In celebration of C&I’s April cover featuring the iconic entertainer, we look back at 10 of the greatest narrative songs she’s recorded.
While she doesn’t always pen the songs she records, Reba has a knack for selecting tunes whose lyrics tout substantial meaning, narrative, and character. They also tend to fit her voice to a T. Here are 10 of her most meaningful tracks:
“Only in My Mind” (1985) This is one single that Reba did write on her own. It helped to set a standard for the kinds of hits she’d have throughout her career. It’s a cheating tune from the point of view of a woman who’s wronged her man in more ways than she’s willing to admit.
“Fancy” (1990) While it was already a hit for its original songwriter, Bobbie Gentry, Reba injected equal parts seriousness and sass into the story of a poor young woman guided into a courtesan’s life by a desperate, dying mama.
“Is There Life Out There” (1992) Important as it is tuneful, this Susan Longacre and Rick Giles song gave Reba the chance to speak for the mothers who yearn to do more than keep a household and raise kids.
“The Greatest Man I Never Knew” (1992) Richard Leigh and Layng Martine Jr. penned this tear-jerker about a father who never quite expressed his unconditional love with words.
“And Still” (1995) Liz Hengber and Tommy Lee James wrote the lyrics about running into an ex and still feeling the pangs of love and loss, but Reba’s delivery carries the perfect emotional heft, all the way to the gut-punch final verse.
“I’m a Survivor” (2001) There’s no better example of “Reba as every woman” than this tune by Shelby Kennedy and Phillip White. It captured her so well that it became the theme to the Reba sitcom.
“He Gets That From Me” (2004) Songwriters Phillip White and Steven Dale Jones cleverly turn a familiar phrase into a mother’s meditation on missing her lost husband.
“Every Other Weekend” (2008) Reba recorded this divorce-struck Skip Ewing-Connie Harrington ballad with Kenny Chesney. It gets to the heart of what makes a family’s split so heartbreaking.
“Somebody’s Chelsea” (2011) Reba co-wrote this one with Liz Hengber and Will Robinson, about an in-flight conversation with an old man that intensifies a longing for real love.
“Just Like Them Horses” (2015) Tommy Lee James and Liz Hengber teamed again for this instantly stunning ballad, about a loved one’s final, grace-filled moments on earth. Reba recorded it with her ailing father in mind, and it was played at his funeral. Her mother stars in the video with her, which you shouldn’t watch without several tissues handy.