Martina McBride’s stunning vocal strength and range have made her one of country music’s most formidable vocalists, one capable of nailing a power ballad, but equally effective with a light-hearted, uptempo piece.
Today, McBride celebrates her 55th birthday, and in celebration, CMT looks back at 10 of McBride’s most impactful songs.
Additionally, McBride will celebrate nearly three decades since she released her debut single “The Time Has Come” in 1992 and will commemorate her string of hit songs with the release of Greatest Hits: The RCA Years Double LP, which will release Aug. 20. McBride’s career is also currently the focus of a new exhibit, aptly titled “Martina McBride: The Power of Her Voice,” at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
This song from 1994 only cracked the Top 15 on the country radio charts after its release, but the song has gone on to become a country music standard, and judging by the reactions from fans during McBride’s concerts, one would one think it was a multi-week chart-topper. The song’s tale of a girl enduring her parents’ abusive marriage–and the tragic tale that ultimately unfolds–remains a classic in McBride’s catalog.
This two-week No. 1 from 2001 is a straightforward song of gratitude for the good things in life, including the love of her family. The sun-drenched video also features her husband John as well as two of her daughters.
“Valentine” (w/Jim Brickman)
This gorgeous, elegant piano ballad with renowned pianist Jim Brickman became a hit both on country radio and at Adult Contemporary radio.
This mournful tale earned McBride a Top 5 hit in 2003, and is one of her most starkly heartbreaking songs. This song centers on a child hiding her abuse from those around her, until one night she tragically passes away.
“I’m Gonna Love You Through It”
This 2011 hit centers on a woman undergoing treatment for breast cancer, as her loved ones rally around her. One of the song’s co-writers, Sonya Isaacs, was inspired to write the tune, as her mother is a breast cancer survivor.
McBride’s powerful voice is again front and center on this track from 2004, which details a woman who is frustrated with a romantic partner who is distant and unwilling to fight for their relationship.
“A Broken Wing”
Like “Independence Day,” this 1997 hit further proved McBride’s ability to deliver a story song with power, and when needed, mystery. This song centers on a woman who finds a way to break free from an abusive relationship–though through the song and video, it remains uncertain just how she got away. At the end of “A Broken Wing,” McBride showcases the power of her voice in a way she rarely had until that point, belting out the note in the word “fly” for several seconds.
“Wild Angels” marked McBride’s first No. 1 hit in 1995. The song is also the title track to McBride’s third studio album.
“Love’s The Only House”
This Top 10 hit from 1999 marked a slight departure from some of the social consciousness ballads she is known for, with moments of half-sung, half-spoken lyrics, some soulful harmonica, and an extra layer of urgency in her delivery. The song depicts a woman’s observations of society’s struggles, as she urges those listening to love others around them and find ways to help.
“Whatever You Say”
This soaring track, penned by Ed Hill and Tony Martin, finds the singer hoping to salvage a damaged relationship, but resigned to the fact that “Whether I go whether I stay/Right now depends on whatever you say.” Sara Evans also contributes background vocals on this song.