This Top 10 Clint Black Songs list looks back at the songs of a great country and western music singer with a rock and pop edge. New Jersey born, Texas raised Clint Black was the youngest of four children, living in a household heavily influenced with music in the house. Little Black taught himself how to play the harmonica by the time he was thirteen years old and at fourteen years old, wrote out his first song. By the time he was fifteen years old, Black taught himself how to play guitar. As a teenager, he and his three brothers formed their own band. In the backyard, the Black family hosted barbecues for the neighbors to come over and listen to the boys play and sing.
There have been weekends where there would be as many as seventy people. Instead of finishing high school, Clint Black dropped out to join his older brothers before becoming a solo act. Although he was drawn to many musical genres, Black opted to focus on country during the early 1980s when George Strait and Reba McEntire both moved back to performing traditional country. During the day, he worked in construction, as well as worked as a bait cutter and fishing guide. At night, he performed at various lounges as a solo artist, meeting fellow guitarist, Hayden Nicholas, in the process.
In 1987, when Clint Black and Hayden Nicholas first combined their talents together to write music, this was a relation that lasted for decades. Black delivered his first demo, with the help of his partner, that led him to meeting the manager of ZZ Top, Bill Ham. Through the label of RCA Records, Black released his debut album, Killin’ Time, in 1989. It became a triple platinum success with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and a single platinum with Music Canada, thanks to the four number one hit singles on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart that all came from it. This was the first time any country artist ever achieved this. This earned him the Country Music Association’s Horiton Award for best newcomer the same year this album came out.
For Clint Black, as exciting as this was, he also felt a bit of remorse, perhaps worried he may not be able to bring forth a follow up that could match what he debuted with. The Los Angeles Times did a survey late 1990 to determine who was expected to sell the most amount of country music records in the next seven years. Garth Brooks won the poll, but only by two votes ahead of Clint Black. More than half of the twenty artists named in the list were relative newcomers at the time. Prior to this, country music was dominated by artists who had already been in the business for a long time.
Clint Black joined the country music industry’s “hat pack” as he, Alan Jackson, John Michael Montgomery, and Tracy Lawrence were all noted for sporting the traditional cowboy hat and sported a clean, neo-traditional appearance. As for Black’s fears about how successful his second studio album would be, Put Yourself in My Shoes, it also earned RIAA’s triple platinum certification, as well as Music Canada’s single platinum certification. His next three studio albums, The Hard Way, No Time to Kill, and One Emotion also became certified platinum with the RIAA.
In Canada, it was gold certifications for the first two of these albums and a platinum for the third. Clint Black’s Christmas album was his sixth studio album release, which came out in 1995, and was his only record that did not receive any certifications. However, his eighth album, Nothin’ but the Taillights, joined the RIAA certified platinum ranks, as well as Music Canada’s gold. D’lectrified was his ninth studio album, which became RIAA certified gold.
There have been a total of fourteen studio albums recorded and released by Clint Black that saw the first decade of his career most prolific as a recording artist. He has, however, showed no signs of slowing down as a performer. In addition to the studio albums are eight compilation albums, a live album, twenty-six music videos, an extended play (EP), and fifty singles. Clint Black credits Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and George Strait as his biggest musical influences.
Top 10 Clint Black Songs
# 10 – Where Are You Now
In 1991, “Where Are You Now” became Clint Black’s eighth number one single on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It was also number one on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. From his second studio album, Put Yourself in My Shoes, this was the fourth hit single, which featured the narrator wondering where his lost love is now since they’ve gone their separate ways.
#9 – Same Old Train
In 1999, the Grammy Awards recognized “Same Old Train” for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals as Clint Black joined an impressive roster of top-name country stars to perform this original classic from Marty Stuart. This was among the songs that were featured in the tribute album, Tribute to Tradition. This song rightfully earned a win at the 1999 Grammy Awards for Best Collaboration with Vocals.
#8 – Walkin’ Away
“Walkin’ Away” served as the fourth single in a row, all from Clint Black’s debut album, Killin’ Time, that became a number one hit for the neotraditional country music artist. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, “Walkin’ Away” marched straight to the top. The entire album focused on a relationship that apparently died a slow death that left the narrator dealing with the loss in his own way.
#7 – Nobody’s Home
In 1989, “Nobody’s Home” was the third single released from Clint Black’s debut album, Killin’ Time. For the third time in a row, Clint Black earned himself a number one hit single, both on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs and RPM Canadian Country Tracks charts. This ballad focused on a depressed man having to contend with the reality his love interest has abandoned him. Metaphorically, the narrator lives his life now as a zombie, simply maintaining the daily routines in his life as a habit rather than putting any thought into it like before.
#6 – Been There (featuring Steve Wariner)
The duet, “Been There,” was written and performed by Clint Black and Steve Warner that witnessed an extension of harmonica and acoustic guitar trade-offs between the two artists. This single focused on dealing with unpleasant situations where the two exchange tales of what they’ve done, where they’ve been, along with how neither want to go there again. The Dobro and piano touches to this song served up the perfect recipe to enjoy good old-fashioned style country music with a neo-traditional twist to it.
#5 – Loving Blind
From Clint Black’s second album, Put Yourself in My Shoes, “Loving Blind” became the fifth occasion he’d earn a number one hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. It also hit number one in Canada in what would be the sixth time. With the theme focused on the mistakes that were made when love was taken for granted, this song, as well as the entire theme of the album, seemed to pick up where Black’s debut left off, which also shared remorse of a relationship that seemed to end sooner than he liked.
#4 – A Bad Goodbye (featuring Wynonna Judd)
The duet, “A Bad Goodbye” featured Clint Black and Wynonna Judd performing this highly emotional ballad that served was impressive enough to earn the duo a nomination nod from the 1993 Academy of Country Music awards. Although they didn’t get the win, it earned its rightful place in the hearts of critics and fans as it was deemed as a lyrically direct, majestic, and moving classic. For Black, this was his first critically acclaimed ballad, which even he agreed added that needed edge to his fourth studio album, No Time to Kill, as the previous three didn’t have this.
On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it peaked at number two. It was yet again another number one hit in Canada for Black. However, what made this song stand out even further saw Clint Black realize his first crossover hit as it also peaked at number forty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100.
#3 – A Better Man
Clint Black’s debut single, “A Better Man,” peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and RPM Canadian Country Singles chart in 1989. This made history as it was the first time in fourteen years a debut single by a male artist had peaked at the top of the chart. This song served as a reflection of a relationship that ended after seven years.
#2 – Killin’ Time
In 1989, when Clint Black debuted his album, Killin’ Time, the title track was the second of its five chart-topping hits to be released. As a follow-up to the first single release, “Killin’ Time” reflected again on a relationship Clint Black had with a love interest that ended. A country-style blues song at its finest, Clint Black seemed to sing from his heart a real-life experience, which struck home with many neotraditional country music fans that could either relate to the story, or at least enjoy the entertainment quality of it.
#1 – When I Said I Do (featuring Lisa Hartman)
When Clint Black and his wive, Lisa Hartman Black, performed “When I Said I Do” it was a reflection upon the day they became married. Released in August 1999, this was Black’s first single from his album, D’lectrified. The song became yet another number one single for the country star, as well as on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. It also became his third crossover hit onto the US Billboard Hot 100 at number thirty-one. “When I Said I Do” rightfully earned Vocal Event of the Year in 1999 by the Academy of Country Music Awards.
Feature Photo: Jack Newton, CC BY-SA 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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