Joe Diffie's songs weren't the biggest hits of the 1990s, and he wasn't the '90s most well-known country star, but in so many ways he defined the decade with lyrics born out of the American experience and a simple, straight-forward and often clever approach to storytelling.

Diffie, who died on Sunday (March 29) at age 61 after a short battle with coronavirus, was a '90s staple, but several songs on this list of Top 10 Joe Diffie Songs come from the early 2000s, when he was something of a different artist. He notched five No. 1 singles on Billboard's Country Airplay chart and 17 Top 10 hits. Two of his albums Honky Tonk Attitude and Third Rock from the Sun were certified Platinum, and several deeper cuts (or at least less commercially successful singles) became staples in his live show.

"Home" was Diffie's first No. 1 hit and his debut single from A Thousand Winding Roads, released in 1990. His career took off from there, with a string of six-straight Top 10 hits. "Third Rock from the Sun" and "Pickup Man" are two songs that came in the mid-'90s, off of his fourth studio album Third Rock from the Sun. A couple years later, a television show of the same name would become a hit in America.

Diffie's popularity on radio stations had started to wane by the late '90s and early '00s as more pop-friendly sounds began to dominate, and that wasn't something he was made for. Still, he continued to produce music, and fine music at that. The 2004 Top 20 single "Tougher Than Nails" is worth revisiting in full, as there Diffie showcased an ability to cover Christian music with the same honesty as he did songs about trucks, heartbreak and love.

If you don't listen to each of the songs on this playlist, at least read a few sentences about the best Joe Diffie songs to appreciate what he contributed America's catalog. Diffie continued to perform until his final weeks, often with friends and fellow '90s stars in front of and behind him.

In 2012, Jason Aldean tributed Diffie heavily in a song called "1994" that referred to several of native Oklahoman's songs. We put that song at the end of our playlist.

 Top 10 Joe Diffie Songs: 

See 50 Essential '90s Country Songs