Dixie Chicks Complete Discography: The Hits (and Misses)
Jump to: Wide Open Spaces - Tribute To Tradition - Deryl Dodd - Grammy - Runaway Bride - Ride With Bob - Jim Lauderdale
This page details the releases and appearances by the Dixie Chicks after they hit the big time. The hits were big -- five top 10 hits from Wide Open Spaces alone, three of which spent a total of 8 weeks at #1. The misses? Well, the bland cover of Stand By Your Man on the ill-fated compilation Tribute To Tradition was nothing to write home about.
Other sections of the Dixie Chicks Complete Discography:
- The Indie Releases
From Danger in the Air through Shouldn't A Told You That
- The Hits (and Misses) Page 2
The Instant double-platinum #1 album Fly, plus other collaborations, collections, and rumors
Dixie Chicks - "Wide Open Spaces" (January 1998)
What can be said about this CD that hasn't already been said? The rest of my reviews were written a year before Wide Open Spaces was released, because it seemed nobody was ever going to notice the Chicks. Now, things are different... the CD hit #1 in less than a year (beating Shania and Garth). It reached Quadruple Platinum status after 52 weeks and didn't look back -- it had sold 6 million copies by the time Tonight, The Heartache's On Me became the album's fifth top 10 single in June 1999.
Singles (in order of release)
- Once You've Loved Somebody (9/1997?)
Before Sony put the first "official" single into wide release, they sent "white label" copies of Once You've Loved Somebody and I Can Love You Better out to industry insiders for review. They were hedging their bets with one slow song and one fast song, and even went as far as to package the album with a sticker noting both expected singles. But the unexpected success of I Can Love You Better changed their plans, and Once You've Loved Somebody may not be released as a single before the new album comes out.
- I Can Love You Better (10/17/1997)
The first retail single was released before the album was finalized -- in fact, on the back it says "Available on the upcoming Monument cassette/CD: 68195". They hadn't even decided on the name for the album! To Sony's surprise, the catchy country dance tune reached #6 on the Billboard charts in March 1998, and the accompanying video hit #1 on the CMT charts (as did all four videos the Chicks made). The album version of the song is about 50 seconds longer than the radio/single version.
The B-side (a term that no longer applies in these days of CD Singles) was the "fun" final track on the album, Bonnie Raitt's Give It Up Or Let Me Go. Interestingly, the song is listed as only 4:00 long, but actually runs almost 5 minutes. Also, the version on the single doesn't include Natalie's "Whoop!" before the final verse.
- There's Your Trouble (3/1998)
The followup smash hit spent two weeks at #1, and helped cement the Chicks' victories at the CMA awards (where they performed the song before scoring the Horizon Award). This time, of course, Wide Open Spaces was credited on the back.
The second track was again Give It Up Or Let Me Go, this time with the correct run time listed. Natalie's "Whoop!" was added back in as well.
- Wide Open Spaces (8/1998)
The title track delivers a unique Texas sound reminicent of the first three releases. Yet it resonates powerfully with listeners, especially the group's new demographic (girls age 12-15). It hit the top 20 in a hurry... it cruised to #3 (on 10/31/98)... and it gave the Chicks (and songwriter Susan Gibson of Amarillo's The Groobees) an early Christmas present by staying at #1 for the entire month of November -- an amazing 4-week trip at the top.
This time, the second track was the album version of I Can Love You Better. What other choice would they have? You don't put a future top 10 hit as the B-side (unless you're Elton John), and the unexpected successes showed that there was no way for the label to predict that any track (except for the last one) wouldn't be a hit.
Blast From The Past: Would you believe it? Wide Open Spaces was also released as a 45rpm vinyl single! You can still buy it -- a sure-fire collectors item, especially if you can get it autographed -- at Yesterday And Today Records in Rockville, Maryland. Oh yeah... the B-side cut is There's Your Trouble. Unfortunately, neither they nor anyone else has a copy of the Chicks' first 45rpm vinyl release, Home On The Radar Range.
