat This Summer," "Crushin' It," "She's Everything," "Letter to Me" and "I'm Still a Guy"

This story from 2017 previously ran on Dec. 17, 2020.

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