No. 15: Dixie Chicks, ‘Goodbye Earl’ – Top Country Songs of the Century
The Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl" is the one of most influential songs of the 21st century. The trio's hit knotted two eras of country revenge together. One could fairly wonder if we didn't have this early '00s song (and music video), would Miranda Lambert's breakthrough ever have happened?
No, Natalie Maines and company were not the first to sing about violent revenge on an abuser, but in an era of high-profile female artists gaining recognition for their pop-savvy sound, the Chicks dug deep into country tradition to deliver this bluegrass-inspired salvo.
"'Goodbye Earl' is just that perfect blend of everything that we love," the Band Perry's Kimberly Perry says in paying tribute to this song. "A little bit of a dark lyric, let's be honest ..."
"Attitude," adds her brother Neil before Reid pipes in with: "Revenge! And the Dixie Chicks, who I would say, crazy comments aside, are still one of my favorite bands to come out of country music."
While only a Top 20 radio hit, "Goodbye Earl" is forever remembered for a music video that starred actor Dennis Franz. It's a song that shook up the country climate. In many ways, it's the trio's signature song — one that despite their unofficial banning from country radio, most still identify them with years later.
You can love or hate their political commentary, but it's impossible to ignore the influence the Dixie Chicks had on a generation of country musicians. They were an extremely important act, and this is their most important song.
About this list: Taste of Country’s Top Country Songs of the Century were decided by a panel of country music experts and fans using sales and chart data, a song’s social and musical impact and lyrical integrity. Select artists were also surveyed. You’ll hear from several throughout the list.
The Band Perry Discuss the Dixie Chicks' "Goodbye Earl"