Back in the 90s, country music was the only thing my mother listened to while carting us back and forth between school and our farm. If we so much as thought about the Spice Girls, we were sent to sit in the back seat to think about the bad things we’ve done. She was not having it.
For the most part, I loathed country music because, well, my mom thought it was cool. Also, do-si-doing in gym glass to dusty records hand-picked by my pleated-pants-wearing Phys Ed teacher made it all the more uncool. By the way, how is that exercise, anyway? I digress…
Now, whenever I hear the familiar twang of those 90s country songs I am catapulted back to my mom’s Riviera, sitting in the front, red velvet seat, bare feet on the dash and belting out the sweet story line songs. Of course, this was only permissible when no one under the age of 30 was in the vehicle.
Almost any hit country song from the 90s sends me down memory lane. I can feel summer grass, smell hay being cut, taste the burn of Sunny D, and feel young and alive.
Those were the years before “country rock.” Not every song was about Budweiser and watching trashy girls shake it in bikinis and cut-off shorts. No, 90s country music taught lessons. It broke your heart. It also carried catchy, unique tunes that you remembered the rest of your life.
In honor of the country music of yesteryear, I give you 20 baby names inspired by the original country beats.
The woman who made being born “plain white trash” something we wished had happened to us. I mean, Reba McEntire’s smash hit song “Fancy” was the one time in our lives we were proud of a woman becoming a prostitute.
Fancy was the girl who had a tough go at life. Her dad left her sick mother, her and at least a baby in a rundown shack to figure it out. Well, Fancy had a dance and Mom knew it was her only chance to give her daughter the chance to succeed — by finding a man or two to take care of her.
Fancy rocks the pants off (probably literally) her situation and, even though her mom dies and the baby goes to become who-knows-what, she is rocking fur and pearls and taking her lemons and making lemonade.
Right out of the gate, we are going to give you a double-whammy when it comes to throwback country names.
The name Brooks is rooted deeply in ’90s country with musical powerhouses Garth Brooks and Kix Brooks of the duo Brooks and Dunn both donning the name.
There are few more nostalgic country than these men. With hits like, “Standing Outside the Fire,” “Friends in Low Places,” and “The Thunder Rolls” among many, many Garth Brooks chart toppers. As well as: “Brand New Man,” “Neon Moon,” and “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” among piles of Brooks and Dunn’s greatest 90s hits.
You can hardly call yourself a country fan if you haven’t cried or drank too much to at least five of these songs at some point in your life. They are the pinnacle of ’90s country music.
Speaking of singers with many hits, Shania Twain is the beautifully talented charmer of ’90s country music.
We’re pretty sure every woman, no matter her age in 1997 when the song was released, danced on top of their beds, singing into their brushes to “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!” What about “That Don’t Impress Me Much” when she sings about her hard-to-win heart that even Brad Pitt would struggle to attain? Yeah, we wished we were just like her in that desert in full cheetah attire looking as smoking as she did.
Shania was no two-hit-wonder who looks good in animal print. She has sold over 85 millions albums worldwide making her the best-selling female artist in the history of country music and one of the best-selling artists of all time.
First things first, does anyone remember this Tim McGraw? That mustache. Those long, chestnut locks. It was all the rage for ’90s women and tweens alike.
He gave us the controversial hit “Indian Outlaw” that we are ashamed to still love. Even city slickers could drink a beer to “Down on the Farm,” and “All I Want is a Life.” Nearly every twangy beat this hunk sang went soaring to the top of the Billboard Charts. McGraw must have an entire double-wide trailer full of Country Music Awards, Grammys and many more. Basically, anything country in the past 20 years has had the name McGraw attached to it.
After the ’90s, we fell even more in love with Tim McGraw when he took to the silver screen. Surprisingly, the singer is also just as good of an actor, melting our collective hearts in “The Blind Side.”
What does George Strait have to do with the name Emmylou, you ask? Let me just take you on a trip down memory lane:
It started way back in third grade,
I used to sit beside Emmylou Hayes,
A pink dress, a matching bow, and her ponytail,
She kissed me on the school bus but told me not to tell,
Next day I chased her around the playground,
Cross the monkey bars to the merry-go-round,
And Emmylou got caught passing me a note,
Before the teacher took it I read what she wrote
Yes, wipe your tears as you remember this sweet serenade. “Check Yes or No” was a song that I thought of each time I passed a note in grade school. Maybe this was it? Maybe I was going to marry this little boy picking his nose and snapping my bra? No? Well, damn you George Strait for these unrealistic expectations!
