With the July 10, 2002 release of his debut CD Man With A Memory, Joe Nichols made an immediate impact and lasting impression on country music. Two back to back #1 singles, a platinum CD, four Grammy nominations and a shelf full of industry honors quickly set the course for the singer from Rogers, AR. To showcase the breadth and depth of the artist's music career, Show Dog-Universal Music released Nichols' first-ever Greatest Hits package in January 2011. For any lover of country music, this set is a stunning body of work. A country fan his whole life, Nichols says he simply makes records that he would want to buy. He was raised in Rogers, Arkansas by his bank-teller mother, Robin. But he also spent time with his truck-driver father, Mike, who sang country music at weekend VFW shows. Nichols resolved to follow in his father's footsteps when he was just 15. There was no back-up plan. Joe Nichols was going to sing country music, no matter what. By the time he turned 21, Nichols was living on the back side of Nashville, staying alive by moving furniture, installing cable-TV systems, bartending and working for UPS. Eventually, Nichols began to get regular jobs singing in the dive bars of the city's Lower Broadway district. His most regular stage was at Rippy's, a barbecue-and-ribs beer joint. Music Row executives Tony Brown and Tim DuBois were forming a new Universal company, and in 2001 they signed Joe Nichols as their flagship artist. On March 23, 2002, "The Impossible" debuted on the country charts. That same month, Nichols made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry and played his last gig at Rippy's. On July 10, 2002, "The Impossible" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Singles Sales Chart. Just six days later, Joe's father and mentor, Mike Nichols, died at age 46 of a lung disease called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Numb with grief, Joe Nichols worked to promote his Man with a Memory CD, released on July 23, and embarked on a tour with superstar Alan Jackson. Late that fall, "Brokenheartsville" debuted on the charts. The album, Joe's performance of "The Imposslble" and the song, itself, were all nominated for Grammy Awards. As 2002 ended and 2003 began, Nichols picked up new-artist awards from Billboard, Radio & Records, Music Row magazine and the Academy of Country Music. "Brokenheartsville" hit No. 1 on the charts, and Nichols' performance of it earned him another Grammy nod. The RIAA chipped in by announcing Man with a Memory as a Gold Record on May 13, 2003. As "Cool to Be a Fool" began its climb up the hit parade, the Country Music Association honored Nichols with a nomination for Album of the Year and a statuette as its 2003 Horizon Award winner. That same week, SESAC presented him with its Summit Award. Revelation appeared as Nichols' second Universal album in 2004, and its peppy, Cajun-flavored "What's a Guy Gotta Do" became his second consecutive self-penned hit. Joe Nichols hit the road with superstar Toby Keith in 2005. His star continued to rise with the release of the CD III and its No. 1 hit "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off." In early 2006, both the album and single were declared Gold Records. "Size Matters (Someday)" and "I'll Wait for You" also became hits from this collection. By now, Joe Nichols was a bona fide Nashville phenomenon. During a 2007 concert at the prestigious Ryman Auditorium, George Jones invited the youngster on stage to sing and called him, "the future of traditional country music." It turned out to be a landmark year in other ways. Real Things was issued as his new CD in August and Man with a Memory became a Platinum Record that same month. On September 9, Joe Nichols married Texan Heather Singleton. That October the singer-songwriter faced his substance-abuse issues and went through rehabilitation therapy. At the close of the year, Real Things made The New York Times Best-of-the-Year albums list. After touring Australia and entertaining U.S. troops in Iraq, Nichols issued Old Things New in 2009. The following year, its Mark Wright-produced "Gimmie That Girl" barreled into the No. 1 position and became another Joe Nichols Gold Record. That song was a three week #1 and also became the second most played song of 2010. By this point, Hall of Fame member Merle Haggard added his endorsement, stating he believed that Joe Nichols was an artist who would carry the Hag's musical legacy forward. Also in 2009, Nichols auditioned for and won the lead in the Broadway musical Pure Country, and while unlikely Joe will soon hit the Great White Way because of production delays for the play, he was thrilled to win the opportunity to take a little bit of country to Broadway. So, all in all it has been quite a decade. This Greatest Hits compilation is a document of some astonishing musical accomplishments that all took place in less than 10 years from a man who is still only in his early 30's. It is also a vivid reminder that some of the greatest country records of our time are being made by Joe Nichols. JOE NICHOLS GREATEST HITS CUT-BY-CUT 1. "Gimmie That Girl" (Rhett Akins / Dallas Davidson / Ben Hayslip) Says Joe Nichols, "It's real, real catchy...and I like what the song talks about. It's about flattering the woman you love by telling her she doesn't need to dress up and do all those things to be pretty; that the girl you are right now, getting out of the shower, is the girl I love." This song spent three weeks at No. 1 and was the second most played song on country radio in 2010. 