Cole Swindell knows how to write hits for other artists — but he also knows how to release a No. 1 hit (make that quite a few of 'em, in fact) himself.
Every time you hear one of Swindell's songs on the radio, you know it's him thanks to his distinct voice and writing style. From tear-jerking ballads to sing-along party anthem, Swindell can do it all. His range of subject matter and emotions creates one-of-a-kind recordings.
Swindell originally got his start as a songwriter, co-writing hits for Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett, Craig Campbell, Scotty McCreery, Florida Georgia Line and Chris Young. But since signing with Warner Music Nashville in July of 2014 — just five years ago — Swindell has cemented himself as a well-known and -loved country artist in his own right.
Swindell's debut single, "Chillin' It," achieved platinum status, as did his debut album. He's also racked up seven No. 1 singles: “Chillin’ It,” “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,” “Let Me See Ya Girl,” “You Should Be Here,” “Middle of a Memory” and “Flatliner.”
This list of Swindell's Top 10 songs takes into account chart rankings, fan favorites, concert requests and Taste of Country staff opinions.
"Reason to Drink"From 'All of It' (2018)
Everybody has a reason to drink, and Swindell celebrates that fact in this party anthem. After listening to "Reason to Drink," you're sure to want to grab a cold one!
"It's such a fun title and such a fun song to play live," Swindell says of the track, explaining why he named his first headlining tour after the song.
"Stay Downtown"From 'You Should Be Here' (2016)
"Stay Downtown" is one of the rare songs Swindell did not pen himself. However, after hearing it for the first time, he told one of the co-writers to not play it for anyone else.
"Two of my buddies wrote this song, Cole Taylor and Matt Dragstrem," Swindell tells the Boot. "It’s my first taste of having a song out there that I didn’t write, that I love and believe in. I always said, 'I’m always going to return the favor if I believe in somebody’s stuff,' and this is my chance to release one that I wasn’t fortunate enough to write."
"Break Up in the End"From 'All of It' (2018)
Everyone can relate to the feeling of enjoying a relationship, but know it's not meant to last. "Break Up in the End," too, is a song that Swindell did not write; rather, it was written by Jon Nite, Chase McGill and Jessie Jo Dillon.
"Hope You Get Lonely Tonight"From 'Cole Swindell' (2014)
A booty call song if there ever was one, "Hope You Get Lonely Tonight" is relatable for anyone who's left a date lonely. Swindell co-wrote the hit with Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line. The trio also wrote FGL's massive hit "This Is How We Roll."
"Let Me See Ya Girl"From 'Cole Swindell' (2014)
While lyrically "Let Me See Ya Girl" isn't Swindell's most heartfelt track, it is one of his best songs to dance to. When the song reached No. 9 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, Swindell became the first solo male artist to earn four Top 10 songs from a debut album on that chart since Darius Rucker did so in 2008.
"Flatliner" (feat. Dierks Bentley)From 'You Should Be Here' (2016)
You know that person who makes your heart, as they say, skip a beat? Swindell took the age-old saying and turned it into a country hit. But he had the song in mind for someone else.
"When we started writing it, I had Dierks in mind, kind of like, 'This would be a cool Dierks Bentley song,'" Swindell tells The Boot. "We wrote it [and said], 'Let's send this one to Dierks.' I didn't even have a good contact for Dierks at the time, so I don't think he ever even actually heard it, but we had him in mind writing it."
After Swindell signed his record deal, he sent Bentley the song and jokingly said they should one day sing it together. Bentley thought it was a smash and hopped on board.
"Middle of a Memory"From 'You Should Be Here' (2016)
"We were trying to tie this into the Down Home Sessions, and there was a song on my Down Home Sessions called 'Kiss'; that was the name of the song we were writing," Swindell tells The Boot. "The second verse says, 'Girl, you left me here with half a beer, in the middle of the memory.' We just all three stopped and were like, 'We have to write 'Middle of a Memory.'' So we just stopped writing that song and wrote 'Middle of a Memory,' about that."
It was a good call on Swindell's part. He and co-writers Zach Crowell and Ashley Gorley scored a No. 1, platinum-certified song with "Middle of a Memory."
"Chillin' It"From 'Cole Swindell' (2014)
"Chillin' It" was Swindell's debut single, off of his debut album. It's a great introduction to what fans can expect from Swindell, too. The song hit No. 1 on the Billboard country chart in March of 2014, making Swindell the first artist to hit No. 1 on that chart with a debut single since Swindell's buddies Florida Georgia Line did so with "Cruise" in 2012.
"Ain't Worth the Whiskey"From 'Cole Swindell' (2014)
If there's a Swindell song you'll hear people singing along to in a bar, it's this one. He co-wrote "Ain't Worth the Whiskey" alongside Adam Sanders and Josh Martin.
"Adam threw out a few more titles, and I started spitting out more titles, and Cole said, 'What are we doing -- why the hell ain't we writing 'Ain't Worth the Whiskey'?" Martin tells Taste of Country of the writing sessions that birthed this hit. "So we stopped in our tracks, and I said, 'I agree.' And Adam said, 'Yeah, I like that, too. That's probably the best hook that's gonna come out of the room tonight.'"
"You Should Be Here"From 'You Should Be Here' (2016)
Swindell wrote "You Should Be Here" with Ashley Gorley, after the sudden death of Swindell's father. The single is one of those rare but wonderful songs that almost anyone can relate to, whether they've lost a loved one or are simply missing a far-away friend. The title track of Swindell's sophomore album hit No. 1 and earned platinum status."
"It’s, by far, my favorite song that I think I’ve written," Swindell tells The Boot. "I think that’s why I moved to Nashville, is to write a song like this. Just growing up, loving ‘90s country music, there were songs that touched me. There were fun ones, but there were also the ones I could relate to, and I think this is going to be that song when people get to hear it."