Nonetheless, the name and little girl in the song, bring us back to a much sweeter and simpler time. Emmylou Hayes was the picture of adorable beauty we loved (and were viciously jealous of) every time we heard the slow song.
The Dixie Chicks were the ladies we all wanted to befriend in the ’90s. Why? Because if you hurt their friend, they were going to stuff your sorry carcass in their trunk and drive it in the river. We’re looking at you, Earl. Sure, they had to “pretend” they were talking about Mary Anne and Wanda, but we all knew the truth they sung about in “Goodbye Earl” when Earl decided to abuse Wanda.
While, no, we don’t want to name our kids after a woman beater. However, we do want to give a nod to the three ladies who took best friendship to the next level. They are the epitome of #squadgoals.
It seems were sticking with a theme of woman killing off their abusers with this next name as well. Martina McBride gave us goosebumps with her girl power, legendary country hit, “Independence Day.”
Well, she lit up the sky that fourth of July,
By the time that the firemen come,
They just put out the flames,
And took down some names,
And send me to the county home.
Now I ain’t sayin’ it’s right or it’s wrong,
But maybe it’s the only way.
Talk about your revolution,
It’s Independence Day.
The song told us the story of a little girl who went to the fair after seeing her mother had been beat by her dad. Well, her mom took matters in her own hands when no one would help her and blew their house up with both herself and her abuser inside. She wasn’t taking it anymore.
Also, what about the hit “A Broken Wing?” Are you still crying over that song too? Yes, Martina McBride built us women up in many, many chart-topping songs in the ’90s making her the perfect namesake for your child.
Pam Tillis gave us one of the most emotional country love songs of the ’90s with the hit “Maybe It Was Memphis.”
Maybe it was Memphis,
Maybe it was Southern summer nights,
Maybe it was you maybe it was me,
But it sure felt right,
Read about you in a Faulkner novel,
Met you once in a Williams play,
Heard about you in a country love song,
Summer night beauty took my breath away,
Those lyrics, that love. Pam Tillis pulled out all the stops with this song. It was released in 1991 and made its way to spot #3 on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs Charts.
The song wasn’t Tillis’ only hit in the ’90s. She also gave us the catchy tunes, “Shake the Sugar Tree,” “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial,” and “Land of the Living” to name a few.
Shenandoah. The chart-topping ’90s country band who gave us music with throwback melodies and feel. The band had many hits, but it’s biggest was “Next to You, Next to Me.”
Ridin’ down the road in my pick-up truck,
Ya better get ready cause I’m pickin’ you up,
With a full moon a shinin’ and a little bit a luck,
We’ll run out outta gas and maybe get stuck,
We could get lost baby I don’t care,
I ain’t worried as long as you’re there,
There ain’t no place that I’d rather be,
Next to sittin’ next to me,
There ain’t no place that I’d rather be,
Next to you, next to me,
Can it get any more country than that? Shenandoah is the epitome of what country music is supposed to sound and feel like. The band peaked in the ’90s and we are all devastated we have lost the beautiful feel of their music.
Montgomery Gentry is the country band of pure masculinity. So much leather and brim in their outfits at all times. Also, we’re pretty sure Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry created the goatee trend that ransacked country music taverns country-wide.
Hits like “Hillbilly Shoes” and “Daddy Won’t Sell the Farm” gave redneck men a new song to relate to in the ’90s. Who doesn’t know a weathered, country man, elbows deep in farmer’s tan they picture when they hear these lyrics:
His cows get loose and run right through the fast food parking lots,
And Daddy gets calls from the mini-malls,
When they’re downwind from his hogs,
When his tractor backs up traffic, the reception ain’t too warm,
The city’s growing around him, but Daddy won’t sell the farm,
You can’t roll a rock, up a hill that steep,
You can’t pull roots when they run that deep,
He’s gonna live and die, in the eye of an urban storm,
Daddy won’t sell the farm,
They gave farmers and country people alike more to be proud of. The world wasn’t all going to become a Starbucks if we banded together and respected our family land. They were country icons.
Before today’s youngin’s had Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and Miranda Lambert, there was one blonde-haired, teenage, honky tonker named LeAnn Rimes.
She single-handedly sparked teenage interest in country music again. It was the first country cassette I purchased and didn’t hide from my friends. She made country cool again with hits like, “Blue,” “Light In Your Eyes,” and the smash hit”One Way Ticket (Because I Can).”
