Born as Floyd Elliot Wray out of De Queen, Arkansas in 1960, the artist better known as Collin Raye was born to a mother who was a local musician. In her day, she was an opening act for many artists that included the likes of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley. Whenever she was performing on stage and her sons were old enough, she’d bring them onstage to sing harmony vocals with her. Come 1980, Collin, still referred to as Floyd at the time, teamed up with his brother, Scotty, to form the Wray Brothers Band.
As a country-rock band, Floyd assumed the pseudo name of Bubba Wray. For the most part, the Wray Brothers Band performed mainly out of Texas, as well as Corvallis, Oregon, and Reno, Nevada. Over time, the duo began to release singles through independent labels until 1986. At this time the name was shortened to The Wrays before signing up with Mercury Records. As The Wrays, the brothers released four singles but none of them managed to chart. The brothers split their band up and began to perform as solo artists.
From Bubba Wray to Collin Raye
Now as Collin Raye, he issued his solo debut album in 1991, All I Can Be. It brought forth his first number one hit, “Love, Me.” The first four studio albums Wray recorded and released each became certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Throughout the rest of the 1990s, Raye was able to produce one top ten hit after another, seeming to be unstoppable on the charts. However, 2001’s Can’t Back Down was the first album he produced that failed to earn a top forty country song hit. Shortly afterward, he was dropped from Epic Records. It wouldn’t be until 2005’s Twenty Years and Change Collin Raye would make a comeback, this time through an independent label.
From 1991 until 2007, Collin Wray charted thirty singles on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. To his credit, he has eleven studio albums, eight compilation albums, an extended play (EP), thirty-nine singles, seven of which became number one hits, and twenty-seven music videos. Raye is best known for his pop-country ballads and is especially favored as an artist with musical material ideal for anniversaries, weddings, and funerals.
Top 10 Collin Raye Songs
#10 – The Gift (featuring Jim Brickman and Susan Ashton)
“The Gift” earned Collin Raye a number three hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and it was a number fifty-one hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. The trio of Raye, Jim Brickman, and Susan Ashton collaborated on this single for Brickman’s studio album, The Gift, which was released in 1997. The inspiration of “The Gift” resulted in a Filipino cover version, performed by Piolo Pascual for the 2004 movie, Milan. One of the most powerful ballads, and not just from the trio of Brickman, Anton, and Raye, focused on the thankfulness of a loving relationship made possible by simply offering “The Gift” of love, patience, and understanding.
#9 – What If Jesus Comes Back Like That
The power ballad, “What If Jesus Comes Back Like That” came from the album, I Think About You. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, the single peaked at number fifty-seven in 1996. In lyrical form, the questioned entertained how would Christianity’s hero, Jesus Christ, returned to society today with the multitude of problems that plague the world today. Although the song itself didn’t earn stellar chart performance, it did earn mostly positive reviews by the critics, plus brought in a wave of new fans Collin Raye didn’t have previously.
This song made its way on some Christian-related radio stations, as well as church groups that welcome modern-made music as part of its songs list that extend beyond traditional gospel. This single, as well as the other five that also made impressive chart performances, was instrumental in Ray’s fourth studio album earning platinum certification from RIAA and Music Canada.
#8 – Anyone Else
In 1999, “Anyone Else” peaked at number thirty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at four on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1999. In Canada, “Anyone Else” was a number one hit on its Country Tracks chart. The single was released from Collin Raye’s sixth studio album, The Walls Came Down, which was released on July 14, 1998. This was the final album Collin Raye produced with Epic Records before moving onto an independent label. The beauty behind Collin Raye’s toe-tapping country classic served as a well-told tale of couples standing the test of time while the everyone else fail to become so lucky.
#7 – Couldn’t Last a Moment
In 2000, “Couldn’t Last a Moment peaked at number forty-three on the US Billboard Hot 100, at number three on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and at number one on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. This powerful ballad of a heartbroken man longing to get back with his former girlfriend came from his seventh studio album, Tracks. It was the last occasion he saw a number one hit in Canada and a hit break into the top ten on the American country chart.
#6 – Someone You Used to Know
“Someone You Used to Know” became the most successful crossover hit for Collin Raye as this single peaked as high as number three on the US Billboard Hot Country songs chart, at number five on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, and at number thirty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100. “Someone You Used to Know” was the second single released from Ray’s album, The Walls Came Down, earning chart success in 1998. This tearful ballad of the narrator mourning the loss of his girlfriend as she moved on without him after they split up served as a tale many fans could relate to with similar stories. It’s hard enough when romantic relationships turn sour, especially when someone you used to love becomes “Someone You Used to Know.”
#5 – My Kind of Girl
1995’s “My Kind of Girl” became Collin Raye’s third number one hit single on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. On the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart it peaked at number twenty-four. “My Kind of Girl” was the fourth out of five singles released from one of Raye’s best-selling album, Extremes. After its 1995, the record became certified platinum by the RIAA and Music Canada, marking it the first of his two albums to do so. As great as Raye is with power ballads, he is equally talented with toe-tapping classics that have made perfect barn-dancing favorites. While the country music stations of Canada may not have been so generous with the chart ranking of “My Kind of Girl,” it has become just about as popular a song at weddings as the love ballad, “In This Life.”
#4 – I Can Still Feel You
“I Can Still Feel You” became Collin Raye’s fourth and final number one hit on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. This incredibly powerful lyric saw Raye at his vocal best as he brought up the heartfelt revelation he can still feel the presence of a loved one. It has been songs like this that has made him so popular among the fans and music critics. “I Can Still Feel You” also appeared on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart, peaking at number two. In 1998, this was one of four hit singles that came from the gold-certified album, The Walls Came Down.
#3 – One Boy, One Girl
“One Boy, One Girl” became a crossover hit in 1995 when it peaked at number eighty-seven on the US Billboard Hot 100. On the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it peaked at number two and it was a number four hit on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. The tale of a couple meeting, falling in love, then marrying is depicted in one of Collin Raye’s fan-favorite ballads. Also in the tale featured the couple having a set of twins that happens to be one boy and one girl.
In the music video, the musical performance featured a seating by the campfire of the proud parents, along with their twins, and a close social circle. During the 1990s, and even today as country music has once again gained ground in popularity, “One Boy, One Girl” became a wedding song favorite, just like another certain big hit that seemed to suggest Collin Raye really knew what he was singing about.
#2 – Love, Me
“Love, Me” was Collin Raye’s first number one hit in his musical career on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and on the RPM Canadian Country Tracks chart. It was released in 1991 with his debut album, All I Can Be. This has become a popular ballad performed at funerals. In this incredibly powerful ballad, Raye shared his tale of his grandfather reading a love note from his grandmother about meeting at a certain tree. Later in the song, he and his grandfather are at a church, stopping to pray just before the grandmother died and the beloved note is read. According to Raye’s lyrics, it was the first time he saw his grandfather cry.
#1 – In This Life
In 1992, “In This Life” became Collin Raye’s second number one single on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. This romantic ballad became one of the top wedding songs during the 1990s and continues to remain as a solid favorite to this day. It was also a big crossover hit for Raye as it peaked at number twenty-one on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. What made this song so memorable was the intense amount of control, emotion, and integrity that made “In This Life” come across as one of the most fragile ballads ever recorded.
Top 10 Collin Raye Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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