After spending several years doing the rounds at Nashville, Canadian country singer Terri Clark was finally offered a home at PolyGram/Mercury Records in 1994. Just one year later, she reached the top 5 in both the US and Canada with her debut single, Better Things to Do. Over the next 10 years, she became a regular fixture in the top ten with hits like Girls Lie Too and You’re Easy on the Eyes. Although her stranglehold on the charts has lessened in recent years, she’s still pumping out great country tunes, most recently with the 2020 festive album, It’s Christmas...Cheers! Here, we look back at some of her finest moments with our pick of the 10 best Terry Clark songs of all time.
10. I Just Wanna Be Mad
As All Music notes, with a grab-you hook and tough-woman stance, I Just Wanna Be Mad was an obvious choice to open the 2003 album, Pain to Kill, even if the tough woman in question does believe in standing by her man. An uptempo, radio- ready confection underscored by thoughtful lyrics that take a microscope to the dynamics of relationships, the song gave Clark a number 27 hit on the Billboard 200 and a number 2 on the country charts.
9. Girls Lie Too
With its upbeat tempo, clever lyrics, and dynamic delivery, Girls Lie Too had massive hit potential. Released as a single from the compilation album, Greatest Hits 1994-2004, in April 2004, its summery vibes went down a storm in the charts, giving Clark her second (and so far, last) number one hit on the US country charts. It also enjoyed huge crossover success, reaching number 36 on the Billboard Hot 100.
8. Dirty Girl
When Tom Shapiro and Rivers Rutherford wrote Dirty Girl, they’d written it from a male perspective on the assumption it would be sung by a male artist. But whatever the boys could do, Clark could do better – after tweaking the lyrics, she recorded the song from a female perspective. The final version was due to appear on the album My Next Life, but when her record label BNA continued to delay releasing the album, Clark decided to cut her losses, severe her contract with BNA, and give up the album as a lost cause. Fortunately, Dirt Girl survived the cull: release as a single in July 2007, it took Clark to number 13 on the Canadian country charts and number 30 on the US Hot Country Songs.
7. In My Next Life
In My Next Life was originally meant to be included on the album of the same name. As it turned out, the album got scrapped and the song was left to battle it out in the charts as a standalone single. Suffice to say, it held up well to the challenge, taking Clark to number one on the Billboard Canada Country chart and number 36 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, becoming both her last chart-topping single in Canada and her last visit to the US charts.
6. Poor Poor Pitiful Me
Poor Poor Pitiful Me might be one of the most salacious songs in Warren Zevon’s songbook, but thanks to his sardonic lyrics, even suicide attempts, domestic abuse, and sadomasochism take on a certain witty appeal. The great Linda Ronstadt was the first artist to swap the genders and sing the song from a female perspective, recording a dynamite version for her multi-platinum album Simple Dreams. Two decades later, Clark was inspired to record her own version after hearing Ronstadt’s cover at a gym. Released in 1996, her wonderfully nuanced performance earned her a number one hit on the Canadian charts and a top 5 hit on the US Hot Country Songs chart.
5. Better Things to Do
As Wide Open Country says, Clark delivered the ultimate kiss-off to an ex with Better Things to Do. An uptempo number about a woman split between wanting her man back and knowing she’s better off without him, the song gave Clark her first taste of chart success, reaching the top 5 in both the US and Canada on its release as her debut single in 1995.
4. If I Were You
In June 1996, Clark celebrated her first number one hit in Canada after If I Were You reached number 1 on the RPM Country Tracks. It didn’t fare quite so well elsewhere, but it still managed to bag her a place at number 8 on the US Hot Country Songs chart and number 13 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart.
3. Emotional Girl
Emotional Girl was co-written by Clark, Rick Bowles and Chris Waters and recorded for her second studio album, Just the Same. Released as the album’s second single, it stormed to number one on the RPM Country Tracks chart in March 1997 and gave Clark yet another top ten hot on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart to add to her collection.
2. When Boy Meets Girl
When Boy Meets Girl met with rave reviews on its release in 1995, with Billboard magazine saying Clark’s “gutsy twang and the sharp production prowess of Keith Stegall and Chris Waters makes this a solid follow-up and another potential smash for Clark.” Released as the second single from the singer’s self-titled debut album, it reached number 3 on the country charts in both the US and Canada.
1. You’re Easy on the Eyes
In 1998, Clark won the biggest hit of her career with the gorgeous You’re Easy on the Eyes. Released as the second single from her third studio album, How I Feel, it spent three weeks at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, becoming Clark’s first US chart-topper. It was also a huge hit on her home turf, peaking at number one on the RPM Canada Country Tracks chart.