And buy a one-way ticket on a west bound train,
See how far I can go,
I’m gonna go out dancing in the pouring rain,
And talk to someone I don’t know,
I will face the world around me,
Knowing that I’m strong enough to let you go,
And I will fall in love again,
Because I can,
She sang exactly what teens in the country wanted to here. But, in the late ’90s, Rimes made the decision to cross over to pop music, covering many classic songs. However, her roots were always in the holler because she eventually went back to country music where her bread was buttered.
Trace Adkins is the only country guy who can pull off a necklace with an actual charm on it. He is the deep, bass voice, handsome smirk and cowboy hat that looks like it just came back from ranchin’. Pure, solid, man with a voice that melts your bones.
We wept for poor Trace when he sang, “Every Light In The House.”
I told you I’d leave a light on,
In case you ever wanted to come back home,
You smiled and said you appreciate the gesture,
I took your every word to heart,
‘Cause I can’t stand us being apart,
And just to show how much I really miss ya,
Every light in the house is on,
The backyard’s bright as the crack of dawn,
The front walk looks like runway lights,
It’s kinda like noon in the dead of night,
Every light in the house is on,
Just in case you ever do get tired of being gone,
Every light in the house is on,
I mean, what kind of woman would leave this handsome, broken hearted man to pine away in an empty house? Women across the 90’s raised their hands and volunteered as tribute to be Trace’s rebound girl. We are all still waiting for our callbacks.
Pronounced Dee-Nuh, Deana Carter gave us a ’90s country music baby name as sweet as “Strawberry Wine.” Oh yes, we know, all of us were 13 imaging out 16th year would be falling fastly in love with our first boyfriend. Sadly, many of us missed this experience, but it didn’t stop any of us from ugly crying to her hit song.
He was working through college on my grandpa’s farm,
I was thirsting for knowledge and he had a car,
I was caught somewhere between a woman and a child,
When one restless summer we found love growing wild,
On the banks of the river on a well beaten path,
It’s funny how those memories they last,
Like strawberry wine and seventeen,
The hot July moon saw everything,
My first taste of love oh bittersweet,
Green on the vine,
Like strawberry wine,
The song just brings back the smells of summer during our teen years. Our biggest concerns were falling in love and we all lived vicariously through Deana Carter’s summer of love.
It’s an adorably country name from one of the ’90s most charming singers. Travis Tritt gave us several hits during this decade, but one of the most resonating in the country bars and honky tonks was “T-R-O-U-B-L-E.”
Well I play an old guitar from nine till half past one,
I’m just tryin’ to make a livin’ watching everybody else havin’ fun,
Well I don’t miss much if it happens on a dancehall floor,
Mercy look what just walked through that door,
Well hello T-R-O-U-B-L-E,
Tell me what in the world,
You doin’ A-L-O-N-E,
Yeah say hey good L double O-K-I-N-G,
Well I smell T-R-O-U-B-L-E
His signature wavy mullet-esque hairstyle, denim jacket on denim jeans and splash of leather made him quite the ’90s heartthrob. During that time, he racked up many music awards including: Top New Male Artist of 1990, Best Country Collaboration and many collaboration awards.
The song that inspired many a teenage runaway, or, really it just made you feel like you were ballsy enough to flip a coin and head across the country, but it was really a daydream. “Heads Carolina, Tails California” by Jo Dee Messina was the perfect summer dream song.
Baby what do you say we just get lost,
Leave this one horse town like two rebels without a cause,
I’ve got people in Boston, ain’t your daddy still in Des Moines,
We can pack tomorrow, tonight let’s flip a coin,
Heads Carolina, tails California,
Somewhere greener, somewhere warmer,
Up in the mountains, down by the ocean,
Where don’t matter long as we’re goin’,
Somewhere together, I got a quarter,
Heads Carolina, tails California,
Now, doesn’t that tune make you want to pack it up and head ‘er West? Jo Dee Messina had the ability to wow us with her lyrics and vocals throughout the ’90s. Her Heads Carolina, Tails California album won her the Top New Female Vocalist award at the Academy of Country Music Awards. Messina also takes the title as the only female country artist to score three number one songs from the same album.
I don’t know about you, but my tweenage self pined longingly for a love like Katie and Tommy from Trisha Yearwood’s hit “She’s in Love With the Boy.”
