Friday Five: Reba

Ken Morton, Jr. | March 28th, 2014

On this date in 1955, a fiery little red-headed baby named Reba Nell McEntire was born . Since then, the Oklahoman has won multiple awards, appeared in movies, and starred on Broadway as well as a couple of TV sitcoms. She is the epitome of a country icon, entering the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2011. Along the way, she’s (unofficially) lost her last name, becoming simply… Reba.  Today, we count down five of our favorite tunes recorded by this country queen. What are yours?

5. “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia”

Cher was originally offered the song, Tanya Tucker recorded a version of it in 1981, and Vicki Lawrence had a Number One hit with it in 1973, but it’s Reba’s definitive version that has always struck this listener.

 

4. “Fancy”

The next entry on the list just happens to be another cover. Bobbie Gentry originally released this in 1969, Lynn Anderson in 1971, and Reba two decades later.

 

3. “If I Had Only Known”

There are certainly more well-known Reba songs, but perhaps none as deeply personal as this one from For My Broken Heart, dedicated to the eight bandmates who were killed in a tragic plane crash in 1991.

 

2. “Whoever’s in New England”

Reba had already released ten albums by the time this single topped the charts in 1986. It also won McEntire a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

 

1. “The Heart Won’t Lie”

Because the only thing better than a Reba McEntire song is a Reba McEntire and Vince Gill song.

  1. Juli Thanki
    March 28, 2014 at 9:04 am

    Good list, Ken. Narrowing down Reba’s squillionty excellent songs to five is no easy task.

    My favorite has always been “One Promise Too Late.” It is the first Reba song I remember hearing and it still floors me all these years later.

  2. Dave D.
    March 28, 2014 at 9:44 am

    Juli beat me to the punch with “One Promise Too Late.” “I’m Not That Lonely Yet” and “You’re the First Time I’ve Thought About Leaving” would be near the top of my list, as well.

  3. Leeann Ward
    March 28, 2014 at 10:19 am

    I love the Heart Wont Lie, but I almost think that I enjoy Oklahoma Swing more these days. It’s silly, but maybe less schmaltzy than The Heart Won’t Lie as far as staying power has gone for me. I think one of my favorite Reba songs is Whoever’s in New England.

  4. Grace
    March 28, 2014 at 1:49 pm

    It’s by no means her best, but I absolutely love “I Don’t Want To Mention Any Names” – I can listen to that over and over – just love the sass. So fun! I also really like “I’d Rather Ride Around With You” but I can’t even think of all the ones I love. Too many classics.

  5. bll
    March 28, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    I’ve always loved ‘She Thinks His Name Was John'; brave for the time, and a good song.

  6. Occasional Hope
    March 28, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    One Promise Too Late for me, too. For a lesser known one, I like There Ain’t No Future In This.

    I’m not a big fan of Fancy – the situation is so sordid.

  7. luckyoldsun
    March 28, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    If you’re only going to pick 5 Reba McEntire songs, then two covers is at least one too much.

    As powerful a voice as she has, I don’t think McEntire’s “Fancy” approaches the Bobbie Gentry original in terms of tension and believability.
    The Gentry version gives one goose bumps!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORfoK5Ap0FA

    I’d put “Can’t Even Get the Blues”, “How Blue,” “One Promise Too Late,” and “Rumor Has It,” as Reba classics that she truly owned.

  8. Leeann Ward
    March 29, 2014 at 12:23 am

    I dunno, LOS, those two covers are signature Reba songs, even if they were done very well by others first. So, I think it’s valid.

  9. Paul W Dennis
    March 29, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Other than “Whoever’s in New England”, I’m not all that fond of any of these songs. My favorite Reba songs harken back to the days when she was actually a country singer such as “How Blue”, “Can’t Even Get the Blues”,“One Promise Too Late and ”You’re THe First TIme I’ve Thought About Leaving”

  10. Leeann Ward
    March 29, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I will say that “I Can’t Even Get the Blues” and “Little Rock” are also among my favorite Reba songs.

  11. luckyoldsun
    March 29, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    Now as for that Reba McEntire–Vince Gill duet….

    What’s with that video? It looks like he’s supposed to be her drill instructor or something. And they have the hots for each other. Vince had better watch it or when it goes south, he’ll wind up like General Sinclair–court-martialed and facing imprisonment.

  12. Ben Foster
    March 29, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Superb list, Ken! My personal list probably would have been topped by “The Fear of Being Alone,” which boasts a mature and intelligent lyric while also hitting my sweet spot for great hooks and melodies, but your rationale behind “The Heart Won’t Lie” is definitely one that I can’t argue with.

  13. SamB
    March 29, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I find it so hard to narrow Reba songs down to a list of five. Of these, I would definitely have Whoever’s In New England up there.

    I’d also perhaps include She Thinks His Name Was John, If You See Him/If You See Her and For My Broken Heart… indeed, much of the For My Broken Heart album. And Somebody Should Leave.

  14. Razor X
    March 31, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    Let’s not forget “Somebody Should Leave”.

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