With 20 No. 1 hits on the US Charts and countless awards and honors, legendary duo Brooks & Dunn have made an enduring impact on the landscape of country music. The group, made up of Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn, made a name for themselves in the early ‘90s with song such as “Brand New Man” and “Neon Moon,” and from there, the hits just kept coming. Throughout the ‘90s and 2000s, Brooks & Dunn became the bestselling duo in country music and one of the bestselling duos in all music. The Country Music Hall of Fame members have made an indelible mark on the genre, and after 20 years of music, it’s hard to choose a few songs to highlight, but here are 10 of the best Books & Dunn tunes according to Sounds Like Nashville.
- “Brand New Man” — from Brand New Man
Brooks & Dunn started off their newly-minted career as a country duo with their debut single, “Brand New Man,” in 1991. With its kicking country instrumentation, Dunn’s crystal clear voice and Brooks’ impeccable harmonies, “Brand New Man” went on to become a successful song for the group and one of their most essential tunes. The song, which was the title track of their debut album, landed at No. 1 on the charts, giving the duo a palpable springboard on which to begin their career.
2. “Neon Moon” — from Brand New Man
After kicking off their career with “Brand New Man,” Brooks & Dunn followed it up with “My Next Broken Heart,” which made an impact, but their third single “Neon Moon” is one for which the duo is known. This song ushered in the duo’s unique sound with its swinging country vibe and sultry steel guitar, which seems made for cruising down a Texas highway. “Neon Moon” became Brooks & Dunn’s third consecutive No. 1 hit. The duo rerecorded the hit with Kacey Musgraves for their 2019 album, Reboot.
3. “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” — from Brand New Man
Brooks & Dunn kept their string of hits coming and continued establishing themselves as future country superstars with the release of their fourth official single, “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” In this classic tune, the duo sing about a night out in a country bar where plenty of line dancing, specifically the “Boot Scottin’ Boogie,” ensues. In the song, lead singer Dunn sings the moves of the dance (“Yeah, heel, toe, docie do, come on baby, let’s go boot scootin’”) while country fiddle and other instrumentation back him up. The song is responsible for the resurgence of line dancing in the ‘90s. “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” became the duo’s fourth consecutive No. 1.
4. “My Maria” — from Borderline
After “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” Brooks & Dunn continued to release more hits throughout the early to mid-nineties. Some of these include “That Ain’t No Way To Go” and “She’s Not The Cheatin’ Kind,” but another classic Brooks & Dunn tune came in 1996 with “My Maria.” Originally released by B.W. Stevenson in 1973, Brooks & Dunn recorded their cover version for their Borderline album. Featuring slightly more country production than the original track, Brooks & Dunn’s version of the tune shot to the top of the country charts.
5. “If You See Him/If You See Her” (with Reba McEntire) — from If You See Her
Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn and Reba McEntire have always enjoyed a great friendship with one another. The three legendary singers launched their “Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas” residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas in 2015, but their friendship began long before that. In 1998, the singers collaborated on the heartbreak tune, “If You See Him/If You See Her.” In the track, Dunn and McEntire play two estranged lovers who still have feelings for one another, but won’t admit it. This classic collaboration became yet another No. 1 for the duo and for McEntire.
6. “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You” — from Steers & Stripes
Like George Strait, McEntire, Alan Jackson and many other country singers, Brooks & Dunn kept their high career success going into the 21st century, and they kicked it off with “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You” in 2001. This song saw an evolution in Brooks & Dunn’s sound, showcasing heavier guitar rather than fiddle and more traditional elements. In the driving song, Dunn sings of the passionate love he has for his partner, underlining that there’s nothing about the woman he doesn’t love. The tune became yet another radio hit, landing at No. 1.
7. “Red Dirt Road” — from Red Dirt Road
In 2003, Brooks & Dunn released one of their most essential songs, “Red Dirt Road.” This song from the album of the same name finds Dunn recounting coming-of-age moments from his youth — such as drinking his first beer, going on dates, and figuring out who he was — and they all occurred on the same “Red Dirt Road” of his hometown. The song takes on a nostalgic feeling that causes listeners to reflect on their own youth, even if those memories didn’t take place on a red dirt road. With its solid country production and Dunn’s strong voice, the duo took this classic tune to the top of the charts.
8. “It’s Getting Better All The Time” — from The Greatest Hits Collection II
Many of Brooks & Dunn’s songs would be welcome at any country house party, but the duo has released more serious tracks as well.One of these is “It’s Getting Better All The Time,” a piano-led heartbreak tune from The Greatest Hits Collection II released in 2004. The song finds Dunn singing from the perspective of a man deep in the throes of depression after the end of a relationship. The song shows just how far the man in the story sunk after the break up, as he considers simple things like showing up to work on time and abstaining from alcohol as “getting better.” Dunn’s clear voice perfectly conveys the emotion of the piece, and the slow heartbreak tune became yet another No. 1 for the group.
9. “Play Something Country” — from Hillbilly Deluxe
While the slow and somber feeling of “It’s Getting Better All The Time” proved successful for Brooks & Dunn, the duo turned it up on their single, “Play Something Country.” In this definitive country hit released in 2005, the boys of Brooks & Dunn tell a story of a woman who walks into a bar demanding to hear country music. The duo tell more tales from the wild night in the tune while energetic electric guitar accompany them. The song reached the No. 1 spot and became the first hit from their Hillbilly Deluxe album.
10. “Believe” — from Hillbilly Deluxe
Immediately after the success of “Play Something Country,” Brooks & Dunn released one of their most earnest songs, “Believe.” In this gospel-influenced tune, Dunn tells the heartwarming story of a young boy who befriends an old man who lives down the street. The two strike up a friendship and the old man, Mr. Wrigley, eventually tells the boy about his wife and son who passed away and teaches the boy about heaven. The song follows the friendship of the two as well as the little boy’s journey to faith and belief. While it did not become a No. 1 hit (it landed at No. 8), “Believe” continues to be one of Brooks & Dunn’s most emotional songs and one of Dunn’s most impressive vocal performances.