Chris Stapleton is no secret anymore. With numerous CMA, ACM and Grammys trophies to his name and an appeal that spans country, Americana and rock, Stapleton has made a name for himself as one of the most talented country songwriters and performers of his generation.
But did you know that Stapleton has a long career in songwriting, even beyond the three albums he's released? Of course, there were his SteelDrivers days, during which Stapleton wrote and recorded as the frontman for the Americana band, but even more than that, Stapleton has written hundreds of songs for artists across numerous genres of music, from Thomas Rhett to Alison Krauss -- and, yes, even to Adele. There's a good bet that Stapleton wrote one of your favorite songs.
Keep scrolling to learn about 31 songs you may not have guessed were written by Stapleton!
"If It Hadn't Been for Love"by Adele
This song was originally written and performed by Stapleton and the SteelDrivers on their 2008 debut album, but Adele brought her own larger-than-life voice to the haunting song as a bonus track on her 2011 album 21.
"Crash and Burn" by Thomas Rhett
Written with Jesse Frasure, "Crash and Burn" is more upbeat than other recent Stapleton songs, and its genre-melding Motown-esque sound shows off the range of his writing and composing abilities. "Crash and Burn" was the lead single off Thomas Rhett's sophomore album, Tangled Up, and earned Rhett his fourth No. 1 single.
(Fun fact: Stapleton also penned Rhett's debut single "Something to Do With My Hands.")
"Never Wanted Nothing More" by Kenny Chesney
Released in 2007 as part of his Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates album, "Never Wanted Nothing More" earned Kenny Chesney his fastest No. 1 single. This twangy song was written by Stapleton and Ronnie Bowman.
"Don't Start Lying to Me Now" by Joss Stone
Filled with jazzy funk and fierce soul, "Don't Start Lying to Me Now" is a fiery R&B track you would never guess was written by a rootsy Americana guitar player. But write it Stapleton did, giving Joss Stone a vocally charged single backed by a big-band beat. The song appears on Stone's 2011 album LP1.
"Winning Streak" by Ashley Monroe
With a mid-song piano riff that honky-tonk dreams are made of, "Winning Streak" is a swinging barroom bottle rocket made even more fiery by Ashley Monroe's speedy vocals and down-home twang. Written by Monroe, Stapleton and Jessi Alexander, "Winning Streak" was released in 2015 as part of Monroe's third studio album, The Blade.
(Another fun fact: Stapleton also penned "If the Devil Don't Want Me" for Monroe.)
"Homesick" by Sheryl Crow (feat. Zac Brown)
Released on her debut country album, Feels Like Home, Sheryl Crow teamed up with Stapleton to write this mid-tempo ballad about missing a person more than a place and feeling homesick even in your own home. While Zac Brown stepped in to lend his vocals to the 2013 track, it's Stapleton's lyrics that pack the most punch, turning the traditional song about missing home on its head.
"Love's Gonna Make It Alright" by George Strait
It's hard to believe that George Strait released the Stapleton-penned "Love's Gonna Make It Alright" -- a sweet and simple song praising the support and love of family and friends -- around the same time that Stapleton was recording heavy hillbilly rock with the Jompson Brothers. The song appears on Strait's 27th studio album, Here for a Good Time, and was written by Stapleton and Al Anderson.
(Worth noting: Strait also features a song by Stapleton on his 28th album, Love Is Everything, in 2013, the single, "You Don't Know What You're Missing.")
"Your Man" by Josh Turner
Perfectly blending Josh Turner's signature baritone vocals with honky-tonk-flavored guitar and fiddles, "Your Man" is the perfect example of how Stapleton deftly blends his own signature into songs that also unmistakably fit their performer. Written with Chris DuBois and Jace Everett, "Your Man" gave both Stapleton and Turner their first No. 1 single ... and if you want a real treat, watch Stapleton perform the song himself, replacing Turner's sultry smooth delivery with the gritty soul he's known for.
(Another note: Stapleton also wrote three other Turner hits, including "Lovin' You on My Mind," "Deeper Than My Love" and "Another Try," which features Trisha Yearwood.)
"Miles to Go" by Alison Krauss & Union Station
When Alison Krauss & Union Station released their Paper Airplane album in 2011, "Miles to Go" quickly became a fan favorite for its lush arrangement, also composed by Stapleton alongside co-writer Barry Bales. With lyrics such as "Every photograph is another lesson learned / Every sleepless night is another page I've turned / I wake up to fallin' dreams," "Miles to Go" is unmistakably Stapleton, painting lush pictures of love and loss through his writing.
