The Best Singles of 1993, Part Two: #30-#21

Our Best Singles of 1993 list continues with a collection of #1 hits, breakthrough hits, and should’ve been hits.  Kicking things off is the debut single from one of the decade’s most successful vocal groups.


“Goodbye Says it All”


Written by Bobby Fischer, Charlie Black and Johnny MacRae

Peak: #11

#9 – SG | #31 – BF

BlackHawk enjoyed a nice run of hits from their debut album, including this kiss-off song. Lead singer Henry Paul was best known for his work in the Southern Rock band The Outlaws, but his distinctive voice adapted well to mainstream country, too. “Goodbye” showed off the great harmonies from the trio (Paul, Dave Robbins and the late Van Stephenson), and it also proved the adage that nothing good has ever written been down in lipstick (Patty Loveless’ “She Drew a Broken Heart” is Exhibit B). – Sam Gazdziak

Vince Gill I Still Believe in You
“One More Last Chance”

Vince Gill

Written by Vince Gill and Gary Nicholson

Peak: #1

#8 – SG | #32 – LW

Vince Gill’s heart-breaking songs are so high, lonesome and gorgeous that it’s easy to forget that the man is also blessed with some amazing guitar skills and a wicked sense of humor. “One More Last Chance” shows off the latter two parts of his personality very well. The line about “she forgot about my old John Deere” is a sly reference to one of George Jones’ more infamous stunts, where he drove a riding mower to town to go drinking after his then-wife, Tammy Wynette, took away his car keys. – SG


Garth Brooks The Chase

“That Summer”

Garth Brooks

Written by Pat Alger, Garth Brooks, and Sandy Mahl

Peak: #1

#16 – JK | #17 – SG | #39 – LW

Not using “That Summer” as the theme song to Cougar Town is one of pop culture’s most egregiously missed opportunities. – Jonathan Keefe


Shelby Lynne Temptation
“Feelin’ Kind of Lonely Tonight”

Shelby Lynne

Written by Brent Maher and Jamie O’Hara

Peak: #69

#9 – LW | #10 – JK

Considering how mellow the Americana albums of her rebooted career have been, it’s easy to forget what a spitfire Shelby Lynne could be during her run at mainstream success. On “Feelin’ Kind of Lonely Tonight,” Lynne belts her way through one of her sultriest performances over a swinging arrangement that doesn’t skimp on fiddles. – JK

Marty Brown Cryin Lovin Leavin


“It Must be the Rain”

Marty Brown

Written by Marty Brown

Peak: #74

#5 – SG | #15 – JK

Brown keeps his Kentucky twang largely in check here and trades in his honky-tonk sound for a thoroughly contemporary country-rock arrangement. While it may be outside of Brown’s norms, it was still well-written and well-sung, and it’s hard to listen to his first three albums and not wonder how country radio dropped the ball. – SG


Lorrie Morgan Watch Me

“I Guess You Had to be There”

Lorrie Morgan

Written by Barbara Cloyd and Jon Robbin

Peak: #14

#8 – KJC | #10 – BF

Morgan’s pop sensibilities in no way hinder her ability to tackle this Wynette-worthy weeper, which opens with Morgan’s narrator observing a man and women in romantic embrace on a date. The gradual revelation of the man’s identity as the narrator’s unfaithful spouse makes it all the more potent when she sadly concludes, “We’ve drifted so far apart and it’s hard to admit it but there’s nothing left for you here.” – Ben Foster


Clint Black The Hard Way

“When My Ship Comes in”

Clint Black

Written by Clint Black and Hayden Nicholas

Peak: #1

#4 – SG | #24 – LW

Lots of people have tried to copy that Jimmy Buffett sound, but Black nailed the spirit of the Mayor of Margaritaville better than most. This tune about tropical escapism doesn’t have a Caribbean sound like the Parrothead wannabes aim for, but the lyrics about wanting to trade in Colorado for Puerto Know-One-Knows sound just fine with a fiddle and steel guitar instead of steel drums. Puerto Know-One-Knows is such a perfect name for a vaguely tropical destination that it’s amazing Buffett never sang about it. – SG


Hal Ketchum Sure Love

“Mama Knows the Highway”

Hal Ketchum

Written by Charles John Quarto and Pete Wasner

Peak: #8

#7 – LW | #10 – SG

Hal Ketchum had a string of excellent albums throughout the nineties, and many of the best songs on those albums were weighty, sad songs. “I Miss My Mary” and “Trail of Tears” were never released as singles, but Ketchum’s fans knew them well. So when he sings something cheery like “Mama Knows the Highway,” it’s worth taking notice.

The tale of the road-savvy mama, the nice doses of mandolin and slide guitar, the little doses of four-land philosophy – “She can gauge a café just by looking at the sign” and “good country music will never steer you wrong” – shows that Ketchum can sing with a smile as well as with a frown. Ketchum reappeared with a new album last year after a long hiatus, and it’s a win for the music world to have him back. – SG


Sammy Kershaw Haunted Heart
“She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful”

Sammy Kershaw

Written by Bob McDill and Paul Harrison

Peak: #1

#8 – BF | #28 – LW | #31 – SG

As mainstream country music’s treatment of women grows ever more sickeningly misogynistic, my appreciation only grows for Kershaw’s heartfelt, classy ode to a woman who is beautiful inside and out. – BF


Reba McEntire It's Your Call

“The Heart Won’t Lie”

Reba McEntire and Vince Gill

Peak: #1

Written by Kim Carnes and Donna Terry Weiss

#10 – LW | #17 – BF | #27 – KJC

Reba McEntire’s resonant voice with Vince Gill’s silky tenor blended together to form the main ingredients of one of the most essential country power ballads of the nineties. Reba and Vince perfectly captured the sensitivity and passion of “The Heart Won’t Lie,” which also made it one of the most memorable duets of the decade. – Leeann Ward

The Best Albums of 1993
Part One | Part Two

The Best Singles of 1993
Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four


  1. Glad to see my favorite male vocalist Hal Ketchum on the list with “Mama Knows the Highway”. Other favorites here are Lorrie Morgan’s “I Guess You Had to Be There” (i remember the video with Kris Kristofferson as the cheating husband) and Vince Gill’s “One More Last Chance”.

  2. I still remember listening to a country show on BBC where they introduced “Mama Knows the Highway” and talked to Hal about how he wrote it. Can’t believe that was 22 years ago… But man, what a good year 1993 was.

  3. @bulbul – a check of the BMI website shows that Hal has written 231 songs (referred to as “work titles”). “Mama Knows the Highway” is not one of them. See the write-up above by Sam G. The writers are correctly identified as Charles John Quarto and Pete Wasner.

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