10 Essential Blake Shelton Songs

Happy Birthday greetings go out on June 18 to Oklahoma’s Blake Shelton, who turns 41. He’s been enjoying hits at Country Radio now since 2001, and we thought with his birthday in mind, we would take a look at ten of his most essential hits. We tried to balance it out with hits before-The Voice as well as after, but in either case…..this will be a great way to get a Shelton birthday celebration started!

(Arranged chronologically)

“Austin” – from Blake Shelton
With most artists, your first hit definitely belongs on the list, and Shelton’s calling card to fame was this emotional ballad about a answering machine from the pen of David Kent and Kristi Manna. The song took its’ time climbing to the top, but in making it all the way to No.1, Shelton served notice to the world of Country Music that he was a star to be taken seriously.

“Ol’ Red” – from Blake Shelton
If you look at a list of Shelton’s top ten hits, you won’t find this one. It only made it to No.14. The song itself had somewhat of a drifter lifestyle, with Hoyt Axton, George Jones, and Kenny Rogers all recording the James Bohan, Don Goodman and Mark Sherrill song. Rogers’ 1993 version failed to even chart. But, in Shelton’s voice, the unlikely “love” song found a friend, making this one of his biggest crowd pleasers.

“The Baby” – from The Dreamer
After his follow-up singles to “Austin” failed to chart as high, Blake was in need of a little bit of magic. Needless to say, he found it with the tender and heartfelt lyrics from Michael White and Harley Allen about a mother’s never-ending love for her youngest son. Shelton poured every ounce of emotion he had into the lyrics, and Country fans were the better for it.

“Some Beach” – from Blake Shelton’s Barn & Grill
As Shelton went along in his career, he began to showcase his humorous side more and more. This one raised some eyebrows at Country Radio with its’ double meaning…. but with the writer being Rory Feek and Paul Overstreet, who pretty much invented the “Positive Country” movement in the 1990s, it turned out to be okay.

“She Wouldn’t Be Gone” – from Startin’ Fires
As Shelton’s career has grown, it’s his hits that came after The Voice that have garnered him the most attention. However, that doesn’t mean that we need to ignore the records he cut before the show. This ballad showed how much Shelton had progressed as a male vocalist since his debut, and thanks to his sizzling delivery of Jennifer Adan and Cory Batten’s lyrics, it became another number one hit.

“Honey Bee” – from Red River Blue
Sometimes, it’s not always about the lyrics. After all, this up-tempo love song was never going to contend for Song of the Year from any organization. But, Shelton sounded like he was totally in his element on this Rhett Akins / Ben Hayslip song, and hey…. if you can name-check Conway and Loretta, you get points for that alone!

“God Gave Me You” – from Red River Blue
One of Shelton’s best ballad performances, this one endeared him to many couples out in radio-land, who made this one a chart-topper in short order. The writer, Dave Barnes, recorded a version of the song as well, and it’s worth hearing, as well. Possibly his most effective romantic ballad that made it to single status.

“Boys ‘Round Here” – from Based On A True Story…
If this had been any other artist, this song would have been sneered at as an example of all things that critics seemed to think were wrong about Country Music. And, to be honest, the more highbrow reviewers didn’t care for this Rhett Akins / Dallas Davidson / Craig Wiseman-penned hit. But, this was Shelton beaming with all of his Oklahoma swagger, complete with the Pistol Annies & RaeLynn lending some feminine charm. As big as this record was, imagine if it had been the lead single from the soundtrack to the Dukes of Hazzard film in 2006. That would have been huge!

“Mine Would Be You” – from Based On A True Story…
An emotional tribute to a love that had gotten away, Shelton seemed to pour himself into the mysterious vibe of this one. Was it someone from the past he was singing about….or the present day of his life. Maybe only he – and writers Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington, and Deric Ruttan know for sure, but it definitely made for an intoxicating piece of ear candy!

“Lonely Tonight” – from Bringing Back The Sunshine
Shelton and ex-wife Miranda Lambert have made no secret of their being fans of Pistol Annies member Ashley Monroe. After all, why wouldn’t they be? As much as Shelton – or any artist – enjoys having a number one hit, he took special pride in helping the talented Monroe reach the summit of the airplay list. Ryan Hurd and Brent Anderson were also pretty happy with their pair’s dramatic rendering of their lyrics, as well.