Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties: Faith Hill with Tim McGraw, “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me”

“Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me”

Faith Hill with Tim McGraw

Written by Diane Warren

Radio & Records

#1 (1 week)

August 14, 1998

Faith Hill and Tim McGraw continue their radio dominance with their second chart-topping collaboration.

The Road to No. 1

This is the fifth consecutive No. 1 single for Tim McGraw and the third for Faith Hill.

The No. 1

Diane Warren’s newly found popularity on the country charts was aided by artists scouring her catalog.  Hill got “Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me” from a 1995 Chyna Phillips album.  It was a minor hit for her in Australia.

Hill’s version blows the original out of the water, and in the process, she reveals why the early country takes on Warren songs were so successful.

Warren writes big pop songs that play to the worst instincts of powerhouse pop vocalists.  Her songs were tempered best over the years by rock-leaning acts that kept their belting instincts in check, most notably the flawless Cher reading of “If I Could Turn Back Time.”

Trisha Yearwood found the plaintive beauty embedded in “How Do I Live,” and made what could’ve been an over the top record into something subtle and sincere.  Hill does something similar here, delivering a restrained performance that features tasteful harmonies from McGraw.

It’s so much better than Hill’s later Warren hit, even if that was the one that got her an Oscars performance slot.

The Road From No. 1

The next singles from both Hill and McGraw will both go to No. 1 before the end of 1998.

“Just to Hear You Say That You Love Me” gets a B.


Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties

Previous: Trisha Yearwood, “There Goes My Baby” |

Next: Jo Dee Messina, “I’m Alright”


  1. This was always one of my least favorite Faith singles, but listening to it now I really appreciate her vocal performance. She really upped her game on this album with her vocal abilities and kept it going on Breathe, Cry, and Fireflies. Now if only we could hear those vocals on new solo music….

    • It’s so bizarre. Only six studio albums, and all of them multiplatinum, but no new solo album since 2005. I’d love her to at least release something like Faith Hill Sings the Lori McKenna Songbook.

      I think I collectively like the Faith singles the least out of all of her albums, but they still hold up pretty well, even if “This Kiss” is the only one I truly love.

      • I really need to hear the story of her shelved 2011 album Illusions and what led to her eventually leaving WMN. I have a theory that part of the problem was her ex-fiancé and producer Scott Hendricks becoming the A&R VP in 2007…

  2. Lyrically this song is standard Warren and nothing notable. The melody and the way Hill delivers it really elevate the song, though, and make it something moving.

    • At the time, I remember being disappointed in the third Faith Hill album and fourth Martina McBride album, comparing them unfavorably to their immediate predecessors. I have a better appreciation now for the hits from both albums. It feels weird to consider Faith Hill an underrated vocalist, given her sales/awards, but I think she is. The late eighties/early nineties wave of female vocalists was so spectacularly strong that women who would’ve stood out in any other time period felt like a step down at the time, to me at least.

  3. This is actually one of my most favorites of the collaborations between Faith and Tim, and I personally think it’s their most underrated one. The melody is so beautiful, and there’s a certain elegance about it that I just really love. And as already mentioned, I love and appreciate Faith’s more restrained vocal performance here which adds to the song’s elegant charm and keeps it from becoming the over the top power ballad that it could’ve been in other hands. While Faith was entering her crossover diva phase with the Faith album era, I love how there’s also still a hint that twang she had in her vocals earlier in her career in this song. There’s also some lovely fiddle and steel guitar parts to keep things firmly country, and Tim’s harmony vocals are very well done. As I’ve said a million times already ever since we entered the late 90’s in this feature: Dang, I really miss this kind of classy contemporary country!

    Also in more recent years, it’s really struck just how many of the hit songs from the Summer of 1998 were actually ballads or at least more serious mid-tempo songs. This was obviously before someone in Nashville had this silly and ridiculous notion that just about every single during the warmer months just HAS to be an uptempo, mindless Summer/Party anthem and mention girls with Daisy Dukes and bare feet, like we’ve seen in more recent decades.

    Again, this is another one of my favorite songs from the Summer of ’98 that takes me back to the vacations that I went on with my parents that year. I first heard it on the Lancaster, Pennsylvania trip that my mom, dad, and I went on not long after I finished 6th grade. Specifically, it was playing on the radio one afternoon while Dad and I were waiting in the car for Mom to come out of the QVC Outlet. We were parked on the back side of the Rockvale Outlets, and as I was listening to it, I didn’t even recognize that it was Tim McGraw doing the harmony vocals until the DJ mentioned it afterwards. I remember feeling like a dummy at that moment, with my dad looking at me funny like “You didn’t recognize the current hottest country couple?” lol Terri Clark’s “Now That I Found You” is another one I remember hearing while we were sitting in the car behind the Rockvale Outlets in Lancaster, PA.

    The vacation that “Just To Hear You Say That You Love Me” always reminds me the most of, though, is when my step dad, mom, and I were in California later in August. Particularly, for some reason, it always reminds me of when we stayed at the Country Inn hotel in Orange County, which is the main area we hung around in and the main hotel we stayed in. It was quite a lovely place, and there was definitely a classiness and luxurious feel about the hotel, despite it being well in our price range. I guess the atmosphere of the Country Inn was just a perfect fit for the song, and I remember it being stuck in my head on some of the nights we’d be in our room. This was also before I ever bothered to actually wake up in time for the hotel breakfast, and I always got frustrated with my parents for going down to the main floor to eat breakfast every morning while we were there, and by the time I got up, I’d be the only one who was hungry and wanting breakfast, lol. Most of the time, we’d end up going to this place called Hof’s Hut (which I had never heard of or seen until that time in CA), which they’d love going to for lunch and dinner, but had a limited selection of breakfast items that I liked (I did like their pancakes and sausage). My step dad and I would always like to say the name of the restaurant in a fun, fast, jokingly way like, “Hofhut!” lol. :D One night later in the vacation while going back to Hof’s Hut for dinner, they were actually playing country music in the restaurant that night, and I was thinking it sounded more like we were at a steak place than Hof’s Hut, lol.

    Each time I hear this song today, I’m still reminded of the nights I heard this song on the radio while we were in Orange County, California and still hearing it in my head while we were in our room at the Country Inn. :)

    I am SO looking forward to the next Faith Hill song in this feature, which is still one of my top favorites from her. In fact, I pretty much love all of the Faith singles except for “Love Ain’t Like That” (I like that one too, but not on the same level as the rest of the singles).

    Btw, am I the only one who thinks it’s kind of funny that the single cover is that random picture of Bugs Bunny? lol I get the connection because of Warner Bros., but still, lol.

  4. This song still does very little for me. I can agree with what has been shared about Hill’s skills as an interpreter and vocalist, but the song still fails to take flight. McGraw’s presence as harmony singer just allowed me to consider this as one of his first artistic back-slides.

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