Rascal Flatts: 10 Prime Hits

"Bless the Broken Road," "What Hurts the Most" Remain Fan Favorites

These days, Rascal Flatts have racked up more country hits than a set list can hold. Yet, when they launch the second leg of their Nothing Like This tour on Friday (Jan. 14) in Sioux Falls, S.D., fans will surely stand when they hear their favorites. We can’t take you there … but, hey, why wait? Check out these 10 prime hits by Rascal Flatts, chosen by members of the CMT.com staff.

“Bless the Broken Road”
“Bless the Broken Road” remains for me the most satisfying and expressive vocal effort by those three very versatile voices of Rascal Flatts. And the song has taken on a vital life of its own. “Broken Road” itself had a very rich musical history even before it reached the members of Flatts. “Broken Road” was written by Marcus Hummon, Bobby Boyd and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Jeff Hanna. It appeared on the Dirt Band’s 1994 album Acoustic and got no attention. Hummon included his version on his 1995 debut Columbia Records album, All in Good Time. Again, it got no notice. The much-anticipated Nashville group Sons of the Desert cut it in 1998 for what was to be the group’s sophomore album. Alas, a dispute with the record label resulted in the album’s cancellation. The song was still alive, though, and was recorded in a very melodic version by the heralded vocalist Melodie Crittenden on her debut Asylum album. Not much ensued from that. The Christian group Selah also recorded it. Enter Rascal Flatts in 2004, and the rest is history. Their version spent five weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard country songs chart and won a Grammy as best country song. Carrie Underwood has performed it, both with Flatts and solo. In addition to becoming a huge hit, the song is now one of the most-performed at weddings. — Chet Flippo

“Here Comes Goodbye”
I think one of the things that makes Rascal Flatts so appealing is the way they can switch gears between emotional extremes. They’re equally believable whether they’re singing about the best day of their lives or the worst. “Here Comes Goodbye” obviously focuses on the latter. The title sums up the song perfectly, and I appreciate its slightly different take on the standard breakup song. While it seems like too many of those are written about experiences after the fact — trying to move on, make things right or just plain forget — “Here Comes Goodbye” is sung just before the hammer falls to end the relationship. The guy has clearly been through this before and knows what to expect, but that just makes it worse. The descriptions are so clear that a sense of dread underlines the whole thing. Could be a mood-killer, for sure. — Chris Parton

“Mayberry”
Like the first line of the chorus, I miss Mayberry. In fact, I often go back there in my mind. “Mayberry” is what I like to call my mother’s hometown in Illinois — a place we used to visit where Grandpa would take me by the hand and mimic train whistles as we’d walk the tracks behind his home. It was a place where we’d go to the local post office to see his friends or enjoy a chat on his rickety chairs in the front yard. Even those who lived there were picture perfect, real-life characters with homegrown names like Mrs. Prittle, Gladys and Grandpa’s next-door neighbor, Smitty. It was a place where I could breathe and feel completely at home. Each time I hear this wistful tune, the clock turns back about 20 years. There I am, fumbling over the unsteady ground as I look up and ask, “Grandpa, how far do these tracks go?” And he always smiles and replies the same, “As far as you want them to.” — Whitney Self

“Prayin’ for Daylight”
I will never, ever forget the first time I heard “Prayin’ for Daylight.” I was instantly hooked. Not only was Gary LeVox’s twang so refreshing — at a time when singers were trying to hide theirs — and the up-tempo arrangement so infectious, but the idea that this guy is so crushed by a breakup that he just wants morning to come so he can try to win her back was a solid little country story. It’s certainly not the band’s deepest song, but in 2000, it was the perfect way for a trio to debut a new kind of pop-country sound. — Alison Bonaguro

“Skin (Sarabeth)”
It is virtually impossible to describe this quiet, gut-wrenching ballad without a box of Kleenex by your side. I dare you. Just one line in, after a fiddle intro, there is mention of a doctor. Then there’s talk of red cells and white, over a swelling piano. Yet there’s something about Rascal Flatts’ take on teen tragedy that makes it so compelling. You can’t turn this 2005 track off. You have to find out how it ends. This one has a happy ending when the girl with leukemia not only gets to go to the prom, but does so with a boy compassionate enough to shave his head to match hers. — Alison Bonaguro

“Summer Nights”
Got a case of the winter blues? I do. I hate absolutely everything about winter weather. The surefire remedy I’ve found is Rascal Flatts’ party anthem, “Summer Nights.” The track serves as a helpful reminder that warm weather is right around the corner, and I can’t help but sing along to “everybody’s feeling sexy.” And when Gary LeVox belts out, “Holler if you’re ready for some summer nights,” I immediately want to jump in my car, head to the beach and find a party like the one in this music video. Oh, Gary, can you hear me? I’m hollering as loud as possible. — Stephanie Pendergrass

“Take Me There”
Sweet, cheery and charming, the Flatts boys capture the early stages of a young love with “Take Me There,” a tune that always reminded me of something a guy might hum to himself as he walks home from a really good first date. (“I-I-I-I wanna know, everything about you!”) Imagine being in that moment when the world seems a little more forgiving and the future looks promising, and you would want to dig deeper into the reason for all that happiness, too. Gotta love that hopeless-romantic stuff. Plus, the hook in the beginning is really catchy: “Tell me ’bout your mama, your daddy, your hometown!” — Chris Parton

“These Days”
This pining cry for a past love provided the gang with their first No.1 country single — a track from their 2002 sophomore album, Melt. A song about old flames and happenstance, the lyrics depict a brief meeting between two past lovers who haven’t seen each other in years. Though she’s moved on and married a rodeo cowboy, he finds himself struggling with his feelings for her. A relatable message, the song speaks to anyone who still carries memories of their past loves. “These Days” marked the beginning of a string of major hits. Since that time, their career has flourished as they’ve nabbed several CMA, ACM and CMT awards. But here’s an interesting tidbit: The production set of “These Days” is where bassist Jay DeMarcus met his wife, CMT Insider correspondent Allison DeMarcus. What’s more, just this month they welcomed their first child. — Whitney Self

“What Hurts the Most”
If you’re listening to “What Hurts the Most” as a breakup ballad, the song is easy to relate to — dealing with the loneliness, pretending to be OK and wondering if you should have tried harder. But when you watch the cinematic video, as a high school student loses her serious boyfriend in a car wreck, the vivid lyrics make the whole thing almost unbearably tragic. The production is big and sweeping, which is pretty typical with Rascal Flatts’ music of that era, but in this case, the storyline is equally dramatic. I think the lyrics also hit an elusive songwriting goal by conveying a complex emotion in just a few words: “What hurts the most was being so close.” Anyone who’s reeling from an unexpected loss of a loved one can immediately understand that message. — Craig Shelburne

“Why Wait”
How many times do you hear a song on the radio and have no earthly idea who’s performing it? Say what you will. Whether you love them, hate them or fall somewhere in between, when you hear a Rascal Flatts track, there’s no doubt whatsoever. You know it’s Rascal Flatts. And that’s a huge accomplishment and a huge compliment by any standard. “Why Wait” doesn’t have the emotional power of songs such as “Bless the Broken Road” or “What Hurts the Most,” but that wasn’t the intention when songwriters Neil Thrasher, Jimmy Yeary and Tom Shapiro collaborated on it. Yes, a message is there, but there’s a lot to be said for well-crafted songs that are tailor made for the arena stage. The unexpected guest stars in the music video make it worth watching, too. — Calvin Gilbert

Watch all of Rascal Flatts’ videos.