At the Country Music Hall of Fame, Reba McEntire has made her mark by producing 33 albums, 27 of which reached the top 10 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. McEntire’s discography dates back to 1977, when her first album, McEntire, was released. She had a couple of hits with Mercury Records, but it wasn’t until 1984 that she became famous when she joined MCA Records. McEntire is one of the few celebrities you know by their first name. She has done so much in the 35-plus years since releasing her breakthrough album “My Kind of Country.” The album started her career, but she has evolved into a television star, actress, and recording artist. Please read on below to find out which albums we have rated the ten best. The list skips over the 1970s gives the ’80s and ’90s an equal amount of listicles and even goes back in time to praise McEntire’s 21st-century output as an ambassador for country music.
10. Stronger Than the Truth (2019)
McEntire recently took young Nashville to school with the “Stronger Than the Truth” premiere on April 5, 2019. McEntire forged new partnerships with several amazing women she influenced, like songwriters Erin Enderlin, Brandy Clark, Jaida Dreyer, and Alex Kline, rather than raking in on ’90s country memory and performing nothing except music written by the other superstars.
9. Starting Over (1995)
Two of the album’s non-singles have remained popular. On the album’s closing song of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” a product of the collaboration involving composer Jimmy Webb and performer Glen Campbell, McEntire peaks as a musical interpreter. There’s also a terrific rendition of David Allan Coe’s “Please Come to Boston.”
8. Room to Breathe (2003)
McEntire’s 2003 album became her first album of the new century and was also the first time she became one of country music’s living legends. It pays tribute to her past while also paving the way for her future: Considering the wide range of music genres featured on the album, not to mention the creative detours, there’s plenty of variety available for any country music enthusiast. The lead single “I’m Gonna Take That Mountain” dabbles in bluegrass, while “Love Revival” teases McEntire’s future interest in gospel music.
7. Sweet Sixteen (1989)
McEntire’s 16th album proved that she is a force to be reckoned with both sonically and visually. Five years into releasing an album of traditionalist country music, McEntire released a fun, hit-filled album with a sensitive track. Compared to other change-makers in the industry, such as Garth Brooks and George Strait, McEntire continued what they started by breaking boundaries while remaining true to her roots.
6. The Last One to Know (1987)
It’s telling that an album titled after one of the earliest big hits co-written with Matraca Berg isn’t in the Top 5. When you add in top in the chart “Love Will Find Its Way to You,” and the potential Holly Dunn hit “Just Across the Rio Grande,” it’s clear that the greatest albums here beat off stiff competition.
5. Rumor Has It (1990)
“Rumor Has It,” the first single from McEntire’s new album, is reminiscent of the legendary cover of “Fancy.” McEntire collaborated on “Climb That Mountain High” with the renowned Don Schlitz. This song serves as a pop-friendly reminder of McEntire’s optimistic outlook. McEntire’s new album’s title tune is also one of her finest in-studio vocal productions.
4. For My Broken Heart (1991)
McEntire’s first trip to the studio after a plane crash that left members of her touring band dead proved to be a form of healing for the country singer and helped her to create an album of timeless songs for her fans. One of the most empowering songs on the album “Is There Life Out There” is for nontraditional college students. “The Greatest Man I Ever Knew” is a touching song that recognizes the hard-working fathers that are not often emotionally expressive. It still reflects the family dynamics for people from all walks of life and remains one of McEntire’s strongest songs.
3. My Kind of Country (1984)
In 1989, McEntire’s My Kind of Country album was released and became a smashing success. It’s not hyperbole to say that this release deserves as much praise as those from any other artist, especially given that it includes many chart-topping singles. However, her peers weren’t forgotten in this claim. Instead, this is meant to point out that McEntire’s work stacks up against the very best.
2. Whoever’s in New England (1986)
McEntire found fame in the 80s with her album, Whoever’s in New England. This album broke McEntire into mainstream country music, propelling her to stardom. The CMA awarded her Entertainer of the Year in 1986, demonstrating how much weight Whoever’s in New England held. Whenever McEntire releases a new album, it seems as though she is between two worlds. One end of the spectrum features traditionalist country weepers, and the other with songs that preview her as a famous country hitmaker. We can see McEntire balancing these two worlds by listening to Whoever’s in New England. Classic tear-jerker ballads (You Can Take The Wings Off Me) and cheerful, peppy tunes (Little Rock) were her jam.
1. ‘Read My Mind’ (1994)
The two great songs on McEntire’s 1994 album are different stories. The lighthearted “Why Haven’t I Heard from You” is the carefree, catchy kind of song that reminds us how being single was problematic long before someone invented Tinder. It deserves to be on the same level as songs by Garth Brooks, Brooks & Dunn, and other influential forces of the ’90s. “I Think His Name Was John” paints a sad picture of AIDS in the 1980s. It’s a stark reminder of a harsh reality that few people want to think about. The song It’s comparable to “The Little Girl” by John Michael Montgomery when providing a chilling reminder of the potential dangers of living life.