11 Number One Country Hits That Were An Artist’s Debut Single

(Left) Blake Shelton / YouTube/(Center) Trisha Yearwood / YouTube/(Right) Toby Keith / YouTube

These 11 Country Stars Scored A Chart-Topping Hit With The First Singles They Released

Every country artist dreams of earning a #1 song. It’s a dream that sometimes takes years to come true.

Other times, a newcomer’s debut single will land at the coveted #1 spot on the chart. When this happens, it often sends them into instant superstardom.

Toby Keith's debut single, "Should've Been a Cowboy," was also his first #1 hit
Toby Keith’s debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” was also his first #1 hit. Photo Credit: Toby Keith / YouTube

Many of country music’s biggest stars found success right from the get-go. So many, that it would take ages to name them all in a list.

Instead, we’ve put together this compilation of 11 HUGE #1 country hits that were also an artist’s debut single. Take a walk down memory lane with us by listening to the songs below.

“Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson

Gretchen Wilson came on to the scene with a firecracker of a song called “Redneck Woman.” The feisty tune has served as an anthem for country girls around the world since it was released in 2004.

“Redneck Woman” also conquered the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it peaked at the 22nd position.

Since releasing “Redneck Woman,” Wilson has earned four Top 10 hits, including songs such as “Here for the Party” and “All Jacked Up.”

“Hurricane” by Luke Combs

Luke Combs doesn’t even know what it’s like to have a song not go to #1 on the charts. He’s released 18 singles since his debut in 2016, and all of them have hit #1 on at least one of the two country charts.

“Hurricane” was the first of those singles. Released in 2016, the song stormed to the top of the U.S. Country Airplay chart. It also snagged the 31st position on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

Combs has kept the momentum going ever since, and shows no signs of slowing down!

“She’s in Love with the Boy” by Trisha Yearwood

Trisha Yearwood released her debut single “She’s in Love with the Boy” in 1991. Fans fell head over heels for the song, and sent it to the #1 spot on the country chart in both the U.S. and Canada.

The song set the foundation for an extremely successful career. Yearwood has since earned four additional #1 songs and countless Top 10 hits.

“Meet in the Middle” by Diamond Rio

Diamond Rio’s debut single may be titled “Meet in the Middle,” but the song climbed WAY above the middle spots on the country chart.

“Meet in the Middle” hit #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart following its release in 1991. It was also a #1 country song in Canada.

Diamond Rio netted another #1 (“How Your Love Makes Me Feel”) in 1997. They also have numerous Top 10 hits to their name, such as “Norma Jean Riley” and “Love a Little Stronger.”

The group was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1998, just seven years after they made their debut with “Meet in the Middle”

“There Is No Arizona” by Jamie O’Neal

Released in 2000, “There is No Arizona” was Jamie O’Neal’s first single and her first #1 hit. In addition to being a #1 country track, the song crossed over to the 40th position on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 chart.

O’Neal’s next single, “When I Think About Angels,” also hit #1. In 2005, she released the emotional “Somebody’s Hero,” which was a Top 10 hit. Today, it’s still known as one of the quintessential country songs about mothers and daughters.

All of that success connects back to “There Is No Arizona” and its rise to #1!

“Achy Breaky Heart” by Billy Ray Cyrus

Talk about a debut!

Billy Ray Cyrus released his first single “Achy Breaky Heart” in 1992 and it was an instant smash. The song took off like wildfire!

“Achy Breaky Heart” was so huge, it was a #1 country song and a #4 hit on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. It also became the first country single to be certified Platinum since Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton’s “Islands in the Stream” earned the certification in 1983.

In other words, “Achy Breaky Heart” was a megahit!

“Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band came on to the scene in 2008 with “Chicken Fried.” The song hit #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart while also making the jump to the 20th position on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

“Chicken Fried” has since been certified six times Platinum by the RIAA. 

To top it all off, Zac Brown Band now has 12 other #1 singles under their belt. They’re one of the most successful country groups of all time, and “Chicken Fried” helped them earn that distinction!

“Brand New Man” by Brooks & Dunn

“Brand New Man” was the first release from country duo Brooks & Dunn, comprised of members Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn. The song, which came out in 1991, turned them into immediate superstars when it became a #1 country hit in the U.S. and Canada.

Brooks & Dunn have since earned a total of 20 #1 singles over the course of their career. They are also the most-awarded duo in CMA Award history, with a total of 14 wins in the Vocal Duo of the Year category.

Kix and Ronnie’s hard work was recognized on the highest level when they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2019. “Brand New Man” was the first of many songs that helped cement their place in the Hall!

“Wild One” by Faith Hill

Faith Hill’s debut single, “Wild One,” was released in 1993. It was a #1 country hit in both the U.S. and Canada.

“Wild One” kicked off an incredible career for Hill, which has involved a fair share of crossover success. She has earned several other #1 songs over the years, including “This Kiss” and “Breathe.”

Hill has also won five Grammy Awards and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was all possible thanks to “Wild One!”

“Should’ve Been a Cowboy” by Toby Keith

Toby Keith had everybody singing that they “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” after he released his debut single in 1993. The song galloped to the #1 spot on the country charts in both the U.S. and Canada, and also crossed over to the 93rd spot on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.

Keith eventually earned a total of 19 additional #1 hits, and 22 of his other singles landed within the Top 10. 

Should’ve Been a Cowboy” will always be known as one of Keith’s signature songs. And rightfully so, since it put him on the map!

“Austin” by Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton‘s debut single, “Austin,” just celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2021. 

On top of hitting #1 on the country chart, “Austin” claimed the 18th position on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. It made Shelton an overnight sensation, and he’s enjoyed a fruitful career ever since.

Today, Shelton has 28 number one singles to his name. But he will always hold a special place in his heart for the song that started it all for him.

Shelton celebrated the 20th anniversary of “Austin” by performing it during the 2021 ACM Awards. Even after all this time, Shelton says he still feels “lucky” to have the song in his life.

We too, feel “lucky” to live in a world where “Austin” and all of these other songs exist!