LeAnn Rimes was only 13 years old when she released the album that would propel her to national stardom. That record, of course, was Blue, released by Curb Records in 1996. Instantly, Rimes earned comparisons to country legend Patsy Cline. However, it didn't take long for Rimes to show that she was an artist all her own.
In the decade that followed, Rimes continued to see groundbreaking successes. Her 1997 crossover hit, "How Do I Live," became one of the biggest hit singles of the 1990s. Pop-leaning singles "I Need You" and "Can't Fight the Moonlight" only further cemented her cross-genre appeal.
Then, in 2005, Rimes pivoted her direction (for not the first or last time). With her album This Woman, Rimes returned to her country music roots. The change was well-embraced: the record produced multiple hit singles, including "Something's Gotta Give" and "Nothin' 'Bout Love Makes Sense." Her follow-up record, Family, was the first album on which Rimes co-wrote all of the tracks. Rimes recorded two more albums with Curb Records before she left the label.
Rimes spent the latter half of the 2010s recording Christmas albums, which graced both the Country Music and Holiday charts. In 2020, Rimes again took a new musical direction: She released Chant: The Human and the Holy, which was thematically built upon mantras and meditations. Her most recent album, God's Work, embodies similar themes of faith and well-being but found Rimes returning to a more traditional form of songwriting.
While we wait to see where the rest of Rimes' career will take her, count down her top 10 songs with The Boot.
Released in 1996 on her debut album of the same name, "Blue" helped 13-year-old Rimes storm onto the country music scene. Fittingly, this song was rumored to have been originally written for Cline, though songwriter Bill Mack vehemently denies that idea; still, fans certainly took notice of Rimes’ precociously soulful voice.
"I Need You"From 'Jesus: Music From and Inspired By the Epic Mini-Series' (2000)
Rimes has frequently recorded songs rooted in her faith, such as this 2000 release. Originally released on Jesus: Music From and Inspired By the Epic Mini Series, the track would later appear on Rimes’ 2001 compilation album, I Need You. Fans may remember that Rimes publicly disowned that album, saying that it was made by her record label without her “creative input.” Despite the controversy, “I Need You” stayed on the Billboard charts for 25 weeks, and firmly established Rimes as a country-pop crossover.
"One Way Ticket (Because I Can)"From: 'Blue' (1996)
Written by Judy Rodman and Keith Hinton, the poppy and upbeat “One Way Ticket (Because I Can)” was the third single from Rimes’ 1996 debut Blue, and it’s almost hard to imagine that this tune and the project's title track could exist on the same album. To date, it remains Rimes’ only No. 1 country single.
"How Do I Live"From: 'You Light Up My Life: Inspirational Songs' (1997)
This song has quite the history: "How Do I Live" was originally intended to be a single from the soundtrack for the 1997 Nicolas Cage film Con Air; songwriter Diane Warren promised the song to Rimes, and according to the artist, the song was written specifically for her. However, when Walt Disney Pictures, the film’s production company, decided that the subject matter was a bit too mature for the then-14-year-old, the song was re-recorded by Trisha Yearwood -- and both versions were released on the same day. The Rimes version of “How Do I Live” peaked at No. 2 on the charts, and has since been certified platinum three times, selling more than 3 million copies -- but Yearwood took home the Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance for the song, in 1998 ... with Rimes' version also nominated in the same category.
"Can't Fight the Moonlight"From the 'Coyote Ugly' soundtrack (2000)
Featured on the soundtrack for feature film Coyote Ugly, this track created a whole new crowd of Rimes fans. The movie was based on the real New York City bar, and Rimes provided vocals for Violet, the film’s protagonist, played by Piper Perabo. “Can’t Fight the Moonlight” was released on Aug. 1, 2000, and by November, it had already been certified platinum. Fans of the film also may remember Rimes’ cameo in Coyote Ugly, or the music video for the song, filmed with the bar as the backdrop.