Before Chris Stapleton’s big break in 2015, he was cranking out hit song after hit song.
Writing songs for Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, George Strait and more, Chris was one of the most sought-after songwriters in town, but not only that, everybody in country music knew he could sing his ass off.
It’s a shame that the rest of the world figured that out much later…
These days, he’s a certified superstar, writing songs and performing with everybody from John Mayer and Ed Sheeran to Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Adele, Taylor Swift, Carlos Santana and more.
Looking back through the catalog, there are a ton of songs that Chris wrote over the years that you might’ve forgotten about.
So are song you probably didn’t forget about, hits like Luke Bryan’s “Drink A Beer” or Kenny Chesney’s “Never Wanted Nothing More,” but you might not remember that Chris wrote it.
And others, like Jason Aldean’s “Too Fast” or Miranda Lambert’s “Nobody’s Fool,” you probably had no idea Chris was even involved.
So without further ado, here’s 25 of them:
1. “Honky Tonk Mood” – Cody Johnson
2. “If It Hadn’t Been For Love” – Adele
Originally recorded with his band The SteelDrivers for their debut album in 2008, it was eventually cut as a bonus track for Adele’s award-winning 21 record.
3. “Cigarette” – Frankie Ballard
4. “Drink A Beer” – Luke Bryan
5. “Something To Do With My Hands” – Thomas Rhett
6. “Your Man” – Josh Turner
Written by Jace Everett, Chris DuBois, Chris Stapleton, “Your Man” was released in 2005 as the lead single from his album of the same name. It was the first #1 single of Josh Turner’s career, and also Chris Stapleton’s first career #1 single.
And as Chris would go on to explain, the song did a little more than get him a plaque on the wall:
“This next song I wrote on Valentine’s Day, I was working on Valentine’s Day so I figured I’d write something nice and sweet.
It wound up bein’ my first #1 song… it bought me a house.”
7. “Only Blood” – Angaleena Presley
8. “The Best Thing That I Had Goin” – Brad Paisley
9. “Small Doses” – Travis Tritt
10. “Another Try” – Josh Turner
Another Josh Turner cut that turned into a massive hit.
Written by Stapleton and Jeremy Spillman, it was recorded by Josh Turner and Trisha Yearwood (what a power duo, right?) back in 2007 for his Everything Is Fine album.
11. “I Didn’t Know It At The Time” – Tim McGraw
12. “The Last Thing I Needed” – Will Hoge
13. “Ready To Roll” – Blake Shelton
14. “Come Back Song” – Darius Rucker
Another one that put a few extra zeros in Chris’ bank account… and it almost didn’t happen.
Darius Rucker’s hit single “Come Back Song” topped the charts in 2010, but according to an interview with he didn’t even want to record it.
Written by Rucker, along with Chris Stapleton and Casey Beathard, Chris’ demo was so good that Darius wasn’t even going to record it until producer Frank Rogers finally convinced him:
“The last day of recording he goes, ‘hey man, why don’t you want to record the song? I think it’s great song, I think it’s a hit.’
I was like, ‘man, have you heard the demo?! I could never sing it like that! He kills that song. I could never open my mouth and sing it like that because it’s too great.’”
15. “Nobody’s Fool” – Miranda Lambert
16. “Ring For Sale” – Kellie Pickler
17. “Front Porch Thang” – Little Big Town
18. “Never Wanted Nothing More” – Kenny Chesney
Released as the lead single from Chesney’s 2007 Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates album, it’s one of the more iconic tracks in all of Chesney’s repertoire.
And for Chris, the song put more than a little pep in his step, and some cash in his pocket… it bought him a house:
“This is a song I wrote with a good friend of named Ronnie Bowman, it’s actually the first song we ever wrote.
We sat down and said, ‘Hey why don’t we write a song that’s like a hit’ and what do you know, we did it.
And then this happened… bought me a house, thanks Kenny Chesney.”
19. “Too Fast” – Jason Aldean
20. “One Way” – Randy Houser
21. “If The Devil Don’t Want Me” – Ashley Monroe
22. “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” – George Strait
A hit single for George Strait in 2011, “Love’s Gonna Make It Alright” was actually written by Chris alongside Al Anderson with the intention to pitch to George:
“Sat down to write this song, this is another one where this kinda worked… George was cuttin’ and my friend Al Anderson who used to be in a band called NRBQ, back in the ’80s… he goes ‘hey man, George cuttin’ and we need to write something for George.’
That never works out when you do that… but he said ‘we need to write a song for George’ and we did and it turned out to be this one.”
Off his 2011 album, Here For A Good Time, the second single went Top 5 on the Billboard Hot Country chart.
23. “You Ain’t Right” – LeAnn Rimes
24. “Hell Bent On A Heartache” – Guy Clark
25. “Drinkin’ Dark Whiskey” – Gary Allan
Originally written by Chris Stapleton and Mike Henderson, the song was released by Gary Allan in 2003 on his See If I Care album. It was then later recorded by The Steeldrivers (Chris and Mike’s band at the time) in 2008 for their self-titled album.
Chris also provided background vocals on Gary’s studio recording.