100 Greatest Men: #76. Keith Urban

100 Greatest Men: The Complete List

Australia’s had its own country music scene for generations. With Keith Urban, they scored their biggest export to date.

Urban began singing and playing guitar from an early age. Though born in New Zealand, he moved to Australia as a small child. By age eight, he’d already won talent contests. As he got older, his exposure throughout the country increased. He appeared on various television programs and soon landed a recording contract.

In 1990, he released the first of four singles in Australia from his self-titled album, Keith Urban. By 1992, he’d moved to Nashville and worked as a session guitarist. As he earned a reputation for his guitar prowess and other musical talents, he began to play in a band called The Ranch. Capitol signed the band in the mid-nineties, but their album didn’t make a big impact.

Urban resurfaced as a solo artist, releasing a second self-titled set. After one single dented the top twenty, he topped the charts with “Your Everything”, starting an uninterrupted string of top ten hits that has yet to be broken. He had his big commercial breakthrough with his second solo set for Capitol, Golden Road, which sold triple platinum and featured the Grammy-winning ballad, “You’ll Think of Me.”

Urban reached his commercial peak with his next set, Be Here. The set sold four million copies, produced several long-running # hits, and led to Urban dominating the awards circuit, including several Male Vocalist trophies and a CMA for Entertainer of the Year. Urban followed with the double platinum Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing, which earned him another Grammy for the album’s hit single, “Stupid Girl.”

Though his album sales have cooled slightly, he remains one of the genre’s most consistent sellers, pushing past platinum in an era where most artists struggle to sell gold. As he enters his second decade of success, he remains a staple at radio, and his live shows continue to pack arenas.

Essential Singles:

  • Somebody Like You, 2002
  • You’ll Think of Me, 2004
  • Days Go By, 2004
  • Making Memories of Us, 2005
  • I Told You So, 2007

Essential Albums:

  • The Ranch, 1997
  • Golden Road, 2002
  • Be Here, 2004
  • Love, Pain, and the Whole Crazy Thing, 2006
  • Defying Gravity, 2009

Next:  #75. Jim Ed Brown

Previous: #77. John Conlee

100 Greatest Men: The Complete List


  1. The first quarter of the list is in. Good series.

    I think Urban’s best albums are “Golden Road” and “Be Here”. Keith’s last 3 albums haven’t done much for me. To your essential singles list I would add “Tonight I Wanna Cry”, “You Look Good in My Shirt” and “I’m In”.

  2. Essential Singles I’d add “Everybody”…naw just kidding nobody seems to remember that one ever. I would add “Stupid Boy” and “Til Summer Comes Around” though they just really seemed to be his best artistic singles along with “I Told You So”

  3. I’ve never been a huge Keith Urban fan, but that’s mostly due to the fact that I don’t think his talent in a live setting is translated the same way on his albums. Most of the spark seems to be gone in the studio, which is a shame, because he’s known for being such a fantastic live performer.

    My essential singles:

    1. “Stupid Boy”
    2. Where The Blacktop Ends”
    3. “You’ll Think Of Me”
    4. “Raining on Sunday”
    5. “Making Memories Of Us”
    6. “Till Summer Comes Around”

  4. I’m not sure where Keith Urban should ultimately be ranked, but it should be behind the likes of John Denver and Freddie Hart. He is awfully talented but not very country at all

  5. I’m in agreement with all of the Essential Singles listed. “Somebody Like You” and “Days Go By” are probably my two favorite Keith Urban songs.

    I think “Stupid Boy” is a good song, but I always hated how the album version just drags on forever. The lengthy fade out just seemed unnecessary and self-indulgent to me.

  6. He is the BEST live entertainer out there, IMO! His voice is as awesome live as on his albums. More than I can say for a lot of the higher ranked artist just because he doesn’t sing about dirt roads, beer, and I’m country to the bone, riding in his pickup. I still love him even though he doesn’t sing about the above mentioned things.

  7. I finally gained an appreciation for Keith Urban with Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing, particularly with “I Told You So” and “Everybody”. And I haven’t enjoyed him nearly as much since.

  8. Keith Urban is the best and deserves to be number one!! He is the best singer, songwriter, entertainer, performer, musician, and multi-instrumentalist EVER!! I have been to his last three concerts and have loved them all. The Get Closer Tour is the Best!! His music has helped me survive having my stroke, death, and cancer!! He is so caring and giving. He can play any instrument and can sing. I have been to a lot of rock concerts and no one is better than Keith Urban. I plan to go to attend his future concerts as well. His music always sets the tone for Country Music!! God Bless!! How can anyone say he is not the best entertainer, singer, songwriter in all genres of music!! God Bless!!

  9. “You Look Good In My Shirt” is a guaranteed grinner for me, whenever it’s on the radio — which is still quite often. And “Somebody Like You” is the very definition of a benchmark song in an artist’s career. It became his essential sound and it’s so wonderfully sunny, it too never gets old.

    When you combine writing with live performance with scorching guitar talent, you have the second triple-threat artist (along with BP) justly selling out shows and making great singles in the business today. He still sounds like no one else and has no imitators. Unique, very nice on the eyeballs and seemingly a great guy, what more could anyone ask? He definitely belongs on this list, and like Brad, I’d have expected him to land higher. He’s the kind of contemporary country I love!

  10. More essential singles, in my opinion:

    “Better Life”
    “Once In a Lifetime”
    “Raining On Sunday”
    “Sweet Thing”
    “Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me”
    “You’re My Better Half”

  11. Keith’s awesome, and that’s putting it mildly. If the only album he’d ever released was “Golden Road,” he’d still justify a high spot on the list imo. I agree that his last few albums haven’t quite been the same, but I’m glad to see he’s in a better headspace now than he was before (the “poor-me-I’m such-a-f**k-up songs were starting to get tired to me honestly).

    And “You Look Good In My Shirt” is an awesome track. I’d definitely add that one to the essential singles. Definitely a song I wish I’d written! Viva la Keith!

  12. I’m a rather finicky listener, and I’ve only become more so as my musical tastes have expanded to include more genres.

    Some songs I just vehemently dislike, and once an artist has released such a song it takes something pretty extraordinary to get back into my good graces.

    Your Everything just wasn’t that good a song, the video was unimaginative, someone seemed to have grafted pubic hair below Keith Urban’s lower lip, and the damned thing was absolutely ubiquitous on CMT during its chart run. Utterly inescapable.

    That song put him on my shit list, where he stayed until I first heard You’ll Think of Me, a fantastic song performed quite well. After that, I gave the rest of his catalog a second look and found I’d missed the genesis of an extraordinary artist.

1 Trackback / Pingback

  1. Liz Anderson Passes Away; Willie Nelson Sings Country Classics; Danny Booth Joins Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen - Engine 145

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.