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Listen to All of Reba McEntire's Biggest Hits Before She Joins The Voice
After more than four decades in the music industry, Reba McEntire's career has hit many high notes, earning her a whopping 25 No. 1 hits and 3 Grammy wins.
With her epic range, countless hits, and unprecedented storytelling ability, it’s no surprise Reba McEntire is considered the “Queen of Country.”
As a member of American royalty, McEntire has spent more than four decades connecting with audiences through her heart-breaking ballads and empowered anthems that touch on nearly every aspect of the human experience, from longing and love to perseverance and survival.
The country legend and actress will soon find a new way to connect with her fans as she takes over Blake Shelton’s long-held Coaching chair on Season 24 of The Voice, but before McEntire steps onto the stage next season, it only seems fitting to take a look back at her illustrious career to date.
With more than 75 million records sold worldwide and a whopping 25 No. 1 hits in her career, according to Parade, it’s safe to say her songs have resonated with fans for decades. The Oklahoma native has even earned three Grammy wins and an impressive 17 nominations over her lengthy career.
She’s also made her mark on the silver screen and television starring in the cult classic Tremors in 1990, her own sitcom Reba for six seasons, and most recently, making the most out of a season-long guest run on Big Sky.
Some of McEntire’s biggest music hits include:
“Can’t Even Get The Blues”
Although her music career began in the mid 1970s, the Oklahoma native’s first number-one song didn’t happen until a few years later with the 1982 hit “Can’t Even Get the Blues” from her Unlimited album. The song described a woman so down on her luck and miserable after a failed relationship that she “can’t even get the blues no more.”
“Somebody Should Leave”
McEntire’s career took another pivotal turn when she left Mercury Records for MCA Records. Her second album with MCA, My Kind of Country, earned her a wider national fan base in 1984, according to Billboard, and set the stage for her meteoric rise to fame in the years that would follow. The album featured the hit single “Somebody Should Leave,” which told the tale of a loveless relationship where both partners planned to stay for the children.
“Whoever’s in New England”
This heartbreaking ballad about a woman who suspects her husband’s frequent business trips to New England are a cover for an affair proved to be a milestone in her career, according to Taste of Country. She won her first Grammy award in 1986 for Female Vocalist as a result of the song and also earned Entertainer of the Year from the CMA.
That same year (and also on the Whoever’s in New England album), McEntire earned another No. 1 hit with “Little Rock,” an upbeat song about a woman living the lavish “good life” who dreams of slipping her “little rock” off her finger to find a new love who “really cares a lot.”
This classic 1990 country song hits all the right notes. McEntire delivers an impressive vocal range as she sings about a man too afraid to be honest that a relationship has reached its end, so he lies and pretends nothing is wrong. In the music video, McEntire seemingly takes control of the relationship despite the heartbreak, symbolically releasing a horse to be free.
Although never earning the top spot on the country charts, this fan-favorite cover of Bobbie Gentry’s 1969 hit “Fancy” has become an iconic part of McEntire’s collection. The music video is a mini-movie in itself as McEntire, dressed to the nines, plays “Fancy,” a famous actress and singer who returns to the dilapidated shack where she grew up to come to terms with her past and reflect on the memories of her mother, who dressed her up and pushed her out of the house as a teen to make money and “be nice to gentlemen."
“The Greatest Man I Never Knew”
The heartbreaking ballad “The Greatest Man I Never Knew” was on McEntire’s emotional For My Broken Heart album, which she recorded after members of her touring band died in a plane crash. Although penned by Layng Martine Jr. and Richard Leigh, according to Taste of Country, McEntire has shared in concert that the 1992 sentimental hit has always reminded her about the relationship she had with her own father.
“Is There Life Out There?”
Another frequent song on critics best-of lists for the country legend, including American Songwriter’s take, is “Is There Life Out There?” The 1992 hit tells the story of a woman who got married young and begins to realize she gave up her dreams. In a bit of pop culture gold, the music video features Huey Lewis, who plays the woman’s husband and cheers her on as she goes back to finish school. The song also sparked a TV movie of the same name, starring McEntire. This time around the role of her husband went to Keith Carradine.
“Does He Love You”
McEntire deliciously dialed up the drama for her 1993 single “Does He Love you.” According to Billboard, McEntire had to convince her record label to let backup country singer Linda Davis (now the mother of Lady A’s Hillary Scott) duet with her on the now-classic track. The music video is pure drama as the two women pine for the same man, leading to an explosive final confrontation. The song led to a CMA award and Grammy.
“She Thinks His Name Was John”
McEntire wasn’t afraid of controversy when she released “She Thinks His Name Was John” in the height of the AIDS movement. The heartbreaking song is about a woman dying of AIDS after a one-night stand. While it quickly found its way onto the Billboard charts in 1994, remaining there for 20 weeks, it never earned the number one spot, according to CMT. Although some were still hesitant to have open discussions about AIDS at the time, “She Thinks His Name Was John” was embraced by many of her fans and continues to mark an important time in history to this day.
“The Heart Won’t Lie”
McEntire joined forces with fellow country powerhouse Vince Gill in “The Heart Won’t Lie” from the 1992 album It’s Your Call. The military-themed music video tells the tale of two former lovers who reconnect after years apart.
“If You See Him/If You See Her” With Brooks & Dunn
Another chart topping collaboration came in 1998 with the Brooks & Dunn duet “If You See Him/If You See Her.” Ronnie Dunn and McEntire take turns in the emotional song pining about regret, love gone wrong, and the hope of a second chance.
"What Do You Say"
"What Do You Say" was initially released as a single off McEntire's 22nd studio album, So Good Together (now certified platinum). It also spent a whopping 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking in the 31st spot. Per Country Thang Daily, the song "explores a protagonist’s struggle to appropriately explain or respond to different situations or circumstances."
“I’m A Survivor”
For many, “I’m A Survivor” might arguably be McEntire’s most recognizable song, since it also served as the theme song for her popular sitcom Reba, which ran on the WB from 2001-2006. Much like the song implies, the sitcom focused on a wise-cracking single mom played by McEntire herself.
“Because of You”
In honor of her recent new gig on The Voice, any best songs list wouldn’t be complete without her 2007 duet with Coach Kelly Clarkson. In “Because of You,” McEntire and Clarkson share the limelight as they sing a cautionary tale about how damaging it can be to get an up-close view of heartbreak as a child.
Reba McEntire's musical career in a nutshell
Growing up, Reba formed a musical trio with her two siblings — Pake and Susie — known as "The Singing McEntires." In 1974, country legend Red Steagall paid for her first studio recording session after hearing the young woman sing the national anthem at the National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City. Reba signed with Mercury Records the following year. That relationship came to an end in 1983 when she joined MCA, which put out her eighth studio album — My Kind of Country — the following year.
To date, Reba has released 22 No. 1 singles and over two dozens albums (five of them gold, six of them platinum, and eight of them multi-platinum) with over 33 million copies sold. She was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
What is Reba McEntire's Connection to The Voice?
Reba McEntire has been involved with the hit competition since its debut season, in which she served as a "Battle Adviser" to Team Blake. She's made a slew of appearances since then as a Mentor (and even a Mega Mentor!), but never as a Coach...until now, that is.
While Clarkson won’t be joining McEntire for her first season in the Coaches’ chair, we’re still hoping to see more killer collaborations between these two.