Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

WEST HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - JULY 24: Tim McGraw performs onstage at a secret Standing Room Only show at Sunset Strip's Whisky A Go Go on July 24, 2023 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for ABA)

Most of us know Tim McGraw for his remarkable catalog of songs. The fun summer jams, the thought-provoking, emotional anthems and of course the beautiful, sweeping ballads. But, did you know he has only written a little more than a handful of his recorded music? You are about to find out about 5 sensational songs written by Tim McGraw.

Why has one of the most popular artists on the planet penned so few songs? As relayed to CMTMcGraw explained, “Those that know me know that I write, but I rarely cut stuff that I write. If I write something, I’m pretty hard on it. I write for every album, but I always put the song first.” In other words, he believes the message is more important than claiming ownership rights.

In today’s world of streaming and downloading, writing a song becomes much more of a financial decision than creative. When Tim started in the business, an artist could make money by simply being the voice on the record and getting percentage of each song released. It’s a very different business model today.

The Storyteller

Think about some of McGraw’s biggest hits like “Humble and Kind,” and “Live Like You Were Dying.” It’s his interpretation of the song that brings it to life and connects with our hearts and minds. He’s a great storyteller. There are many artists who don’t write often but have enjoyed huge careers. However, most of them didn’t start in this new world of “write for your supper” instead of “sing for your supper.” Artists like Reba, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride and Blake Shelton are have written very few of their own songs and are much more known as musical storytellers.

Over the course of a very long, successful career, Tim McGraw has put out some very memorable music. Since his 1993 debut album, he’s released over 75 singles and only 4 of the songs he’s penned have become hit singles. Here, you will discover 5 sensational songs written by Tim McGraw. Did you know he co-wrote these fine pieces of art?

  • 1. My Little Girl


    According to American Songwriter, Tim wrote this gem with songwriter Tom Douglas (“I Run To You,” “House That Built Me”). It was featured in the 2006 movie starting McGraw, Flicka.  And it was released as the 2nd single from his August 2006 compilation album, Tim McGraw Reflected: Greatest Hits Vol.2.  Having 3 daughters, clearly it’s a song this artist connects with. “My Little Girl” became the first hit single of Tim’s career that he cowrote.

  • 2. If You're Reading This


    McGraw co-wrote this one with his frequent collaborators and former tourmates The Warren Brothers. Brett and Brad Warren, along with McGraw were inspired to write “If You’re Reading This” after reading an article on the casualties of war. It was a way of honoring the families who’ve lost loved ones in war. The song is set up as letter from a soldier to his family. Tim debuted the song in May of 2007 at the ACM Awards in Vegas. Radio stations started playing the audio from the TV awards show. It got remixed and officially released to radio. It became a top 3 hit for McGraw.


  • 3. Over and Over with Nelly


    Do you remember when Tim McGraw was all over pop radio? Granted, his 2004 monster hit “Live Like You Were Dying”  took him into this new territory for the first time. But this was the first song he co-wrote that brought him there. And it was a duet with hip-hop artist Nelly. “Over and Over” was written by McGraw, Nelly, Jason Bridges and James D. “Sted Fast” Hargroves II. This song was included in his Reflected: Greatest Hits Vol. 2 and song went all the way to #3 on the all-genre chart – Billboard Hot 100. Who wasn’t jamming out to this back in the day?

  • 4. Big and Rich: Lovin' Lately (featuring Tim McGraw)


    Early on in their career, Big and Rich were invited to tour with Tim McGraw. Many years later they collaborated on “Lovin’ You Lately.” The three artists, Tim, Big Kenny and John Rich wrote this one together. Tim is featured on the track and in the video, starring as a wise bartender. They scored a top 20 hit with this one.

  • 5. Nashville CA/L.A. Tennessee (featuring Lori McKenna)


    On his latest album, Standing Room Only, McGraw worked with one of his favorite songwriters (as he admitted to me in an interview), Lori McKenna. Lori is a Grammy Award winning songwriter from Stoughton, MA. She wrote the Grammy Award winning hits “Humble and Kind” for McGraw and “Girl Crush” for Little Big Town. For his latest project, Tim turned to McKenna for a writing collab along with Bob Minner and they wrote, “Nashville CA/L.A. Tennessee.” It’s a song about the isolation of the road and fame. (McKenna also sings on this track).

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