Reba McEntire began her career in 1976 with her first national release on Mercury Records. Since those early days in country music as a struggling female act, Reba McEntire has become an entertainment icon. From her first No. 1 to mild charting fan favorites, we’ve compiled a list of Reba’s most career-defining songs. Our list spans from the ‘80s MCA hit ‘Whoever’s in New England’ all the way to the modern Valory Records hit ‘Turn on the Radio’ — and beyond — and we hope you’ll find one of your favorites on this list of the Top 10 Reba McEntire songs.
‘Why Haven’t I Heard From You’ was a must on Reba’s setlist during her massive tour productions in the ‘90s. The campy, catchy tune has always been a highlight of Reba’s live shows, especially when her backup dancers, props and set changes looked like they came directly from a Broadway show. You would never know by listening to this song that the flashy singer was once a horseback barrel rider from Chockie, Oklahoma.
Linda Davis released her first singles in 1988 on Capitol Records. However, it wasn’t until her 1993 appearance on Reba McEntire’s ‘Does He Love You’ that she would finally see massive success. The collaboration earned a CMA award and a Grammy, while Linda Davis enjoyed greater exposure touring with Reba’s live show. Davis would later revel in the success of her daughter, Hillary Scott, who fronts the ridiculously successful Nashville trio, Lady Antebellum.
Reba McEntire was not an overnight success. ‘Can’t Even Get the Blues’ became her first No. 1 single in 1982… after 16 modest single record releases. The slow start began on Mercury Records with ‘I Don’t Want to Be a One Night Stand,’ which only reached No. 88 on the Billboard charts. Two years after finally landing at No. 1, she would clutch the CMA Female Vocalist of the Year honor and rise to headliner status. Reba’s first No. 1 is a must on our list of the Top 10 Reba McEntire songs.
In 1973, ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ TV star Vicki Lawrence landed in country music’s Top 40 with a song penned by her husband, Bobby Russell. ‘The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia’ was a perfect artistic fit for Reba, the singer and actress who produced a movie-like video for the song and brought it to life on stage with a live lavish production. Although the song was not a big chart hit, only peaking at No. 12, it became a radio and fan favorite.
‘Turn on the Radio’ was quite an accomplishment for Reba. At the time the song was released she was 55, and as it soared up the charts, it proved that the music veteran could still compete with the young stars of the day. The smash hit was Reba’s 60th Top 10 single on the country charts, making her the first female country artist in history to achieve that many Top 10 hits. When the song reached the top, it became her 25th No. 1 song, tying Dolly Parton for the most number ones by a female country artist… ever.
Like many of her hit songs, Reba McEntire sang ‘The Greatest Man I Never Knew’ like she wrote it. However, the somber tune was co-penned by Layng Martine, Jr. and Richard Leigh, the same man who wrote ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue’ for Crystal Gayle. Reba always explained in concert that the story in the song was very close to the relationship that she had with her own father. This 1992 classic is a must-have on our list of the Top 10 Reba McEntire songs.
4 ‘Whoever’s in New England’
From 1986’s ‘Whoever’s in New England’
Although Reba had already racked up four No. 1 hits by the time ‘Whoever’s in New England’ came along, the song was considered a career-changing milestone. In addition to having a successful power ballad on radio for the first time, Reba released a video which showcased her acting skills and served as a foreshadow to the style of videos that she would later produce for some of her biggest hits. In 1986, the song won Reba her first Grammy for Female Vocalist and the CMA gave her the top honor of Entertainer of the Year.
In 1992, Reba McEntire seemed to keep raising the bar for her own career. Concert productions were becoming more theatrical, television appearances were increasing, and videos were becoming more like mini-movies. ‘Is There Life Out There’ was accompanied by a music video that was so long that video outlets were reluctant to play it. In the end, the song was turned into a made-for-TV movie and inspired many women to complete their education. The motivational single stayed at No. 1 for two solid weeks.
Bobbie Gentry, singer of 1967’s ‘Ode to Billie Joe,’ wrote and recorded the original version of ‘Fancy’ in 1969. The song was virtually unknown until Reba McEntire slipped on a red dress and brought ‘Fancy’ up the charts in 1991. Although the single only peaked at No. 8, the song is easily considered Reba McEntire’s signature song and a shoe-in on our list of the Top 10 Reba McEntire songs.
In 2001, after conquering Broadway in ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ Reba continued to branch out in her entertainment empire by starring in her own successful sitcom. ‘I’m a Survivor’ was an appropriate pick for the show’s theme song. The tune’s inspirational message, which represents the true spirit of this positive role model, is just one of the reason’s we’ve selected it at No. 1 on our list of the Top 10 Reba McEntire songs.
What Is Your Favorite Reba McEntire Song?
With dozens of hits to her credit, it’s hard to pick just 10 songs from Reba McEntire’s vast body of work. Would you have included the ‘80s hits ‘Somebody Should Leave’ or ‘Little Rock?’ Would you add ‘90s hits ‘For My Broken Heart’ or ‘She Thinks His Name Was John’? Please tell us which songs you would add to your ultimate Reba play list, including which of your favorites would sit at No. 1.