The Chicks' 10 best songs ever, ranked

Video the dixie chicks songs

19 June 2023, 15:21

Dixie Chicks' greatest songs
Dixie Chicks’ greatest songs. Picture: YouTube/The Chicks

The Chicks – formerly known as the Dixie Chicks – are one of the most successful country groups of all time.

The American country trio from Dallas, Texas have consisted of Natalie Maines and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer since 1995.

Maguire and Strayer (née Erwin), founded the band in 1989 with bassist Laura Lynch and Robin Lynn Macy. They performed bluegrass and country music, often busking and touring festivals and small venues for six years without major success.

After Maines had replaced Macy and Lynch as lead singer, the Dixie Chicks finally found success in 1998 with their album Wide Open Spaces.

Dixie Chicks in 1999
Dixie Chicks in 1999. Picture: Getty

Following huge country chart success over the next few years, they found themselves in hot water in 2003. Soon before the invasion of Iraq, Maines told a London audience that the Chicks did not endorse the war and were ashamed of US President George W Bush, who was also from Texas.

The remarks were met with boycotts in the US and a backlash from some fans. After a hiatus, the Chicks returned with Taking the Long Way in 2006, an album influenced by the backlash. Lead single ‘Not Ready to Make Nice’ was their biggest single yet.

They removed the ‘Dixie’ from their name in 2020, referring to negative connotations, and released their first album in 14 years, Gaslighter. In 2023, they are back again and playing at the Glastonbury Festival in the UK.

  1. You Were Mine

    This ballad was released in December 1998 as the fourth single from the album Wide Open Spaces. The song spent two weeks on top of the US Country singles chart in March 1999.

    The song was written by Dixie Chick sisters Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison in 1995. It is about their parents’ break-up and subsequent divorce.

    The song is a heartbreakingly honest depiction of how it feels to lose love to someone else. The narrator is struggling to let go of her former partner, even though he has moved on to a new relationship with someone who seems to have everything she could offer.

  2. Long Time Gone

    This bluegrass track was written by Darrell Scott, and was the lead single from their sixth studio album Home.

    The song is narrated by a person who left her family and hometown long ago to pursue a music career in Nashville. She reflects on how her father’s tobacco farm is now abandoned, her siblings have moved away for work, and her mother still cooks too much food for Sunday dinner.

  3. Travelin’ Soldier

    This ballad was written by Bruce Robison and released in 2002 as the lead single from their album Home.

    The song tells the story of a soldier who meets a girl at a diner before he is deployed to fight in the Vietnam War. The two exchange letters while he is away, but he is killed in action before they can reunite.

    It reached number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart and was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

  4. There’s Your Trouble

    This track was written by Mark Selby and Tia Sillers, and was the second single from Wide Open Spaces. It peaked at number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

    In 1999, the Chicks were awarded a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for their performance of ‘There’s Your Trouble’.

  5. Goodbye Earl

    ‘Goodbye for Earl’ was written by Dennis Linde and first recorded by the band Sons of the Desert for an unreleased album in the late 1990s.

    The song gained fame when the Chicks then recorded it for their fifth studio album, Fly.

    The song tells the story of a woman who kills her abusive husband, Earl, with the help of her friend. It caused controversy when the Chicks performed it on their tour in 2000. The group was criticized for glorifying murder.

    The music video features actor Dennis Franz as Earl and Jane Krakowski as Wanda.

  6. I Can Love You Better

    Written by Pamela Brown Hayes and Kostas, this was their major label debut single and the first from their album Wide Open Spaces. It was the first hit of the Natalie Maines era of the group.

    The song is about a woman who is trying to convince a man that she can love him better than his current girlfriend. She tells him that she can be his “dream come true” and that he will never find anyone who loves him more than she does.

    ‘I Can Love You Better’ peaked at number 7 on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

  7. Landslide

    ‘Landslide’ was originally by Fleetwood Mac, and was written by Stevie Nicks in 1975.

    The Dixie Chicks covered the song in 2002 for their album Home. Their version of the song was released as a single in 2003 and reached number two on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart.

    Natalie Maines said she was attracted to the song because she was then the same age that Stevie Nicks was when she first performed it. The band performed the song with Stevie at VH1 Divas Las Vegas in 2002.

  8. Wide Open Spaces

    Written by Susan Gibson, this was the title track of the Chicks’ major label debut album, in 1998.

    The song hit number one on the US Country singles chart, and spent four weeks there in November 1998.

    Gibson wrote the song’s lyrics in 1993, on her first visit back home after leaving for forestry school at the University of Montana. She left the notebook containing the lyrics at home by mistake when she returned to school. Her mother found it and included it in a care package, inspiring Gibson to complete a song, using the themes of leaving home.

    The youthful feeling of independence in the song’s lyrics helped with the group’s image at the time, and led to it becoming one of their signature songs.

  9. Cowboy Take Me Away

    This was written by Martie Maguire and Marcus Hummon, and released in November 1999 as the second single from their album Fly.

    The song’s title is derived from a famous slogan used in commercials for Calgon bath and beauty products.

    The song reached number one on the US Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in February 2000.

    Martie Maguire wrote the song about her sister and bandmate Emily Robison’s boyfriend, Charlie. She later said:”[Emily] had been dating a bunch of guys I didn’t approve of, and then she met Charlie and I sort of pictured him whisking her off into the sunset.”

  10. Not Ready to Make Nice

    This country anthem was written by the trio alongside Semisonic’s Dan Wilson, who would later go on to write ‘Someone Like You’ with Adele.

    It was released in 2006 as the first single from their seventh studio album Taking the Long Way.

    The song was written as a defiant response to the controversy over remarks that their lead singer Natalie Maines made during the run-up to the Iraq War.

    The song ended up winning four Grammy Awards in 2007, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year. It also peaked at number four on the main US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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