Country fans are still reeling over Rascal Flatts’ decision to say farewell in 2020. But the shocking announcement does come with a silver lining — the chance to reflect on one of the most influential bands of the last 20 years.
From their beginnings in a smoky dive bar in Nashville’s Printer’s Alley to the best-selling act in the world in 2006, the trio of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney have had a remarkable career by any measure. Sure, they’ve scored 17 Number Ones and sold more than 23 million albums. But more importantly, they presided over an era of huge changes in country.
Entering just as the genre flung open its doors to lush Y2K-pop influence, Flatts were perfectly positioned — and the impact of their success is still felt today through acts like Dan + Shay, Lady Antebellum and more. But you know what they say … “You don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone.”
In chronological order, here are some choice picks for the Top 10 Rascal Flatts songs of all time.
“Prayin’ for Daylight” (2000) — The track that started it all, “Prayin’ for Daylight” featured thickly layered vocal harmonies and a signature element of the Flatts catalogue — taking a heavy subject and finding the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. It hit the Top 5 at radio and set the stage for more to come.
“These Days” (2002) — Still a singalong staple of their live show, “These Days” marked Flatts’ first Number One single — and its conversational storyline helped establish LeVox as one of country’s most expressive male vocalists.
“Mayberry” (2003) — A feel-good tribute to the way things used to be — or at least the way we like to remember them — “Mayberry” earned the trio their second chart topper. It also showed off the group’s musicality with a quirky, halting chorus and key changes.
“Bless the Broken Road” (2004) — Perhaps the biggest big-picture anthem of the modern era, “Bless the Broken Road” was Rascal Flatts’ biggest success to date, becoming their first Platinum certified hit and a winning a Grammy for Best Country Song. On top of being a tearjerking fan favorite, it also let the guys express their faith on a grand scale.
“Fast Cars and Freedom” (2005) — The immediate follow up to “Bless the Broken Road,” “Fast Cars and Freedom” took fans down a different road. The easy-rocker rolled the windows down for some nostalgic romance.
“What Hurts the Most” (2006) — A five-times Platinum smash, “What Hurts the Most” is by far and away Flatts’ biggest hit, but oddly enough it’s technically a “cover.” Nevertheless, the track’s epic emotions belong solely to them — and the so-close-yet-so-far-away storyline is still potent today.
“Life Is a Highway” (2006) – Speaking of covers, who would’ve guess a remake of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is a Highway” would go on to be the name of Flatts’ 2020 farewell tour? The guys breathed new life into it for a spot on the Cars soundtrack, and with its irresistible chorus, motored into Billboard’s all-genre Top 10.
“My Wish” (2006) — Told you 2006 was a big year. “My Wish” hit Number One on the country charts as a tender power ballad, but it’s remembered today as a wedding favorite — especially well suited for bringing tears to the eyes of a proud papa during his father-daughter dance.
“Here Comes Goodbye” (2009) — By now cornering the market for supersized emotional ballads, “Here Comes Goodbye” stands out not for the theatric sonics but for its interesting theme. The lyrics narrate a heartbreak still in progress, capturing a unique feeling of helplessness.
“Yours If You Want It” (2017) — Barring any last minute dramatics, “Yours If You Want It” will likely go down as Rascal Flatts’ final Number One. But they went out with a song that wrapped up everything fans love about the long-lasting group — big vocals, big melodies and big hearts … plus a big, bonus dose of romantic redemption.