2. "The Shape I'm In" (Rhett Akins / Dallas Davidson / Ben Hayslip) Written by the same team that provided Nichols with "Gimmie That Girl," this is steeped in an almost jazzy groove. Joe Nichols describes it as having, "a very cool lyric for where I am in my life. It's a guy saying, `You know, things aren't so bad, considering where I'm at and what all I've done.' The structure is kind of loose, and it's the sound of someone kicking back and having a few. It's a song you can sing barefooted." 3. "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" (Gary Hannan / John Wayne Wiggins) This was the first big songwriting hit for John Wayne Wiggins. He was previously a member of the Mercury Records duo The Wiggins, with his sister Audrey. Their most notable singles included "Falling Out of Love," which he co-wrote, plus "Has Anybody Seen Amy" and "She's in the Bedroom Crying," all from 1994. Co-writer Gary Hannan is also behind Montgomery Gentry's "Back When I Knew it All," "Man's Job" and "Ought to Be More Songs About That." "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" was the third No. 1 hit for Joe Nichols, his fifth top-10 smash and his first Digital Gold single. 4. "Brokenheartsville" (Randy Boudreauz / Clint Daniels / Donny Kees / Blake Mevis) From the moment listeners heard, "Here's to the past / They can kiss my glass," they knew that they'd found a perfect country record. "Brokenheartsville" became Joe Nichols' first across-the-board No. 1 smash, and its video was named the CMT Breakthrough Video of 2003. 5. "Size Matters (Someday)" (Byron Hill / Mike Dekle) This imaginative romance lyric comes from the team of Byron Hill and Mike Dekle. Hill is also notable for such hits as "Fool Hearted Memory" (George Strait), "Born Country" (Alabama), "Pickin' Up Strangers" (Johnny Lee), "Nothing on But the Radio" (Gary Allan) and "Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous" (Tracy Byrd), while Dekle is noted for "Scarlet Fever" (Kenny Rogers), "Don't Love Make a Diamond Shine" (Tracy Byrd) and "A Day in the Life of a Fool" (George Jones, Keith Whitley, Mark Chesnutt). "Size Matters (Someday)" became the sixth top-10 hit for Joe Nichols. 6. "The Impossible" (Kelley Lovelace / Lee Thomas Miller) This is the song that started it all. From the first listen, it sounded like an obvious hit. But co-writer Lee Thomas Miller says that the song "was pitched to -- and passed on - by just about everybody who was recording" in Nashville in 2001. It is to the everlasting credit of Joe Nichols and producer Brent Rowan that they could hear what nobody else could. 7. "What's a Guy Gotta Do" (Joe Nichols / Don Sampson / Kelley Lovelace) This lively ditty debuted on the charts on November 20, 2004 and climbed to No. 4 on the Billboard country chart while Nichols was touring with Toby Keith the following year. Joe Nichols has recorded songs that he has co-written on most of his albums. 8. "It Ain't No Crime" (Tom Shapiro / Tony Martin / Mark Nesler) This delightful ode to laziness became a top-20 hit for Joe Nichols in 2007. Co-writer Mark Nesler is formerly a recording artist with Asylum Records. Tom Shapiro was elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2008. Tony Martin has received more than 20 BMI songwriting awards, including one for co-writing the Joe Nichols top-20 hit of 2003, "She Only Smokes When She Drinks." 9. "Cool to Be a Fool" (Joe Nichols / Steve Dean / Will Nance) This was the first one of Joe Nichols own songs that was chosen to be a single. Released in 2003, the swing tune won him a SESAC songwriting award on November 10, 2004. 10."I'll Wait for You" (Harley Allen / Bill Anderson) Country Music Hall of Fame member and Grand Ole Opry star Bill Anderson has been writing giant country hits for more than 50 years. His songwriting career started with Ray Price's "City Lights" in 1958, and he remains contemporary to this day with such mega successes as "Whiskey Lullaby," "Wish You Were Here," "A Lot of Things Different," "Give it Away," "Two Teardrops" and "Joey." Co-writer Harley Allen is regarded as one of today's most imaginative and gifted song creators. His "Between the Devil and Me," "The Little Girl," "Awful Beautiful Life," "My Last Name" and "Tough Little Boys" are considered modern classics. Allen also co-wrote the 2004 Joe Nichols single "If Nobody Believed in You," a top-10 hit. By the time it ended, Nichols' sound had been responsible for four Grammy Award nominations, Gold and Platinum Record honors, awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music, a cluster of No. 1 hits and acclaim from Merle Haggard and George Jones as the finest young neo-traditional country stylist in Nashville.
Then, in the final month of 2010, Show Dog Universal Records announced that it was saluting Joe Nichols' accomplishments with the release of a Greatest Hits collection. This is that career milestone.
It includes his launch-pad, Grammy-nominated landmarks "The Impossible" and "Brokenheartsville." It spans light-hearted fare such as "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off," as well as the deeply touching ballad "I'll Wait for You." The diversity extends to the hits Nichols has co-written - the swinging, breezy "Cool to Be a Fool" sits comfortably alongside the rapidly rollicking "What's a Guy Gotta Do."
His romantic side beams brightly in the mid-tempo "Size Matters (Someday)" and he's a laid-back good ol' boy in the bopping "It Ain't No Crime." The collection brings everything up to date with 2010's Gold-selling, No. 1 romp "Gimmie That Girl" and its languidly bluesy successor "The Shape I'm In."