Keith Whitley was a star that rose quickly but burned out far too soon. The mega country star released his first album titled “L.A. to Miami” in 1985 and became a phenomenon in country music. He did a lot in the four short years of his career, before passing away of alcohol poisoning in 1989. He released two albums, 12 singles, and an EP that rocketed his career to the stars. Here are the 10 best Keith Whitley songs of all time, ranked in order of their popularity.
10. “Homecoming ’63”
According to The Boot, The 10th best song of Keith Whitley’s career is “Homecoming ’63.” The tune was released on the “L.A. to Miami” album in 1985. It was written by Royce Porter and Dean Dillon. The borderline risque lyrics follow the storyline of the first dance for a high school couple. It was accompanied by a sexy music video featuring Keith and his then-new bride Lorrie Morgan.
9. “Hard Livin”
“Hard Livin” is another track off Whitley’s L.A. to Miami album released in 1985. The song was written by David Halley. It was a song that has become more relevant to Keith’s personal story since his passing. It takes a look at how alcohol can affect a person’s life and make them subject to the rigors of Hard Living. It gave us a glimpse into Whitley’s personal experience which became more evident later after his chapter closed.
8. “Some Old Side Road”
“Some Old Side Road appeared as a track on the “Don’t Close Your Eyes” album that dropped in 1988. The song was written by Roger D. Ferris. It is a song about a character who would go to just about any lengths to get the girl of his dreams. It was one of the first songs on the “Don’t Close Your Eyes” album to hit the top 20 charts.
7. “Ten Feet Away”
“Ten Feet Away” is a song about a romance that began in a restaurant between a couple that was sitting ten feet apart from one another at separate tables. It was written by Troy Seals, Billy Sherrill, and Max D. Barnes. The song was Whitley’s first to hit the Top 10 charts. It was released on the L.A. to Miami album in 1985.
6. “I Wonder Do You Think of Me”
“I Wonder Do You Think of Me” was written by Sanger D. Shafer. This song skyrocketed to the number one spot on the charts after the death of the singer. Keith had recorded the track not long before his death. It was released in 1989 and it was the fourth consecutive number one hit on country charts, and the first single to be released posthumously. The lyric to his song drove home the feeling that his friends, family, and friends had when they heard him sing I wonder, do you think of me?”
5. “When You Say Nothing At All”
Whitley recorded this song as a single, and he also performed it as a duet with singer Allison Krauss. It went to the top of country music charts and is one of the most popular songs of his career. It was a song that was written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz, an inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
4. “I’m No Stranger to the Rain”
“I’m No Stranger to the Rain” appeared as a track on the “Don’t Close Your Eyes” album released in 1988. The song was written by Ron Hellard and Sonny Curtis. One aspect of this song that makes it so iconic is that it is the last song that Keith Whitley released before his untimely death. It quickly jumped to the number one spot on country music charts and it held solid in the position for a full two weeks. It charted a month before Whitley’s passing.
3. “Brotherly Love”
Wide Open Country names “Brotherly Love as one of the top three hits of Keith Whitley’s career. It appears as a track on his “Kentucky Bluebird” that was released posthumously. It’s about the sibling rivalries and the bonds that both tie and separate brothers.
2. “Don’t Close Your Eyes”
“Don’t Close Your Eyes” is the second biggest hit of Keith Whitley’s short but powerful career as a country music artist. It was released on the titular album with the same name in 1988. The song was written by Bod McDill. It was a phenomenal hit that became a number one charting song for Keith, but it also went to the top of charts as the number one country song of the year in the charts. It’s a bittersweet song about a man who knows his woman still has feelings for someone else. He pleads with her to put those thoughts aside, keep her eyes open and see him instead of someone else.
1. “Turn Me To Love”
“Turn Me To Love” is the best song of Keith Whitley’s career. This was an experimental tune that RCA used to test the mainstream response to Whitley’s music. It was released as a part of an EP that featured a total of six songs. This was the best track on the EP and it became an iconic song for Whitley as a blend of old and new styles. It incorporated old-style guitar with a bit of South of the border vibrations in a winning combination. This turned out to be the most popular song of all time for Keith Whitley.