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Rascal Flatt's "What Hurts The Most" Turns 17 This Week. Learn The History Behind The Hit

January 13th 2023

It is safe to say that "What Hurts The Most" is one of the most iconic country songs of the early 2000s.

In an 2009 interview with Great American Country, Nashville great Jeffrey Steele he shared a little more behind the tuen. "Mark Willis wrote the song and originally cut back in 2002, but he never released it. I was a little bit sad because I was really close to the song and loved it. About a year and half later, Faith Hill cut it, so we really had our fingers crossed when she made her current album, which is out now," Steele shared.

"However, near the end of the recording they ended up dropping the song off the record," he continued. "Again, I was just really upset about it because I really loved the song and felt like it got away from us. So when I heard Rascal Flatts was going to cut it I was so excited. I always thought No one's ever going to be able to sing it because it's too high. Lo and behold, Gary LeVox from Rascal Flatts heard it and loved it. Their producer, Dan Huff, loved it and ended up making a really great record."

Clearly Steele felt that the song would blow up, and that feeling was correct. Four years later in 2006 the Rascal Flats take on the song dropped as a single from their album Me and My Gang. The track became their fifth number-one single on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. But the records didn't stop there, it peaked at number six on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band's first top 10 pop hit. In addition, the song reached number one on the Adult Contemporary charts. To round out 2006 it was the #4 song of the year according to Top Country Songs via Billboard.

The song has become a staple in the trio's discography and has spun many covers, including a dance remix from Cascada.

Nearly two decades later, the song still has an impact as one of country music's best ballads. Gary LeVox, frontman of Rascal Flatts took to social media this week to celebrate the groundbreaking track.

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