- You Were Mine (12/1998)
The most emotionally touching song on the disc... and probably the hardest for the Dixie Chicks' Nashville management to accept. It's a tune written by the Erwin sisters about their own family -- see the People Magazine article for details. This was the first single to be released as an album cut, but that didn't slow it down. It spent the first two weeks of March 1999 at #1, then spent two more weeks at #2.
- Tonight, The Heartache's On Me (3/1999)
In late March, the consensus on the Dixie Chicks fan discussion list was that the next release would be Let 'Er Rip, a return to the rockin' sound of There's Your Trouble and I Can Love You Better. But one Friday, several list members (including myself) heard the old-fashioned honky-tonk ballad Tonight, The Heartache's On Me, and I probably wasn't the only one to let out a Texas-sized holler. This time, not only did Sony not release a retail single (but see below), they didn't even release a video of the track! Not that they needed to... by early June, the track had already hit the Billboard Top 10.
The success of this release -- and its release itself -- surprised even veteran country DJs. Mike Hays added it to the playlist at bluegrass-heavy online station TwangCast.com, noting that it was one of the cuts that would "never see radio." What a pleasant surprise!
Blast From The Past: Lightning strikes again! Yesterday And Today Records reports that Heartache, like Wide Open Spaces, was also released on 45rpm vinyl. This time, the B side is Give It Up Or Let Me Go, the song Natalie said was recorded in a session featuring free-flowing wine and an out-of-tune dobro. Hey, it sounds good to me!
- Other Tracks
In January 1999, with You Were Mine almost assured of reaching the top 10, the Chicks were reported to have started taping the video for Let 'Er Rip. According to a poster on the (New) Dixie Chicks Fans Discussion List, a Houston DJ said "I saw them when I was in Nashville, [and] they were getting ready to make a video for 'Let Er Rip.' They use shots from night, day, indoor, and outdoor concerts." (thanks to "The Spaz" for the scoop!)
So what happened? There's no way to know, but releasing a honky-tonk tune like Heartache rather than a rocker like Let 'Er Rip may show that Sony now understands that the Dixie Chicks' appeal extends beyond the teen female demographic... and maybe, just maybe, Sony realizes that even teenage girls like to hear a good old-fashioned country song.
Although it appears that Let 'Er Rip would never be a "release to radio" single, radio stations like Dallas' The Wolf had been playing it in between "released" singles since summer 1998. It even got enough action to push it into the mid-60s on the Billboard charts in June 1999. But all bets were off when radio got hold of Ready To Run, the first single from the Runaway Bride soundtrack, on June 22.
At one point, there was a remote possibility that I'll Be There For You, the song the Chicks dedicate in concert to St. Jude's hospitals for children, would make at least a video appearance. A poster to the Dixie Chicks discussion list reported hearing of a concert in early 1999 that would be taped for video, but there's been no further word on the concert or any video from it.
Various Artists - "Tribute to Tradition" (1998)
The Dixie Chicks supplied the lead track to this collection of covers of classic Country and Western songs. Sony is bringing nearly every artist in their stable to this project, which includes remakes of songs like Merle Haggard's Mama Tried (sung by Randy Travis), Charlie Rich's Behind Closed Doors (by Joe Diffie), and the recently departed Tammy Wynette's 'Til I Can Make It On My Own (by Martina McBride).
Sony has given the Chicks another Tammy Wynette standard, Stand By Your Man. Since the album is dedicated to Ms. Wynette's memory -- and Sony describes this as "Tammy's signature song" -- it was logical to expect that the track might get some airplay. But despite a Herculean marketing effort, including special radio shows, a special on TNN, and other promotions, none of the cuts ever hit. Some recieved limited play on stations like Dallas' 99.5 The Wolf that were willing to take a chance on something outside the mainstream.
The Chicks' track suffered from an additional problem... it just didn't represent their best work. For some inexplicable reason, the producers led off the song with some sort of bass line that may have been supposed to echo the original -- but it came out sounding like someone dropping an old-style phonograph needle too hard. Why didn't they let Martie give it a fiddle intro, and add some banjo to it as well? Why they used such a bland intro to the lead song on the disc is even more mind-boggling.