Katie and Tommy at the drive in movie,
Parked in the very last row,
They’re to busy holding on to one another,
To even care about the show,
Later on outside the Tasty Freeze,
Tommy slips something on her hand,
He says my high school ring will have to do,
‘Till I can buy a wedding band,
Her daddy say’s he ain’t worth a lick,
When it comes to brains,
He got the short end of the stick,
But Katie’s young and man she just don’t care,
She’d follow Tommy anywhere,
She’s in love with the boy,
Yeah, I don’t know about you guys, but my Dad definitely wouldn’t have been tickled pink about me getting engaged in high school, I don’t care how many encouraging words my mom had for the two of us. But, Katie’s parents apparently knew the love between her and Tommy was unbreakable.
The song was Yearwood’s very first single and very first number one song on the music charts.
Just like her name, Wynonna Judd’s voice was as one-of-a-kind as country music had ever heard. Having been part of the family band The Judds and then doing her own solo thing in the ’90s, Wynonna was no stranger to hit country music.
The Judds disbended in 1991, making it her decade to shine. That she did. With hit after hit songs like “She is His Only Need,” “Tell Me Why,” and my personal favorite, “No One Else on Earth.”
No one else on earth,
Could ever hurt me,
Break my heart the way that you do,
No one else on earth,
Was ever worth it,
No one could touch me like,
No one could love me like you,
It wasn’t just the lyrics that made “No One Else on Earth” a memorable success, but Wynonnas raspy, deep, girl power voice. She belted, serenaded and wooed her audiences during each song making crowds long to run their fingers through her gorgeous, red mane.
While Wynonna still continues to sit in the limelight, the ’90s were definitely a highlight of her career. Having received four Grammy nominations and one American Country Music Award she was rewarded for her many years of amazing music.
We know, we know, we already talked about Tim McGraw, what else could we possibly have to say? Well, you’ll understand when we remind you of a little number called, “Don’t Take the Girl.” Crying yet? Yeah, we thought so.
Same old boy,
Same sweet girl,
Five years down the road,
There’s gonna be a little one and she,
Says it’s time to go,
Doctor says the baby’s fine,
But you’ll have to leave,
‘Cause his momma’s fading fast and,
Johnny hit his knees and there he prayed,
“Take the very breath you gave me,
Take the heart from my chest,
I’ll gladly take her place if you’ll let me,
Make this my last request,
Take me out of this world,
God, please don’t take the girl,
Not gonna lie, I have a lump in my throat just writing that.
The song talks about Johnny, the little boy who meets a little girl who wants to tag along on his fishing trip with his dad. Like any little boy, he is horrified at the thought of a girl wanting to join him doing boy things. Well, turns out she’s the love of his life and we listen as they head into a movie and are robbed at gunpoint and later give birth to their baby. Each time, Johnny begs no one to “take the girl” and we all sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.
The song was Tim McGraw’s very first number one single on the Hot Country Songs charts and will forever be in our memories.
Well, we couldn’t talk about Tim McGraw so much without mentioning his equally famous and possibly more attractive wife, Faith Hill.
We loved everything Hill put out to listen to, some of our favorites included, “Take Me as I Am,” “Piece of My Heart,” and “Let’s Go to Vegas.”
However, for most of us who spent our childhood in the ’90s, the hit “Wild One” really hit home, even if we were just nerdy bookworms who had a panic attack at the thought of breaking the rules, still, it resonated with us.
They said you can’t leave,
She said yes I will,
They said don’t see him,
She said his name is Bill,
She’s on a road and its all uphill.
She’s a wild one,
With an angel’s face,
She’s a woman child in a state of grace,
When she was three years old on her daddy’s knee,
He said you can be anything you want to be,
She’s a wild one,
While most of us weren’t as rebellious as the girl in the song, we could all picture a young Faith running wild with her semi-permed blonde hair whipping in the breeze. We all wanted to be her. After she married McGraw, that wish only multiplied.
Can it get more ’90s country than Clay Walker’s Rumor Has It album cover? The tight jeans, big belt buckle, tucked-in shirt and bucket hat had our hearts going pitter patter.
Walker was a quiet cowboy with beautiful music. He was everything we pictured in a romantic western gent. His hits “What’s It To You,” and “If I Could Make a Living” had our toes tapping, but “This Woman and This Man” was the most memorable of his ’90s hits.
There was this woman,
And there was this man,
There was this moment they had a chance to hold on to what they had,
How could they be so in love and still never see,
That nothing could be sadder than this woman, this woman and this man
You still have our hearts, Clay Walker and in 1993 he had America’s since he was voted Best New Male Artist by Radio & Records.
The name Clay — a diminutive of Clayton, meaning “place with good clay” — is another more known name at spot #323 on the charts.
Sources: Billboard, Nameberry, CMT
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