Collin Raye’s first taste of fame came as a member of The Wrays in the ’80s, at a time when he was recording under the name Bubba Wray. In 1991, he changed his name, went solo, and hit the big time with his debut solo album, All I Can Be. Since then, he’s scored four number-one singles, released numerous gold and platinum-selling albums, and won armies of fans the world over. Here, we look back at some of his finest moments with our pick of the 10 best Collin Raye songs of all time.
10. I Can Still Feel You
Kicking off our list of the 10 best Collin Raye songs of all time is I Can Still Feel You. Thanks to an astonishingly accomplished vocal performance from Raye and an incredibly infectious melody, the song became a huge hit, earning Raye his fourth number-one single after it claimed the top spot on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart for two weeks.
9. My Kind of Girl
On My Kind of Girl, Raye paints a picture of his ideal girl – a Braves fan who listens to Merle, buys hot rod magazines, quotes William Faulkner and Martin Luther King, and wears blue jeans with her pearls. Released as the fourth single from his album Extremes in November 1994, the song became Raye’s third number-one single on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
8. That Was A River
Up next is That Was A River, one of the standout tracks from Raye’s second studio album, In This Life. Written by Susan Longacre and Rick Giles and sung by Raye with his usual combination of integrity and emotion, the song delivered the singer another big hit, taking him to number 4 on the US Billboard Hot Country & Singles chart in November 1993. It also fared well in Canada, charting at number 15 on the Canada Country Tracks chart.
7. Couldn’t Last a Moment
Raye was a busy boy in 2000, releasing both Counting Sheep, which consisted of a collection of children’s lullabies, and the more adult-orientated Tracks, an album which, among other things, gave us the beautiful Couldn’t Last a Moment, a heartfelt song about the narrator’s break up with his girlfriend and his subsequent attempt to win her back. Speaking to Billboard about the track, Raye described it as one of the “most vulnerable” songs he’s ever recorded, explaining, “The guy has his heart on his sleeve. Before, I would have been afraid to cut a song like that because it mirrored my life. Lyrically it’s so vulnerable.” Released in February 2000 as the first single from the album, it became a huge crossover hit, peaking at number 3 on the U.S. Billboard country music chart and number 43 on the Billboard Hot 100.
6. I Think About You
On the title track to Raye’s platinum-selling fourth album, Express, Raye sings about his daughter and about how he’s reminded of her in every woman he sees. The accompanying music video (which just so happens to feature his own daughter, Brittany) scooped the Video of the Year award from the Academy of Country Music, while the song, which Raye delivers with heartbreaking honesty, soared to number 2 on the Canadian county chart and number 3 in the US.
5. One Boy, One Girl
Raye’s platinum-selling fourth album, I Think About You, spawned three top 5 singles, one of which was the multi-layered One Boy, One Girl. The song tells the story of one boy and one girl from their first meeting through to their marriage and the birth of their twins (who coincidentally happen to be a boy and a girl). It might be sweetly sentimental, but Raye’s expert delivery saves it from becoming saccharine. Released in July 1995 as the album’s first single, it landed at number 2 on the US country charts and number 87 on the Billboard Hot 100.
4. If I Were You
Collin Raye’s gorgeous tenor just soars on this next song. Written by John Hobbs and Chris Farren, If I Were You describes the feelings of someone at the beginning of a new relationship. Although they’re feeling hopeful, they’re still unsure of whether the relationship will last the distance. Released in April 1995 as the final single from the album Express, it reached number 4 on the country charts in both the US and Canada.
3. In This Life
The title track of Raye’s 1992 album, In This Life, is an unabashedly tender song about the redemptive power of love. Delivered with a superb balance of control and emotion by Raye, it’s one of the album’s highlights. Released as a single in July 1992, it gave Raye his second number one on the US Billboard Hot Country & Singles chart, along with a top 40 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart. It’s since become one of the most covered tracks in his catalog, not to mention a favorite at weddings.
2. Little Rock
On Little Rock, Raye tells the story of a recovering alcoholic who leaves his home and moves to Little Rock, Arkansas, to try and rebuild his life. He’s found Jesus and a job selling VCRs, hasn’t had a drink in 19 days, and is doing just fine, except for the fact his significant other isn’t with him. Praised by Billboard for its cinematic production and ‘on the money delivery,’ the song hit number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart and number 7 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks.
1. Love, Me
In at number one on our list of the ten best Collin Raye songs of all time is Love, Me, a tender ballad written by Skip Ewing and Max T. Barnes. Speaking to Songfacts about his inspiration for the song, Ewing revealed he got the idea from a card given to him by a girlfriend in the ’80s. “She didn’t sign it with her name, because she knew I would know who it was,” he remembered. “We all do that. What struck me was not that that was a hook, but that there was such an intimacy about that that everyone would understand. Many of us have written, ‘Love, Me,’ or we’ll use an initial or whatever, knowing that the other person knows that. And there’s a connection in that. There’s an energy of acceptance and love, and closeness that can’t be found in other spaces necessarily.” Released in October 1991, the song earned Raye his first No.1 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts, along with a CMA nomination for Song of the Year.