Leann Rimes rose to fame at the age of just 13 years old with the song Blue, becoming one of the youngest artists in history to ever top the US country charts. Unlike many child stars who fade into obscurity the moment they hit their 20s, Rimes’ career is still going as strong as ever. Now aged 39, she’s won two Grammys, sold over 37 million albums worldwide, and released over 40 charting singles. Here’s our pick of the 10 best Leann Rimes songs of all time.
10. Written In The Stars
In 2000, Rimes teamed up with Elton John for Written in The Stars, a song John co-wrote with Tim Rice for the musical Aida. Rimes’ vocal versatility (which is on full display as she and John take it in turns to sing the verses before coming together for the chorus) is astonishing – if she ever decides to switch to musical theatre, she’s clearly got the goods to pull it off. The song was a huge hit, giving John his last US Top 40 hit for two decades, reaching No. 10 in the UK and breaking the top 40 in Austria, Iceland, Italy, and Switzerland.
9. Long Live Love
The lead single from Rimes’ 2016 album Remnants showcases a different side to the singer than the one we’re used to. Vocally, she’s on superb form, belting out the lyrics with a soulful gusto that’s almost reminiscent of Joss Stone at times. A tempo-filled dance number, it was a huge hit on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, climbing all the way to No.1 (only her second song to ever do so).
8. Good Friend And A Glass Of Wine
As Holler writes, Good Friend And A Glass Of Wine is the kind of song you want to listen to when you need a good break to talk trash with your friends over a glass of wine. Rimes’ fierce delivery and twanging vocals match the attitude-laden lyrics perfectly. Released in March 2008 as the second single from her twelfth studio album, Family (the first album by Rimes on which she co-wrote every track), it peaked at No. 35 on the Hot Country Songs charts.
7. Nothin’ Better to Do
Described by Classic Rock History as sounding like a cross between Patty Loveless and Sugarland, Nothin’ Better to Do is an up-tempo number that tells the story of a young woman from Mississippi who spends her time running around with boys because, as she tells her disapproving mother, there’s “nothin’ better to do.” Released in May 2007 as the lead single to her album Family, the song climbed to No. 14 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, becoming her 14th Top 20 hit on the chart. It also managed to pick up a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
6. You Light Up My Life
Rimes was just 15 years old when she released You Light Up My Life. The track, which had originally been a hit for Debby Boone in 1977, proved the perfect vehicle for Rimes’ vocal prowess. It’s raw and vulnerable, but executed so flawlessly, it’s hard to believe it’s a teenager we’re listening to. Although it didn’t fare quite so well commercially as Boone’s original (which held on to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for ten consecutive weeks), it was still a success, peaking at No. 34 on the pop charts, No. 48 on the country charts, and eventually certifying gold.
5. One Way Ticket (Because I Can)
Compared with most of her previous output (which at that point, had leaned more towards the traditional), 1996’s One Way Ticket (Because I Can) was much more uptempo and vibrant. At the time of its release, Rimes was just 14 years old – when it soared to the top of the U.S. Billboard country music charts, she became only the fourth teenage county music artist in history to score a No.1 hit on the chart. What makes it all the more extraordinary is that she recorded her vocals in just one take.
4. I Need You
Described by Billboard as “naturally beautiful and well-suited to (Rimes’) rich, enveloping vocal style,” I Need You was released in July 2000 as the lead single from Jesus: Music From and Inspired by the Epic Mini-Series. It became a major hit, peaking at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spending 25 weeks on the chart in total. It fared similarly well internationally, entering the Top 20 in Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
At the age of just 13 years old, Rimes released her debut single, Blue. The song had originally been a minor hit for Bill Mack in 1958 but had been largely forgotten by the time Rimes took it and made it her own. Despite her youth and inexperience, the song instantly struck a chord with country music fans, with critics favorably comparing her soulful vocals and exceptional control to Patsy Cline. Released in May 1996, it became a major hit that summer, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard Country Chart and No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. At that year’s Grammys, it won the award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
2. Can’t Fight The Moonlight
In 2000, Rimes scored one of the biggest hits of her career with Can’t Fight the Moonlight. Taken from the movie “Coyote Ugly” (in which Rimes made a guest appearance as herself, while also providing all of the vocals for Piper Perabo’s character Violet Sanford), it entered the top 10 in 19 European countries, as well as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Two years later, a different remix took it back into the charts, where it peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100.
1. How Do I Live
1997 gave us two versions of this classic love ballad. Somewhat unfortunately, both were released on exactly the same day. Trisha Yearwood’s version, which was used on the soundtrack for Con-Air, has a distinct country vibe. Rimes’ version, meanwhile, has a poppier, more youthful feel (which, considering she was still a teenager at the time, was probably to be expected). Voted by Billboard as one of the greatest Hot 100 songs by a female artist of all time, it was a monster hit, spending five weeks at No. 2 and a record-breaking 69 weeks in the chart in total.