Doug Stone songs offer more than tender ballads that put his vocal talents to good use. Born Douglas Jackson Brooks, his ascent from the Atlanta suburbs to Nashville, Tennessee stardom involved more than “I’d Be Better Off (In a Pine Box)” and other obvious picks. Stone shared his talents and love of country music through a wide range of sonic approaches, as demonstrated by this roundup of 10 of his greatest hits.
As usual, this list could be twice as long and still leave off worthy selections. Notice that Skip Ewing composition “Little Houses” and the tender “Let the Light Shine on You,” Crazy Love” and “Why Didn’t I Think of That” don’t even make the cut.
10. “Sailing Home for Christmas”
Stone added to ’90s country’s Christmas album canon with this celebration of soldiers who won’t be home for the holidays.
9. “Those Lips Don’t Know How To Say Goodbye”
A Harlan Howard original first recorded by the Forester Sisters, Stone lent his voice to a gentle, reminiscent country song that’s more in the George Jones mold.
8. “World Goes Round”
On one hand, it’s a solid example of Stone’s abilities as a teller of stories about regular folks’ daily routines. It’s also a solid studio creation from its time, with well-placed fiddle accompaniment and a sweet guitar mini-solo.
7. “Addicted to a Dollar”
This old-fashioned honky tonk boot-scooter rocks every bit as hard as Keith Whitley’s “Hard Livin'” and other classics that allowed country singers to let loose musically and creatively.
6. “Warning Labels”
This is another one of those Music Row meets Rodeo Houston types of upbeat hits, co-written by Kim Williams. It celebrates sad, old country songs, as those are what Stone wants labeled as harmful to your health and hard on your heart.
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5. “Fourteen Minutes Old”
Lyrically, this one is a bummer, with the narrator counting down the minutes since his lover departed. Musically, it’s a Georgia boy tipping his cap to upbeat, fiddle-driven Texas country. It’s by the legendary songwriter A.L. “Doodle” Owens.
4. “A Jukebox With a Country Song”
Here’s another George Jones-esque story-song from Stone’s back catalog. The lyrics tell of a musician shaken by his local spot getting rid of the old swinging doors and the jukebox filled with country classics. In modern terms, it laments gentrification.
3. “I Never Knew Love”
Now this is a country ballad! Stone sums up appreciating the little things that teach us all about love, loss and life with one of his greatest songs. Its music video aged better than most and helps drive the story home.
2. “In a Different Light”
Famed songwriting duo Dickey Lee and Bob McDill had a hand in what’s still one of the most gorgeous ballads of the past 25 years. It’s about lust, not love, but it’s still got a tender-hearted feel. Also, the 1991 single became Stone’s first song to top the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
1. “I’d Be Better Off (In a Pine Box)”
Stone’s vocal gifts and neo-traditionalist values still shine brightest on this career-launching love song off his self-titled debut album for Sony/Epic Records. It makes it clear that there’s no better place than his lover’s embrace. Otherwise, he might as well be in Hell or prison.