Newly crowned ACM Entertainer of the Year, Chris Stapleton, hardly needs an introduction. The Grammy winner has already reached legendary status in the genre with hits such as Tennessee Whiskey, You Should Probably Leave, and Starting Over.
Many recognize those hits as staples of the Broken Halos singer’s discography. However, many might not know the sheer number of hits Stapleton has written for other artists.
This list does not scratch the surface of his deep history of co-writes throughout the last twenty years of his career. Instead, it will highlight some of the most notable releases from fellow artists. Here are over 30 of the most notable tracks Stapelton has written for other artists and even feature films.
The Best Thing That I Had Goin’ – Brad Paisley (2003)
The Best Thing That I Had Goin’ is the 10th track on Paisley’s iconic 2003 album, Mud on the Tires. The track hinges around the concept that nothing will feel the same now that his lover is gone, touching on feelings of loneliness despite tangible success. Paisley’s incredible guitar work is the icing on the cake of this melancholy song.
Independent Trucker – Brooks & Dunn (2004)
Only appearing on their 2004 Greatest Hits album, Independent Trucker feels like a classic 90s country track through and through. The track is a simple one depicting the life of a truck driver on the road. Stapleton and co-writer, Jeffrey Steele, show flashes of humor throughout this smooth honky-tonk track.
Your Man – Josh Turner (2005)
Your Man is arguably the most impactful track on this list, reaching an audience much broader than the average country listener. The song has reached both classic status in the genre and meme status due to the countless viral videos using the song throughout the years. To say that this track is one of the most recognizable country songs of the century would not be an understatement. Turner’s instantly recognizably baritone voice coupled with Stapleton’s smooth, sexy lyrics, Your Man was bound to be a country classic.
Nothin’ but a Love Thang – Darryl Worley (2006)
Nothin’ but a Love Thang is a 2006 single from Worley that peaked at 35 on the Billboard Country chart. The song was a minor hit for the Have You Forgotten singer. However, since then, it has had little impact. In fact, the track as well as its album, Here and Now, are not available for streaming on Apple Music today. However, it is still available for Spotify users.
Swing – Trace Adkins (2006)
In this baseball-inspired track written by Stapelton and Frank Rogers, the narrator likens his attempts to find a lover to being up to bat. Stapelton and Rogers play with the concept of having three strikes throughout the song. The tongue-in-cheek track is often regarded as one of the worst ones Stapelton has been a part of the creation of.
Finding My Way Back Home – Lee Ann Womack (2006)
Like Turner, this also isn’t the last time Womack will appear on this list, Finding My Way Back Home is the first collaboration between the pair. The track plays with the concept of losing yourself and wanting to return home to get back to your roots. The song’s melodies are infectious, begging the listener to sing along.
Never Wanted Nothing More – Kenny Chesney (2007)
Never Wanted Nothing More was another number one under the belts of both Stapelton and Chesney. The track plugs into everything that made a 2000s country song great, recounting the nostalgia that comes with growing up. Co-written by Stapelton and Ronnie Bowman, Never Wanted Nothing More is a reflective song that taps into the joys of life.
Another Try – Josh Turner (2007)
In the second collaboration between Stapelton and Turner, Turner teams up with fellow superstar Martina McBride. Another Try is a melancholy story of a man reflecting on his broken relationship. Turner’s gorgeous vocals pair excellently with Stapelton and Jeremy Nathan Spillman’s heartbroken, begging lyrics.
Either Way – Lee Ann Womack (2008)
Before the track appeared on Stapelton’s 2017, From A Room: Vol. 1 in 2017, Either Way was first recorded by Lee Ann Womack. The song appears as the second song in her 2008 album, Call Me Crazy. Given how good both versions are, it makes one wonder why the two haven’t recorded a duet of the track.
Keep On Lovin’ You – Steel Magnolia (2009)
Keep On Lovin’ You is another Stapelton and Trent Willmon co-write. The Steel Magnolias were a duo comprised of husband and wife, Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey. The track was easily their biggest hit, peaking at number four on the Billboard Country chart. Unfortunately, the song and the duo quickly faded in popularity with the duo disbanding in 2014.
