2002: Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)
> Songwriter(s): Alan Jackson
> Performer / recording artist: Alan Jackson
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 20 weeks between Nov. 24, 2001 and April 6, 2002
Alan Jackson’s second appearance as a winning songwriter in the CMA awards (he co-wrote 1994’s Song of the Year “Chattahoochee”) came with this poignant ballad written following the Sept. 11 attacks, which he penned alone. It reached No. 1 on the Billboard country charts and placed 28 on the Hot 100 for 2001-2002.
2003: Three Wooden Crosses
> Songwriter(s): Doug Johnson, Kim Williams
> Performer / recording artist: Randy Travis
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 28 weeks between Jan. 18, 2003 and July 26, 2003
From the late ’70s through the mid-’90s, Randy Travis was one of the hottest acts in country music, charting more than 50 Billboard country singles, 16 of which reached No. 1. In 1997, he began recording Christian-oriented material, and this inspirational ballad was his last No. 1 country hit. Songwriter Kim Williams had previously written such country hits as “If the Devil Danced (in Empty Pockets)” for Joe Diffie and “Ain’t Goin’ Down (Til the Sun Comes Up)” for Garth Brooks. His writing partner, Doug Johnson, is a noted Nashville record producer and songwriter.
2004: Live Like You Were Dying
> Songwriter(s): Craig Wiseman, Tim Nichols
> Performer / recording artist: Tim McGraw
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 21 weeks between June 5, 2004 and Oct. 23, 2004
Craig Wiseman wrote songs for Roy Orbison, Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, and other country stars before working with Tim Nichols (Keith Whitley’s “I’m Over You,” Lee Ann Womack’s “I’ll Think of a Reason Later,” etc.) on this megahit. Its interpretation by Tim McGraw won not only the CMAs for Song of the Year and Single of the Year, but also the 2004 Grammy for Best Country Song, the 2005 ACM Song and Single of the Year, and both the ASCAP and the BMI Country Song of the Year nod for 2005. Wiseman, Nichols, and McGraw also spun several books off the song.
2005: Whiskey Lullaby
> Songwriter(s): Bill Anderson, Jon Randall
> Performer / recording artist: Brad Paisley Featuring Alison Krauss
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 24 weeks between April 10, 2004 and Sep. 18, 2004
Veteran singer-songwriter Bill Anderson and his younger counterpart Jon Randall composed this cautionary tale about alcohol and romance, said to have been inspired by Randall’s own experiences. Brad Paisley heard the song and wanted to record it with either Dolly Parton or Alison Krauss. It turned out to be the latter, and the song reached the third slot on the Billboard country charts and No. 41 for 2004 on the Hot 100.
> Songwriter(s): Craig Wiseman, Ronnie Dunn
> Performer / recording artist: Brooks & Dunn
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 30 weeks between Oct. 22, 2005 and May 13, 2006
Between 1991 and 2011, Ronnie Dunn was part of one of Nashville’s biggest acts, Brooks & Dunn (“She Used to be Mine,” “Little Miss Honky Tonk,” etc.) with singing partner Kix Brooks. Accomplished songwriter Craig Wiseman, whose collaborative effort for Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying,” won Song of the Year in 2004 was his co-writer for this effort.