And as if that weren't enough, rival label Elektra released Tammy Wynette... Remembered at nearly the same time, with 12 covers of Ms. Wynette's classics. This disc also starts out with Stand By Your Man... but this time, it's covered by another man, Elton John. Dallas radio stations looked, blinked, and in the end simply played the original Tammy Wynette version of the song! This may have been good news for Sony, who released two new discs of original material (including five previously unlreleased recordings) yet later in 1998.
Deryl Dodd (self-titled) (1998)
According to the liner notes (reported on the (New) Dixie Chicks Fans Discussion List), Dixie Chicks fiddler Martie Erwin shared fiddlin' duties on this CD with a fellow named Glen Duncan. Duncan got to play on all but one track, but Martie added her special touch to Somewhere Down The Road, the last tune on the disc. Unfortunately, the last track of a release isn't usually a "radio song," so you'll have to buy the CD to hear it.
Note that the CD includes the single A Bitter End, but not the cover of Sundown that you may have heard on some of the more free-format radio stations (like Dallas' 99.5 The Wolf). Sundown wasn't supposed to be released, but somebody played it for some radio execs, and someone got a copy, and so on, and so on...
Deryl Dodd is a Dallas-based artist who has been around for a while, and this is his second release on the Sony label. His first release, One Ride In Vegas, included the chart hit That's How I Got To Memphis.
Various Artists - "1999 Grammy Nominees (Mainstream)" (February 1999)
A nice addition for your complete Dixie Chicks collection, this disc includes Wide Open Spaces and Shania Twain's You're Still The One as the Country representatives. Also of note is Doo Wop (That Thing) by Lauryn Hill, who beat out the Chicks in the "Best New Artist" category at the 1999 Grammys. Of course, the Chicks won in every other category for which they'd been nominated!
Various Artists - "Runaway Bride (Soundtrack)" (July 1999)
Dixie Chicks fans are buzzing about the first big release since the huge success of Wide Open Spaces! The lead track on the Runaway Bride soundtrack is Ready To Run, a Dixie Chicks song that bridges the gap between the "Old Chicks" sound and the "New Chicks" sound. And the second track is the Chicks' cover of Diana Ross and The Supremes' number one hit, You Can't Hurry Love. (Late Note: When the soundtrack was released, the order of tracks had changed to reflect their use in the movie. Ready To Run is track 2, and You Can't Hurry Love is track 9.)
Both Dixie Chicks tracks were featured prominently in the movie itself. Ready To Run played at full volume in an important early scene, after Maggie (Julia Roberts) reads the article about her marital escapes by Ike (Richard Gere). The chorus plays as Maggie takes out her frustrations on a large punching bag.
The Chicks' amazing rendition of You Can't Hurry Love also gets a starring role in the film, after the final act. The film ends with a sort of "follow-up" montage of the characters' reactions to the final scenes, with no audio except the Dixie Chicks. This sequence lasts nearly the entire length of the song.
And the Dixie Chicks were in the movie! Well, sort of. The closing credits noted that the Wide Open Spaces video was used courtesy of Sony... which means that on some TV, somewhere in the background, the video of the Chicks' biggest hit to date was playing. I missed it! But someone on Nici's list clued me in: it was playing on the TV at the bar where Richard Gere talks to one of Julia Roberts' previous victims.
Ready To Run turned out to be the first track from the Chicks' fifth release, Fly. See the Singles section for Fly for details on the track's June 1999 release. After Ready To Run hit country radio, the release date for the soundtrack was changed to a week later. This isn't unusual -- release dates slip all the time -- but is it possible that the unexpected success of the Chicks' effort spurred some sort of change? Natalie's voice sounded rather shrill in early radio plays of the song, but it may have been toned down before the soundtrack was released (see the track-by-track review for possible confirmation of this theory).
In an August 1999 interview, Emily Erwin Robison discussed the Chicks' cover of You Can't Hurry Love:
[T]he Runaway Bride soundtrack... included the Chicks' cover of the pop-soul classic "You Can't Hurry Love." However, don't think that the Dixie Chicks are abandoning their bluegrass-influenced country music, which sparked sales of over six million copies of their label debut, 1998's Wide Open Spaces.
