20 Years Of Number Ones – 10 Duet Partners That Rode To The Top
There are very few people in the world that can say they’ve had a number one country hit. Some can say they got there thanks to being a guest on someone else’s single. But hey, however you get there, right? These are the folks lucky to say they’ve had a country number one thanks to being featured in a single.
Considering his legendary status as an artist, it’s strange that as a solo artist, the highest Buffett ever took a single on any chart was number 13 for his signature, Margaritaville. However, thanks to friends like Alan Jackson and Zac Brown Band, the leader of the Parrotheads has two number one country singles to his name in It’s 5’O Clock Somewhere and Knee Deep.
Lisa Hartman Black
Known more for her soap opra drama acting than her singing, Lisa joined up with her hubby, Clint Black to make beautiful music with the number one, When I Said I Do. Her sweet harmonies made you wonder why her pop albums in the 70’s and 80’s didn’t do well. She still remains the most successful soap star on the charts since Rick Springfield. Crystal Bernard and Bobby Eakes (look it up) should take note on how to have a hit country song.
Davis was a super talented lady, but would play second fiddle to her buddy Reba for most her career. She tried to have her own solo hits on the heels of the smash duet, Does He Love You, but nothing came close. It seemed she was destined to be known forever as “that woman who sang with Reba.” Little did we know 20 years later she’d be primarily known as the mother of Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott.
When he hot the pop scene as Kid Rock’s buddy and DJ, no one expected a country star to emerge from this tattoo’d, grill’d-up, Michigan boy. Then again, I don’t think anyone saw Kid Rock going country either, but Uncle Kracker has one thing Kid Rock doesn’t and that’s a number one single, teaming with Kenny Chesney for When The Sun Goes Down. He’s tried his own country stuff too, but it was the credibility Kenny’s partnership brought to him that made this song successful.
Sons Of The Desert
One of my favorite bands of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, these guys were more of an underground sensation, with minor country hits like Whatever Comes First and What I Did Right. It wasn’t until they sang backup on the smash hit for Lee Ann Womack, I Hope You Dance, that they zoomed up the charts to number one. You don’t hear them mentioned much with the song, but they are officially credited on it. In a strange twist of the hand of fate, they scored a second number one singing in the chorus of Ty Hernon’s It Must Be Love, giving them one more number one than Lee Ann Womack, who failed to score another after I Hope You Dance.
Billy Dean and Alison Krauss
Looking at these artists you might think they scored a number one on their own at some point in their careers. You’d be wrong. The only number one they ever had was singing backup on Buy Me A Rose, which incidentally was Kenny Rogers’ first trip back to the number one slot in over a decade. It was nice of the three of them to share the spotlight and the top spot on the charts in 2000.
You could put her in the one-hit-wonder category too, but what’s interesting about Cochran is that her only number one, What If I Said, was a single from her album, but included Steve Wariner on the duet. One has to wonder if she didn’t get a slight boost from the guy who had already had 7 previous number ones. Anita never got close to the top again, however she did try the duet route again in 2004, teaming with Conway Twitty, who had been dead for over 10 years.
I wish more artists would be acknowledged for their harmony work on hit singles. When I hear good harmonies, I can’t help but search to find out who it is. Unless a song is released as a legit duet, you don’t really find out who it was. In the case of Sarah Buxton, who has had marginal success as an artist, and plenty of success as a songwriter, it wasn’t until the last week of the nearly year-long run of David Nail’s Let It Rain that Buxton was officially added as a featured artist on the song. It was good timing, because it helped Sarah score her first and only number one as an artist.
He’s probably not a guy who needs to sing a number one song to feel successful in music, but McAnally got it a few years back when he sang a song he once had on the country charts in 1990, Down The Road with Kenny Chesney. McAnally’s solo version only made it to number 70. Mac has also written a ton of hits for and produced Sawyer Brown. He’s won multiple CMA’s for Musician of the Year, plus he’s a longtime member of Jimmy Buffett’s band.