It’s remarkable that Kenny Chesney’s "There Goes My Life" worked in the first place, because despite its overwhelming lyrical integrity, it was counter to what the singer was going through personally at the time of release — and at that time we were really invested in what Chesney was going through personally.

During Taste of Country’s summit to decide the Top Country Songs of the Century, one person remarked that what held this song back was that it was Chesney singing it.

“I love Kenny Chesney and I think it’s a great song,” he said, “But at the time we were really invested in Kenny Chesney’s personal life. This is 2003, October of 2003, and he had just divorced. Now he’s releasing a song where he’s a father with a baby watching her going off to college?”

However, few gave it a second thought. The lead single from When the Sun Goes Down spent over a month at No. 1 and went gold. Perhaps most importantly for Chesney — a man who is arguably the most important country artist of the century — it reinserted him as a singer with some depth. His storytelling is at his finest on this song, and the performance allowed him to do things like “Anything But Mine” and “Who You’d Be Today” later.

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.