I Didn’t Know It at the Time – Tim McGraw (2009)
Appearing on the 2009 album, Southern Voice, I Didn’t Know It at the Time is a reflective track about the things many take for granted. In many ways, I Didn’t Know It at the Time feels like the opposite version of Chesney’s Never Wanted Anything More. While the latter focuses on the disappointments and melancholy moments in life, the former focuses on all the good times throughout life. The contrasts between the two songs further prove Stapelton’s writing prowess and expertise.
Come Back Song – Darius Rucker (2010)
Arguably one of the most popular songs from Rucker outside of Wagon Wheel, Come Back Song was one of his first number-one hits in country music. The track would eventually be certified platinum by the RIAA. Interestingly, Come Back Song almost wasn’t recorded by Rucker, due to him being blown away by Stapleton’s performance on the demo. Rucker stated, “I could never open my mouth and sing it that way because it’s too great.” However, Stapleton urged him to cut the song anyway and the rest is now history.
Lovin’ You On My Mind – Josh Turner (2010)
Much like Your Man, Lovin’ You On My Mind feels like a match made in heaven for Turner and Stapleton. Stapleton’s sexy, intimate lyrics pair heavenly with Turner’s smooth baritone vocals here, once again. The track feels like a natural follow-up to Your Man five years later.
Love‘s Gonna Make It Alright – George Strait (2011)
There probably isn’t a better feeling as a country musician than getting a song cut by The King. However, that should come as no surprise given Stapleton’s ability and history. Love’s Gonna Make It Alright is simply a fun track from Strait, feeling like a classic song from any era.
I’m Sorry / Ready To Roll– Blake Shelton (2011)
Two different Stapelton co-writes appear on Blake Shelton’s 2011 album, Red River Blue. Ironically, both have wildly different subject matter. Ready to Roll is a fun track that’s all about taking it easy after a long week. I’m Sorry, on the other hand, is a classic breakup track. Shelton’s strong vocals and Stapelton’s heartbroken, jaded lyrics make the song an absolute stunner.
Nobody’s Fool – Miranda Lambert (2011)
Nobody’s Fool is a deep cut on Lambert’s platinum record, Four the Record. Unlike most of the songs on the list, the track is a solo-write by Stapleton. Like many Lambert songs, it touches on independence and getting over heartbreak.
Something to Do with My Hands – Thomas Rhett (2012)
Before becoming the superstar he is today, Something to Do with My Hands was Thomas Rhett’s first single. The track is a cheeky one that revolves around Rhett lamenting about how he always needs “something to do with his hands.” The song evolves from him talking about fishing to more intimate activities. Like Turner and Womack, Rhett has also cut multiple songs written by Stapelton.
Talk Is Cheap – Alan Jackson (2012)
Talk Is Cheap is a simple track from the legend, Alan Jackson. The song uses the classic country archetype of building the song around little pieces of advice.
Green Eyes Red Sunglasses – JT Hodges (2012)
Green Eyes Red Sunglasses appears on Hodges’ first and only album. The record is a hidden gem, only spawning minor hits at the time of its release such as Goodbyes Made You Mine and Sleepy Little Town. The track sounds like a classic Stapelton co-write that would sound lovely with his vocals.
Drink A Beer – Luke Bryan (2013)
Drink A Beer is very likely one of the most powerful country songs out there. The track, co-written by Stapelton and Jim Beavers, depicts the feeling of losing a loved one unexpectedly. The expertly crafted lyrics are simply gut-wrenching, placing you directly in the shoes of the one who just experienced the loss. The song has an even deeper connection to Bryan given that he had lost two siblings before cutting the track.
Too Fast – Jason Aldean (2014)
In the only collaboration between the superstars, Too Fast feels like a classic Aldean song. The track laments the fact that he’s lived his life too wild, having many regrets that follow him.
