Grammy-winning songwriter/producer Shane McAnally is on fire right now.
In just the past two weeks, Shane earned another No. 1 song as a songwriter (Dierks Bentley’s “Black”) and is getting props for producing and arranging the CMA’s new single, “Forever Country,” which features 30 of country music’s biggest stars.
Over the course of his career, Shane, 41, has penned No. 1 hits for a who’s who of country stars, including Kenny Chesney (“American Kids”), Luke Bryan (“Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”), Lady Antebellum (“Downtown”), Sam Hunt (“Leave the Night On”) and many more. He has also produced albums for Kacey Musgraves, Old Dominion, Sam Hunt and Jake Owen.
Currently, Shane is in the studio tracking Old Dominion’s second album, but he made time to sit down with Nash Country Daily to talk about five songs he wishes he had written.
“I’m kind of surprised that the ones I’m thinking about are world songs,” says Shane, “because by nature those songs are not what I’m usually drawn to, but when they’re done right—and they’re so hard to write—that blows me away as a songwriter. Here’s my Top 5.”
#5. “I Hope You Dance”
Lee Ann Womack, 2000
Written by Mark D. Sanders, Tia Sillers
“Even if it seems somewhat cliché, I think ‘I Hope You Dance’ is just about as perfect a written song as there has ever been. And so many of those lines in that song have become sort of everyday phrases. I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean—I think people almost can forget where that line came from because it’s so much bigger. Because that is how we all want to feel, to remember our place in this world.”
#4. “Man in the Mirror”
Michael Jackson, 1988
Written by Siedah Garrett, Glen Ballard
“I love ‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson. It’s funny, as a kid when that song was popular, it didn’t hit me like it does now. It’s like a dance song almost, but yet lyrically it’s just saying ‘I’m starting with me.’”
#3. “Girl Crush”
Little Big Town, 2014
Written by Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, Liz Rose
“It’s a fairly recent song, but one that is such a unique take. I still cannot believe that that idea had not been written. When those ideas come along that are truly fresh, it’s unbelievable. It’s just an unbelievable way they wrote it. It could have turned out cheesy—the idea—but they made it so universal.”
#2. “The House That Built Me”
Miranda Lambert, 2009
Written by Tom Douglas, Allen Shamblin
“I think it’s the greatest song of this century. It never doesn’t stop me in my tracks. The second verse—From Better Homes and Garden magazine—I literally can cry talking about it.”
#1. “You Don’t Know Me”
Eddy Arnold, 1956
Written by Eddy Arnold, Cindy Walker
“It’s an Eddy Arnold song that most people know. It’s the most simple, unrequited love story of all time. The rhyme scheme, the melody—I’ve always felt like it perfectly tells the story of what it would be like to have a friend who didn’t know you were in love with them. It’s perfect.”
YouTube Playlist: 5 Songs Hit Songwriter Shane McAnally Wishes He Had Penned
photo courtesy Alysse Gafkjen/Schmidt Relations