Rhett Akins became a household name in the mid-1990s with his hit song "That Ain't My Truck," but the 2010s' ACM Songwriter of the Decade followed up his successful career as an artist with one of the most prolific songwriting portfolios in Nashville.
As a writer, Akins has cranked out hits for Brooks & Dunn, Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Dustin Lynch, Brantley Gilbert, Jon Pardi and more. His writing credits include multiple No. 1 hits across more than two decades, both solo and with his Peach Pickers collaborators, Ben Hayslip and Dallas Davidson.
Keep reading for a look at some of the biggest songs that Akins has written so far. Of course, there's one from his son, Thomas Rhett:
Akins says this No. 1 hit, co-written with Luke Laird, was inspired by a conversation with a pal: "Me and a buddy of mine were listening to some old country songs like Hank [Williams] Jr.," Akins tells Taste of Country. "He said, 'Man, listening to this kind of music makes me want to ride a dirt road right now!' I had that in my head when I got together with Luke to write."
Recorded by Akins' son, Thomas Rhett (full name: Thomas Rhett Akins), "Get Me Some of That" was written by Akins, Michael Carter and another future star, Cole Swindell. The fourth single from Rhett's debut album, the tune hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart.
This Shelton chart-topper was a true collaboration: It features not only the country superstar, the Pistol Annies and RaeLynn, but also all three writers: Akins, Dallas Davidson and Craig Wiseman. With its bevy of contemporary references, this tune is is a hallmark of country music in the 2010s.
Aldean recorded this hit, written by Akins and Ben Hayslip, in 2012, for his Night Train album. It topped the both Canadian and U.S. charts and became a fan favorite in Aldean's repertoire.
Written by Akins, Kyle Fishman and Ben Hayslip, "Small Town Boy" hit the top of the charts in both the U.S. and Canada when Lynch released it in 2017.
This Atkins hit, the second on this list, is the first that Akins wrote with Ben Hayslip and Marv Green, but Akins says the process was as organic as the song's theme.
"Marv came in with the idea; all he really had was the hook of the song: 'Just when I thought it couldn't get no hotter / I caught a glimpse of the farmer's daughter,'" Akins recalls. "Ben and I jumped all over it; we thought it was awesome."
Upbeat love songs are one of Akins' songwriting trademarks, and this Shelton track -- the second on this list -- is a perfect example of what happens when he and his high school buddy Ben Hayslip get together. The feel-good tune hit the top of the charts for Shelton in 2011.
Nichols' catchy 2009 hit was written by Akins along with Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip -- collectively, the Peach Pickers, a nod to their shared Georgia roots. It became Nichols' third No. 1 hit.
The second of two boots-referencing No. 1s for Pardi, "Dirt on My Boots" is an Akins-Jesse Frasure-Ashley Gorley co-write. That's a hard trio to top: In 2020, Gorley set a record as the first songwriter to earn 50 No. 1 songs across the Billboard and Mediabase charts.
Of course we have to nod to where it all started for Akins! His signature song an an artist, and the hit that launched his career to new heights after two previous Top 40 singles, "That Ain't My Truck" is an Akins-Tom Shapiro-Chris Waters co-write.
Clearly, Akins learned from some of the best: Waters' songwriting and production credits include, among others, work with Terri Clark, while among Shapiro's hits as a writer is Brooks & Dunn's "Ain't Nothin' 'Bout You."