Hangover Tonight – Gary Allen (2015)
Hangover Tonight is a funky track from Allen. The chorus is easily the most fun aspect of the song. Stapelton and his fellow co-writers play with the different uses of hang/hanging throughout. The final lyric “I want a hangover tonight” is an excellent use of a double entendre.
Crash and Burn – Thomas Rhett (2015)
Crash and Burn is easily one of the most instantly-recognizable country songs of the 2010s. From the iconic whistling in the intro to the infectious chorus that begs the listener to sing along, Stapelton and fellow co-writer, Jesse Frasure, created one of the most ear-pleasing melodies of the decade with this double-platinum hit.
If the Devil Don’t Want Me / Winning Streak – Ashley Monroe (2015)
Both If the Devil Don’t Want Me and Winning Streak appear on the Grammy-nominated album, The Blade. The Pistol Annies star co-wrote both tracks with Stapelton and Jessi Leigh Alexander. The former track is a classic-sounding track that humorously ponders where she should go if neither heaven nor hell want her. The latter track is another fun rocking track that laments how she’s on a winning streak if losing is the game.
If He Ain’t Gonna Love You – Jake Owen (2016)
If He Ain’t Gonna Love You appears on Jake Owen’s criminally underrated 2016 album, American Love. Stapleton lends his vocals in the background of the R&B-inspired track on top of co-writing the track with Nashville songwriters, Luke Laird and Shane McAnally.
Say Something – Justin Timberlake (2018)
In his most sonically diverse co-write yet, Stapelton appears as a feature on this 2018 track from Timberlake. Say Something was an absolute smash hit for the duo, receiving gold to triple-platinum certifications in 12 different countries. The blending of country and electronic styles blend surprisingly well in this experimental track.
In another cross-genre collaboration, this time Stapelton finds himself with pop superstars, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars. The track appears on Sherran’s diverse 2019 album, No.6 Collaborations Project. Blow is a diversion from all three artists’ typical sound, leaning into a hard rock sound.
Honky Tonk Mood – Cody Johnson (2019)
Stapleton channels his blues roots in this fun Cody Johnson track. He plays on all the typical honky tonk tropes and packs the song with all the details you would find in one. It’s a fun, rocking track that is sure to get boots stompin’.
Like a Cowboy – Parker McCollum (2020)
In this piano ballad from Parker McCollum, Stapelton channels his inner cowboy. The song plays with the fact that cowboys are often antiheroes in nature, and they’ll often break the hearts of many.
In arguably the strangest entry on the list, these two tracks were made for the 2020 animated film, Trolls World Tour. Both songs were co-written by Stapleton and Timberlake. Leaving Lonesome Flats is a barn burner that genuinely feels way too good to be in an animated film like Trolls World Tour. Born to Die is a surprisingly melancholy track that plays with themes of depression and emptiness.
The War Inside – Tom Morello (2021)
The War Inside is another track that Stapleton himself appears on. Tom Morello, most famous for his roles in Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, provides incredible guitar work per usual on this track. As the title suggests, the song touches on feelings of unrest and personal conflict. Stapleton noted how the pandemic was the catalyst to write this track, “Though we were all in lockdown and felt quite isolated, we knew the thesis ‘it’s really tough to win the war inside’ spoke to a universal feeling.”
I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die – Willie Nelson (2022)
This track opens up Nelson’s 2022 album, A Beautiful Time. Co-written by Stapleton and Rodney Crowell, I’ll Love You Till the Day I Die is a gorgeous song about, well, loving someone until the day you die. It’s a lovely track from a writing perspective that is elevated by Nelson’s incredible delivery.
Just Say I’m Sorry – P!NK (2023)
In his most recent co-write and feature, Stapleton makes another crossover into the pop world. The song, co-written by P!NK herself, features both of them in a very vulnerable state. They touch on the struggle between putting egos aside and being able to come together. Interestingly, this is not the first time P!NK has crossed over with a country artist. In 2016 the pop star was featured on Kenny Chesney’s double platinum hit, Setting the World On Fire.