"There's More Where That Came From" by Lee Ann Womack
Released on Lee Ann Womack's 2005 album of the same name, "There's More Where That Came From" proves that traditional twang and storytelling songwriting never go out of style in country music. Stapleton penned the song, about the thrill and shame that comes from cheating on your lover, with Chris DuBois.
(A few years later, Stapleton penned "Either Way," which Womack grabbed for her seventh studio album, and which turned up as the first single off his most recent album, From A Room: Volume 1.)
"Come Back Song" by Darius Rucker
Stapleton has written two songs with Darius Rucker over the years: "Forever Road" and "Come Back Song," the later of which earned Rucker a No. 1 spot on the charts.
"Hangover Tonight" by Gary Allan
More than 10 years after Gary Allan released his first Stapleton-penned tune, "Drinkin' Dark Whiskey," in 2003, the country singer reinvented his sound with another Stapleton track, 2015's "Hangover Tonight." The rockabilly tune gives a new platform to Allan's gravelly vocals with clear fingerprints of Stapleton's lyrical stylings all over the song.
"Keep on Lovin' You" by Steel Magnolia
Written by Stapleton and Trent Willmon, Steel Magnolia's Joshua Scott Jones and Meghan Linsey picked "Keep on Lovin' You" as their debut single in 2009. Fresh off their win on the TV talent competition Can You Duet, "Keep on Lovin' You" served as a great platform to introduce the duo's sharp vocals and fun-loving vibe alongside Stapleton's killer lyrics.
"Ready to Roll"by Blake Shelton
In total, Blake Shelton has cut an impressive six Stapleton-penned songs, including "Ready to Roll," which was one of three songs Stapleton co-wrote on Shelton's 2011 record Red River Blue. That record also boasts "Sunny in Seattle" and "I'm Sorry" written by Stapleton, the latter of which also features Martina McBride.
(Stapleton also wrote two songs on Shelton's 2008 album Startin' Fires ("100 Miles" and "Never Lovin' You"), and in 2010, Shelton and Miranda Lambert cut Stapleton's “Draggin’ the River.”)
"Front Porch Thing" by Little Big Town
Fans of Little Big Town may remember "Pontoon" as the major single to come off of the group's fifth studio album, but it's the rocking "Front Porch Thing" that infuses Tornado with a little bit of gritty rock 'n' roll -- and that's all thanks to Stapleton, who wrote the song with Adam Hood.
(LBT have recorded two other songs written by Stapleton: 2010's "Rain on a Tin Roof" and "Why, Oh Why.")
"Talk Is Cheap" and "Gonna Come Back as a Country Song"by Alan Jackson
When Alan Jackson released his 14th studio album (the first on his own record label), Thirty Miles West, two Stapleton songs graced the track listing. "Gonna Come Back as a Country Song" saw Stapleton team up with Terry McBride, while "Talk Is Cheap" was co-written with Guy Clark and Stapleton's own wife, Morgane.
"Lonely Girl" by Charles Kelley
During Lady Antebellum's 2016 hiatus, Charles Kelley stayed busy by releasing his own solo work, The Driver. Stapleton's piano-tinged tune "Lonely Girl" is the fifth track on the album.
"Whiskey and You" by Tim McGraw
Long before Stapleton released his hauntingly simple acoustic version of "Whiskey and You," Tim McGraw put his own stamp on it for his 2007 album Let It Go. The two versions are pretty different but play to the strengths of both artists perfectly, proving once again that a Stapleton song is flexible and powerful and sounds good any way you sing it.
"Drink a Beer" by Luke Bryan
Fans of Luke Bryan's 2013 album Crash My Party may have been surprised to find the singer's most achingly raw and mature song right in the middle of the record, but find it they did with "Drink a Beer." Stapleton wrote the track with Jim Beavers, with Bryan calling it "the coolest sad song ever." Watch Stapleton provide some pretty epic backing vocals in Bryan's performance below.
