10 Songs That Should Have Been Hits in 2015
There's only so much room on the radio, which means often, great songs get squeezed. It happens to country newcomers, seasoned veterans and legends — for a second straight year Trisha Yearwood makes this list of 10 Songs That Should Have Been Hits! The Band Perry, Alan Jackson and Pat Green are three others who find themselves wondering what didn't go right in 2015.
In many cases, a new artist just couldn't make the right impression with decision makers at radio. It's true there are a million ways to get your song heard, but "hits" are usually defined by their performance on the Billboard Airplay chart, or at he very least sales data. None of these songs cracked the Top 20, and most couldn't crack the Top 40.
Which songs do you wish received more recognition in 2015? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. CMA Award winner Chris Stapleton makes our 2015 list, as does first-timer Mo Pitney and critical darling Ashley Monroe.
The title track of Stapleton's CMA Award-winning album passed over radio like a midnight breeze when it was released in April. It didn't crack the charts, and few outside of Music Row were praising the song's worth. In retrospect it's difficult to believe this vocal performance went unnoticed. Shame on anyone who called the 37-year-old "too traditional."
Drake White is another artist who makes this list for a second time. His debut single "The Simple Life" also failed to catch on in 2013, and a change in label teams did little to help. That said, the Alabama native has a voice that's as soulful as Stapleton's. On this song, he holds nothing back.
Often labels that sign successful independent artists are faced with a vexing problem: release the artist's hot song to radio, or come out with something new? Sony released Logan Mize's "Can't Get Away From a Good Time" to radio months after it'd come out through digital outlets, and there was never any buzz behind it. It's the sort of song that would have fit summer well, however.
Yearwood's powerful, personal ballad faced obstacles upon release. Sadly, female artists — especially those over 50 — are struggling to find room on the radio. It didn't help that she made the song unavailable for streaming on sites like Spotify and YouTube. Any chance of "I Remember You" spreading organically was snuffed at both ends.
Still, it's a performance that should have caught on through more traditional means. The singer's sister backs her up as she sings a song meant for her mother.
Decades ago it was common for a hot country act to cover a legend and watch the performance race up radio airplay charts. That's just not the case any longer, as the Band Perry found out this spring. Their version of "Gentle on My Mind" stayed true to Glen Campbell's original while bringing a new audience along for a poetic ride.
Veterans like Tracy Lawrence and Joe Nichols praise newcomer Mo Pitney, but his debut didn't become the hit he'd hoped for. "Country" introduces Pitney as a pure country crooner with his head and heart in the right place. It's an honest, patient song that peaked just inside the Top 40.
Part of the reason Alan Jackson's most recent singles have struggled to become hits is because he doesn't do any promotional work. TV or radio appearances are rare for the veteran, and he's earned that right. Still, it hurts when great country songs like "Jim and Jack and Hank" are passed over for lesser tracks from less talented singers.
Pat Green is back to being an independent artist, which means it's an uphill climb if he hopes to get songs like "While I Was Away" to the top of the charts. Carrie Underwood heard the moving ballad about a father's love for his kids and was brought to tears. You will be, too.
Ashley Monroe had been known for somber heartbreak songs prior to releasing a burst of daylight called "On to Something Good" in 2015. This song is infectious, well-written and beautifully performed. Much like "Like a Rose," it didn't make a big impact. She's now getting some recognition with her album The Blade, as it's been nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award.
It's not clear why this song wasn't a breakthrough hit for Mickey Guyton. It stormed onto the charts with a record number of adds (radio station commitments) for a debut single. Then it stalled, with the singer and her team laboring to get it into the Top 40 and beyond. Guyton's story is personal, and her performance is other-worldly. One wonders if she wasn't a causality of the struggles all women are having to be heard in country music.