For decades, country artists have given new life to older country hits, as enduring country compositions, such “Fancy,” “Why Baby Why,” “Goodbye Time,” “Today My World Slipped Away,” and more have found their way up the country radio charts more than once over the years, in various iterations.
Here, a look at a few signature country hits from artists including Reba McEntire, Chris Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, and more, that previously entered the country radio charts when recorded by other artists.
1. Reba McEntire, “Fancy”
In 1991, McEntire turned this rags-to-riches tale about a woman who uses prostitution to lift herself out of poverty into one of the superstar vocalist’s signature hits. But prior to Reba’s dramatic take on the song, it was Top 30 hit in 1970 for Bobbie Gentry, who is also the sole writer of the song.
2. Chris Stapleton, “Tennessee Whiskey”
At the 2015 CMA Awards, Chris Stapleton’s collaboration with Justin Timberlake of “Tennessee Whiskey” and “Drink You Away” became a viral hit, and Stapleton’s recorded version of “Tennessee Whiskey” became a mainstay on country radio. However, Stapleton is far from the first artist to record the track. David Allan Coe recorded the track for his 1981 album, and his version reached No. 77 on the country charts. George Jones would release his own version in 1983 and the song would hit the No. 2 spot.
3. Ronnie Milsap, “Am I Losing You”
Milsap topped the country songs tally in 1981 with this song, which was written and originally recorded by Jim Reeves, who earned a No. 3 hit with it in 1957. Reeves re-recorded the track in 1960; that version reached No. 8 on the country rankings.
4. Freddy Fender, “Before The Next Teardrop Falls”
Fender earned a No. 1 hit with this track in 1975, though it was previously a Top 40 hit for Linda Martell in 1970 and also recorded by Duane Dee in 1968.
5. Garth Brooks, “Callin’ Baton Rouge”
This 1994 song was a No. 2 hit for Brooks, and previously a Top 40 hit for New Grass Revival in 1989. It also included on the Oak Ridge Boys’ 1978 album Room Service. When Brooks opted to include the song on his 1993 album In Pieces, he invited several members of New Grass Revival in to record the song with him.
6. Dolly Parton, “But You Know I Love You”
This Parton classic chart-topper from 1981 was originally a pop hit for Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, and a Top 5 country hit for Bill Anderson in 1969.
7. Alabama, “The Closer You Get”
This No. 1 hit from Alabama in 1983 previously landed on the country radio charts as a Top 30 country hit for Don King two years earlier. The song was also previously recorded by rock band Exile and singer Rita Coolidge.
8. George Strait, “Today My World Slipped Away”
This mournful ballad reached the Top 3 in 1997 for Strait, over a decade after it was a Top 10 hit for Vern Gosdin in 1983.
9. Blake Shelton, “Goodbye Time”
This was a Top 10 hit for Shelton in 2005, but it was previously a No. 7 country radio hit for Conway Twitty in 1988.
10. Charley Pride, “Why Baby Why”
George Jones originally earned a Top 5 hit with this track 1955 and it became one of his signature recordings. The track would go on to top the charts for other artists, including Red Sovine and Webb Pierce in 1956, and in 1983 when recorded by Charley Pride.
11. Lorrie Morgan, “A Picture of Me (Without You)”
This grief-filled tale of enduring love was a Top 10 country radio hit for Lorrie Morgan in 1991, after George Jones took his own rendition to the Top 5 on country radio in 1972.
12. Sawyer Brown, “The Race Is On”
The group Sawyer Brown reached the Top 5 on the country charts in 1989 with another previous George Jones cut, “The Race Is On,” while Jones’ 1964 recording reached the Top 3.
13. Sawyer Brown, “Six Days on the Road”
This country group scored a couple of their signature hits with cover renditions of older songs. They earned a Top 15 hit with this classic trucking song in 1997, while Dave Dudley originally had a No. 2 hit with it in 1963. Along the way, others who entered the country charts with their own renditions of “Six Days on the Road” include Johnny Rivers, and Steve Earle & The Dukes.
14. Conway Twitty, “Slow Hand”
Twitty earned a No. 1 hit with this 1982 classic, and it became one of his signature songs. Del Reeves previously released a version of this track the year before, though it only reached No. 53. Of course, the song was also a pop hit for the Pointer Sisters.
15. Alan Jackson, “Pop A Top”
In 1999, Alan Jackson earned a No. 6 hit with his version of “Pop a Top,” previously a Top 5 hit for Jim Ed Brown in 1967.
16. Alison Krauss & Union Station, “When You Say Nothing At All”
In 1988, Keith Whitley topped the country charts with this romantic hit, which was penned by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz. In 1995, Alison Krauss & Union Station earned a Top 5 hit with her rendition of the song, which also earned Single of the Year honors from the Country Music Association.
17. Alan Jackson, “Who’s Cheatin’ Who”
Alan Jackson earned a No. 2 hit in 1997 with this cover of Charly McClain’s chart-topping 1981 hit.
18. Charlie Rich, “My Elusive Dreams”
This top 3 hit for Rich in 1975 was previously a No. 1 hit for Tammy Wynette and David Houston in 1967. Among others who previously recorded the track are Bobby Vinton and Rusty Draper.
19. Mickey Gilley, “The Window Up Above”
This 1975 chart-topper for Gilley was previously a No. 2 hit for George Jones in 1961.
20. Rosanne Cash, “Tennessee Flat Top Box”
In 1988, Rosanne Cash took this tale of a young boy’s journey from talented dreamer to music star to the top of the country charts. The song was previously a No. 11 hit for her father, country music legend Johnny Cash, in 1962.