Eric Church No. 1 Hits: History of His Chart-Topping Tracks

by Jacklyn Krol

They don’t call him the Chief for nothing. Eric Church knows what to “stick” in his country songs to make them hits. The singer has made a career on his particular brand of country music. Hitting the industry as an outsider, Church has risen in the ranks as one of country music’s most influential voices.

We would bet our Aviators that you’ve heard some of these hit songs. Discover the inspiration behind all of Church’s chart-toppers, below.

“Drink In My Hand”

“Drink In My Hand” marked Eric Church’s first No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. He wrote the song alongside Michael P. Heeney and Luke Laird. The trio were on tour with Miranda Lambert when the idea came about after a concert.

“It fell out pretty fast—we were just jamming,” Heeney said. “We had been out for several days and the song was pretty much was just a reaction to his crowds…turn it loose and rock and roll.”

  • Album: Chief
  • Year: 2011
  • RIAA: 3x Platinum
  • Standout lyric: “Bossman can shove that overtime up his can / All I wanna do is put a drink in my hand”


Church, Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell co-wrote the anthem. The single reached number No. 19 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100. Rolling Stone put the song at No. 58 on their “100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time” list.

“The interesting part is, it’s a love affair that takes place in an amphitheater between two people,” Church revealed. “It didn’t happen with Springsteen, ironically; it happened with another artist.”

The moment happened when he went to a concert when he was a teenager. “To this day, when I hear that artist, it’s the soundtrack to that girl,” he said. “I never think about her any other time, except when that song is on.” He chose Bruce because Church admires him and his career.

  • Album: Chief
  • Year: 2012
  • RIAA: 5x Platinum
  • Standout lyric: “Funny how a melody sounds like a memory / Like a soundtrack to a July Saturday night”
  • Awards: Grammy nominations for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song, ACM nominations for Single of the Year and Song of the Year, Billboard nomination for Top Country Song, CMT nomination for Video of the Year

“Give Me Back My Hometown”

Laird and Church teamed up once again for this single. They wrote it in Church’s cabin on North Carolina. Church already had the title for the song going into the writing session.

Church said that people feel most comfortable in their hometowns. “The loneliest thing about this song to me is here’s a guy who’s left in that place that should be the most comforting place to him,” he explained. “And it’s actually the place that haunts him because the girl left him and there’s memories of her everywhere.”

Eric Church performed the song at the 2015 Grammy Awards with videos of military members and war in the background.

  • Album: The Outsiders
  • Year: 2014
  • RIAA: Platinum
  • Standout lyric: “Thinkin’ about you sittin’ there sayin’ I hate this, I hate it / If you couldn’t stand livin’ here why’d you take it, take it”
  • Awards: Grammy nominations for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song, ACM nomination for Song of the Year


Talladega” was created by Laird and Church. The song itself is not about NASCAR, rather, it’s about real life experience.

“What you see on TV there has nothing to do really with racing,” he told Billboard per CMT. “It’s about that experience, whatever that is — the experience with the person next to you and knowing that that’s probably a finite time in your life. It’s not gonna last forever.”

  • Album: The Outsiders
  • Year: 2014
  • RIAA: 2x Platinum
  • Standout lyric: “We were laughing and living, drinking and wishing / And thinking as that checkered flag was waving”
  • Award: CMA nomination for Single of the Year

“Record Year”

“Record Year” was written by Eric Church and Jeff Hyde. Hyde came up with the idea song and sent it to Church.

I’ve written a lot of songs with a lot of people, and very rarely do you come up against an idea that’s unique, that you think there’s no way that it is unique,” Church recalled. “I remember when Jeff had the idea for ‘Record Year,’ I thought, ‘Well, it had to have been done in this way,’ and was shocked to learn that it hadn’t been done.”

  • Album: Mr. Misunderstood
  • Year: 2016
  • RIAA: 2x Platinum
  • Standout lyric: “But love’s got a funny way of keepin’ score / And your leavin’ lit up my scoreboard”
  • Award: CMT nomination for Male Video of the Year, CMA nominations for Music Video of the Year, and Single and Song of the Year

“Some of It”

 Church collaborated with Jeff Hyde, Clint Daniels, and Bobby Pinson. The song began with the central idea and not the title.

The trick was to have an emotional song that wasn’t about a particular emotion. It was just about particular vignettes that would cause an emotion in somebody,” he revealed. After the trio created roughly half of the song, they called up Church because they felt like it would be something he would say in his music.

  • Album: Desparate Man
  • Year: 2019
  • RIAA: Gold
  • Standout lyric: “I know I don’t probably know what I think I do / But there’s somethin’ to / Some of it”
  • Award: Grammy nomination for Best Country Song, ACM nomination for Song of the Year

“Does to Me” With Luke Combs

Luke Combs wrote “Does to Me” and immediately thought of Eric Church. The inspiration for the song was doing your best at something that may seem somewhat small.

“There are these little things that, to anyone else, might seem super insignificant — but they’re things that I’m really proud of,” Combs said.

Combs added that they are from the same part of the country and went to the same school. so they are similar in that respect. “I think, at the end of the day, we have a lot of the same values about music and touring,” he concluded.

  • Album: What You See Is What You Get
  • Year: 2020
  • RIAA: Gold
  • Standout lyric: “And that might not mean much to you / But it does to me”

“Forever Country”

“Forever Country” included an all-star cast of CMA nominated artists to celebrate the association’s 50th anniversary. The group performed John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” and Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You.”

The song’s profits went to the CMA Foundation, which supports music education. Surprisingly, CMA’s competitor, ACM, gave them the ACM Video of the Year award at their awards show.

  • Album: None
  • Year: 2016
  • RIAA: Gold
  • Standout lyric: “And I will always love you”
  • Award: ACM Video of the Year

“The Only Way I Know” With Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan

 Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church ended up getting a standing ovation for their performance at the CMA Awards. Aldean later performed the song on The Voice with two contestants instead of his collaborators.

David Lee Murphy and Ben Hayslip wrote the epic collaboration. Aldean said that his producer Michael Knox had the idea to bring the other artists on the track.

Aldean shared that he was present for Bryan’s recording session but was out touring when Church recorded his portion.

“You figure out what sounds best where, who sang this line better. Make it where it doesn’t sound like you’re trying to give three guys a part when it sounds jumbled up. You want every part of it to kind of breathe a little bit. The listeners, you want their ears to have time to adjust and go, ‘OK, that’s Luke … that’s Eric … that’s Jason,'” Aldean explained.

  • Album: Night Train
  • Year: 2012
  • RIAA: Platinum
  • Standout lyric: “Don’t stop ’til everything’s gone / Straight ahead, never turn round / Don’t back up, don’t back down”
  • Awards: ACM Vocal Event of the Year, CMT Collaborative Video of the Year

“Raise ‘Em Up” With Keith Urban

 Tom Douglas, Jaren Johnston and Jeffrey Steele wrote the fan-favorite tune. Urban believes that the song is more about the journey rather than the destination. Urban knew that he wanted to work with Church on this record and thought it was the perfect time.

“What ‘Raise Em-Up’ can mean, all the various things that that phrase can mean; it’s such a cinematic song,” Urban shared. “And I’ve always considered Eric as a cinematic artist, and I sent him the song and he was in the studio immediately. I am so glad he wanted to be a part of it because it took the song to a new place.”

  • Album: Fuse
  • Year: 2015
  • Standout lyric: “I’m talkin’ bout daddy’s old pick up truck / Shotgun seat there’s the one you love”
  • Awards: CMA Musical Event of the Year, Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance, ACM nominations for Vocal Event of the Year and Single of the Year