"I think people realize that the future of the Dixie Chicks is not to redo old Supremes songs," [says] Dixie Chicks guitarist and banjo player Emily Robison...
"Some people think that we wrote it for the movie, hence it might be a bit more pop-ish, but it wasn't that at all," continues Robison, "We recorded that in October '98, before we went in the studio in January to do the album."
For more info on the movie, including still pictures and full-screen wallpaper, see the Runaway Bride web site at runawaybride.com. More details on the soundtrack are available at the Runaway Bride Soundtrack site: runawaybride-st.com.
Asleep At The Wheel - "Ride With Bob" (August 1999)
News Flash: Dallas' top-rated country station, KSCS 96.3, got an advance copy... and they played Roly Poly on the July 25 edition of the "Hill Country Café" show. It was incredible! Natalie combined the playful Bob Wills lyrics, the amazing instrumentals of the Dixie Chicks, the sass and spunk of Give It Up Or Let Me Go, and the memory of Laura Lynch's straight Western rendition to create an instant classic. One of the best parts: the dual fiddles of Martie Seidel and the Wheel's fiddler. Is it any wonder Martie is in such demand?
And it gets better... KSCS has added the song to their rotation! To request it, visit the Dixie Chicks' Hometown Country Radio page and call the station's request line. If you're not in Dallas, call your local station and request it!
The buzz is starting to build about this collaboration between Texas' most famous unknown artists, Asleep at the Wheel, and some of the top names in Country Music in honor of the father of country, Bob Wills. Ride With Bob, an album described by Wheel on their web site (asleepatthewheel.com) as a "tribute to our hero," is going to really pack 'em in, with big-name artists like Reba McEntire singing Right or Wrong, Tim McGraw peforming Milk Cow Blues, Lee Ann Womack playing Heart To Heart Talk and even an instrumental featuring Steve Wariner and Vince Gill.
But the cut everyone's going to be talking about (IMHO) is the Dixie Chicks' cover of Roly Poly. Described by Indanapolis DJ Vicki Cub as her "all-time favorite" in 1997 (see the Stories page), this is one of those songs that takes the Chicks back to their traditional Western and Bluegrass roots. It was one of their old standbys when they were touring high school cafeterias and arts festivals back before they hit #1 -- back before Natalie Maines joined the group in 1995. Pairing the Chicks' vocals and strings with Asleep At The Wheel's Texas style, then throwing in a dash of Bob Wills is going to make for one hot track.
Texas Monthly got an advance copy of the disc, and here's what they said:
[Asleep at the Wheel's leader Ray] Benson coaxes the best out of contemporary Nashville stars while demonstrating he was cut from the same cloth as Bob himself. ...Dixie Chick Natalie Maines infuses her vocal on "Roly Poly" with so much sass and spunk one actually feels hope for the future of country music.
Jim Lauderdale - "Onward Through It All" (August 1999)
Jim Lauderdale wrote songs on the pre-Sony Dixie Chicks releases, and now Emily Erwin Robison is returning the favor with a track on this new collection. As reported by Country Cool (and passed on by Nici on her mailing list):
Onward Through It All features 16 new Lauderdale collaborations with such renowned songwriters as Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter ("Uncle John's Band," "Friend Of The Devil"), Kim Richey (Trisha Yearwood's "Believe Me, Baby I Lied "), Frank Dycus (George Jones' "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair") and Gary Nicholson (Patty Loveless' "Trouble With The Truth"). Emily Erwin of Dixie Chicks lent her songwriting talents to the album, co-writing "Please Be San Antone".
For More Information...
For continuing coverage of the Dixie Chicks' smash-hit successes (and occasional flops) after the release of Fly, their second Sony disc, see the Dixie Chicks Complete Discography: The Hits (and Misses) Part 2. You'll also find out where to find the absolute latest info about what the Chicks are doing these days.
Last update: 04/12/2000