Raised in Timmins, Ontario, Canada, country music sensation Shania Twain proved that not only do girls rock but country music does too. Country artists have enjoyed breaking into music charts at home and abroad since Patsy Cline but Shania Twain’s songs not only broke into Europe’s and Australia’s pop charts, her music influenced a burgeoning generation of talent around the world. Her songs continue to be played today at wedding receptions, proms, anniversary parties, 4th of July celebrations, block parties, local community rallies, and in supermarkets. All 21 tracks on her 2004 Greatest Hits album deserve to be on her Top 10 list of songs but here are 10 tracks that represent the successes in her life and bookmark her place in music history.
10. “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under”
The music video for this tune was the first to launch Twain’s The Woman in Me album, which was produced by her then-husband and collaborator Mutt Lange. Portrayed as a flirty waitress, Twain sashays across a barroom floor as she sings the number to a variety of men from ages 18 to 60, all of whom remain unresponsive to her taunts. The music video put the song and Twain on country music’s radar.
9. “Any Man of Mine”
Known for displaying her midriff, Twain made her mark as an international sex symbol with her exposed midriff in this music video directed by John Derek. The song was her first number one hit on country radio and her first crossover hit breaking into Billboards Top 40 pop charts. The song helped her to earn her first Grammy in 1996 for “Best Country Album.”
8. “Man, I Feel Like a Woman”
Shania performed this song on VH1’s first Divas Live special in 1998. Virtually unknown to audiences who didn’t receive country music TV channels like CMT and GAC, she came onto the stage with confidence and enthusiasm that matched her peers: Gloria Estefan, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Carole King. If no one understood why Twain had a place on stage in such company, by the ending of the show, people knew she belonged among the divas present.
7. “You’re Still the One”
A favorite wedding song for couples to dance to since it first came out in 1998, it remains a popular tune at weddings, proms, and anniversaries. She performed the song live playing an acoustic guitar and accompanied by Elton John for her 1999 TV special Live in Miami. Next to her song “Forever and for Always,” this number is likely the one that most people hear in public venues. The song garnered Twain enormous commercial success, earning her a Grammy in 1999 for “Best Country Song” and “Best Female Country Vocal Performance.”
6. “No One Needs to Know”
The song was chosen to be on the 1996 soundtrack for the movie Twister starring Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt. Written by Twain and Lange, the song features the latter on background vocals. At the end of the tune, Lange added an old-time country music tradition practiced by studio engineers during the 1940s, when a voice comes on and says, “Here’s your record pa.” Lange responds, “Thanks mate, cheers.” It’s a moment of witnessing old-time country western-meets-modern day British rock vernacular.
5. “Party for Two”
One of the last songs written by Twain and Lange, the number has two versions recorded. One is a country version that she duets with Billy Currington, and the other is a rock/pop version that she duets with Mark McGrath (of Sugar Ray). The music video shows Cunnington and Twain swinging from a giant chandelier, a scene that had people talking in the forums of social media sites and in chat rooms across the globe. The song jumpstarted Currington’s career as a country music artist in his own right.
4. “From This Moment On”
Twain’s autobiography is named after this song, giving the phrase a double meaning. When first released, the song had been meant for couples to celebrate their love. The latter meaning reflects Twain’s next phase of life after her divorce from Lange, projecting that something more is to come. She recorded two versions of this track, one with Bryan White singing harmony and another without a male counterpart.
3. “When You Kiss Me”
A potent love song, this track did not see great success in the music charts but it remains identifiable with the singer. It’s one of her gems which is rarely heard in public though it showcases her prowess as a moving vocalist and an advocate of the love shared by a man and a woman. Always a proponent of monogamous relationships, Twain’s delivery of this track on her album Up helped shape her image as the woman every man desires, possessing a feminine touch that every woman aspires to have.
2. “Rock This Country”
A popular song played during 4th of July celebrations, this number has an anthem-edge to it that pumps up the audience’s adrenaline. It isn’t featured on her Greatest Hits album but it is a worldwide favorite that brings out national pride – everyone’s national pride, regardless of which country one comes from and pledges loyalty to. The song has a universal scope.
1. “Honey, I’m Home”
Bound by catchy hooks and witty lyrics, this number made Twain an iconic figure, single-handedly representing the mindset of the 21st century woman. When other female singers croon about being jilted by a man, being in love with a man, or being ignored by a man, this track switches the roles of the male/female relationship. It is the woman who tells the man what she wants, to take care of those chores which are typically expected to be a woman’s work. The song is fraught with personality that audiences applied to Twain’s character. It is a song that people expressly identify with her.
Though Shania Twain’s recording career has been suspended since 2008 after divorcing Mutt Lange, she continues to be a live performer. She is presently remarried and embarked on a world tour in 2015. Her show at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas had been taped for a TV special in 2015, followed by a five-series special she taped for the OWN network in 2010. Her autobiography was released in 2014, in which she shares her past, present, and aspirations for her future with audiences. Having turned 50 in 2012, Twain remains to be a driving force not only for women in music but for country music to be a mainstay on pop charts at home and abroad.
Photo credit: shaniatwain.com