2007: Give It Away
> Songwriter(s): Bill Anderson, Jamey Johnson, Buddy Cannon
> Performer / recording artist: George Strait
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 20 weeks between July 8, 2006 and Nov. 18, 2006
The triple-threat team of country music — veteran Bill Anderson, outlaw country singer-songwriter Jamey Johnson (“The Dollar,” “In Color”), and songwriter and record producer Buddy Cannon (particularly associated with Kenny Chesney) — got together to pen this song for George Strait. It became his 41st No. 1 single on the Billboard country charts.
> Songwriter(s): Jennifer Nettles
> Performer / recording artist: Sugarland
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 20 weeks between Sep. 29, 2007 and Feb. 9, 2008
One-half of the hit country duo Sugarland, Jennifer Nettles wrote this “other woman” song, said to have been inspired by Reba McEntire’s 1986 single “Whoever’s in New England.” Marking Nettles’s first solo writing credit for the duo (Kristian Bush is the other member), it reached No. 2 on the Billboard country charts.
2009: In Color
> Songwriter(s): Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller, James Otto
> Performer / recording artist: Jamey Johnson
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 39 weeks between April 26, 2008 and Jan. 17, 2009
Jamey Johnson, whose co-writing job on George Strait’s “Give It Away” had won him Song of the Year in 2007, was both co-writer and performer in this case. His collaborators were Lee Thomas Miller (who shared writing credit for “Whiskey and You” with its performer, Chris Stapleton) and singer-songwriter James Otto. Otto was a member of MuzikMafia, an informal group of musicians, including Big Kenny and John Rich of Bit & Rich, who oppose the over-commercialization of country music and believe it should be musically and culturally inclusive.
2010: The House That Built Me
> Songwriter(s): Tom Douglas, Allen Shamblin
> Performer / recording artist: Miranda Lambert
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 20 weeks between March 13, 2010 and July 24, 2010
Tom Douglas is known for writing such Tim McGraw hits as “Grown Men Don’t Cry,” “Let It Go,” and “My Little Girl.” He was McGraw’s co-author on a 2008 children’s book based on the last of those. Allen Shamblin’s many credits include the Bonnie Raitt classic “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” named by Mojo magazine as the eighth greatest song of all time. Shamblin is said to have based “The House That Built Me” on the feelings evoked by his periodic returns to his old family home in Texas. Blake Shelton is said to have wanted to record the song, but Miranda Lambert beat him to it.
2011: If I Die Young
> Songwriter(s): Kimberly Perry
> Performer / recording artist: The Band Perry
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 30 weeks between June 5, 2010 and Dec. 25, 2010
Kimberly Perry and her brothers, Neil and Reid, formed The Band Perry in 2005. Kimberly wrote this heart-tugger for the group’s self-titled debut album, and it became their second single — reaching No. 1 on the Billboard country charts.