"The Best Thing That I Had Goin'"by Brad Paisley
Back when Brad Paisley was still that fresh-faced guitar-playing cowboy, the up-and-coming star had his first No. 1 album with Mud on the Tires. For his third studio album, Paisley called on Stapleton and co-writer Jerry Salley for "The Best Thing That I Had Goin'," a song about getting everything you ever wanted but feeling like it's meaningless without the only one you'd want to share it with.
"Nobody's Fool" by Miranda Lambert
Miranda Lambert found her swagger with "Nobody's Fool," which is all about playing it cool while trying to get over an ex and was included on her fourth studio album, Four the Record. Although this song was the first of Stapleton's to be sung by Lambert on one of her own album's, she had gotten used to singing his lyrics the year before in 2010, when she teamed up with then-husband Blake Shelton for "Draggin' the River."
Written by Stapleton and Frank Rogers, "Swing" was the lead single from Trace Adkins' eighth studio album, Dangerous Man. A manly anthem complete with slick guitar riffs and lyrical swagger, "Swing" is another great example of Stapleton's songwriting range. After all, who would have guessed that someone who wrote a light-hearted ballad about hitting on girls (and striking out!) would also write "Fire Away"?
"Diamonds Make Babies" by Dierks Bentley
A comical take on the classic "marry me" love song, "Diamonds Make Babies" is all about the occupational hazards that come with putting a ring on it. Dierks Bentley recorded the song, written by Stapleton, Jim Beavers and Lee Thomas Miller, as the fifth track on his sixth studio album, Home in 2012. In 2017, Joe Nichols recorded "Diamonds Make Babies" for his Never Gets Old album.
"Empty Handed" by Bucky Covington
"Empty Handed" is one of two songs written by Stapleton on Bucky Covington's 2007 eponymous debut album. Combined with the other, "Ain't No Thing," it foreshadowed Stapleton's hard-rocking country grit that would follow with the SteelDrivers.
"Independent Trucker" by Brooks & Dunn
Brooks & Dunn included Stapleton's "Independent Trucker" -- full of the imagery and storytelling lyricism that make country music great -- as one of three new songs on their 2004 compilation album, The Greatest Hits Collection II. With breakneck vocals and sprawling guitar riffs, it's the perfect song to roll down the windows and turn up the volume on during a long road (or truck!) trip.
"Love on the Line" by Gretchen Wilson
Known for her take-no-prisoners attitude found on "Redneck Woman," Gretchen Wilson revealed a softer side with "Love on the Line," which she recorded for her 2010 album, I Got Your Country Right Here. Written by Stapleton, "Love on the Line" is a heartbreakingly honest song about living with the guilt of hidden secrets to keep a relationship alive. It's raw and real and some of the best Stapleton writing out there.
"Sleepy Little Town" by JT Hodges
All about what happens when word gets around in a small town, "Sleepy Little Town" was written by Stapleton and Lee Thomas Miller. The uptempo song, which was cut by JT Hodges on his 2012 self-titled album, packs a serious lyrical punch, conjuring imagery of the glaring lights of hometown football games revealing the town's dirty little secrets.
"Small Doses" by Travis Tritt
With songs such as "Whiskey and You" and "Tennessee Whiskey," it's pretty clear that Stapleton puts a lot of stock in the healing pours of a little bourbon -- and so, it seems, does Travis Tritt, who recorded Stapleton and Jerry Salley's song "Small Doses" for his ninth album, My Honky Tonk History.
"Like a Cowboy" by Randy Montana
Perhaps one of Stapleton's lesser known co-writes, "Like a Cowboy" was recorded by Randy Montana for his 2011 self-titled debut album. What the song lacks in fame, it more than makes up for in talent. Again with the image-conjuring lyrics and raw honesty, "Like a Cowboy" is just one more example of just how amazing of a songwriter Stapleton truly is.
"Ring for Sale" by Kellie Pickler
Written with Jim Beavers, "Ring for Sale" is Stapleton's take on a jilted lover getting back at her ex. The revenge-fueled anthem was cut by Kellie Pickler for her fourth studio album, The Woman I Am, and is just as much fun as it is vengeful.
"I Got Drunk" by Montgomery Gentry
Written by Stapleton and David Grissom, Montgomery Gentry recorded "I Got Drunk" for their fourth studio album, You Do Your Thing, in 2004. Thirteen years later, in September of 2017, Stapleton would pay tribute to Troy Gentry after his passing with a rousing rendition of the duo's debut single, "Hillbilly Shoes."