The Judds Songs: 15 of the Duo's Most Iconic and Heart-healing Hits

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“I always felt like we could conquer the world. Mom and I were like Thelma and Louise — we could do anything,” Wynonna Judd once noted to the Washington Post about the power of The Judds songs, adding, “People don’t know psychologically that umbilical cord, how strong Mom and I were as a team.” Country’s most successful mother-daughter duo sure went on to prove exactly what they were made of — and it was often gold or platinum!

The Judds songs sure had a knack for finding their way to the top of the country charts, and Wynonna and Naomi Judd not only became fan favorites but also the darlings of the awards show circuit: As a duo they collected five Grammys, seven consecutive ACM Top Vocal Duo honors and nine CMA Awards, just to name a few. In May 2022, they were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in a highly emotional ceremony, which took place just a day after the shocking and tragic death of Naomi.

RELATED: Exclusive: Wynonna Judd Reveals She Still Talks To Naomi, And How She Deals With Grief: “I’m Between Hell and Hallelujah”

“I didn’t prepare anything tonight because I knew mom would probably talk the most,” Wynonna quipped to the crowd, allowing the Judds’ trademark sense of humor to bravely shine through at such a heart-wrenching time. “It’s a very strange dynamic, to be this broken and blessed,” she continued. “Though my heart’s broken, I will continue to sing, because that’s what we do.”

Fans remain grateful for that, and Judds songs went on to be sung by Wynonna and a rotating cast of superstar guest vocalists — including Martina McBride, Ashley McBryde, Faith Hill, Brandi Carlile, and Trisha Yearwood — who filled in for Naomi during an already planned 2022 Judds reunion tour.

In 2023, Wynonna embarked on her Back to Wy tour that runs through February 2024, and says the music is still helping her grapple with the grief of losing Naomi. "I could make a lot of comments and make it sound like I’m so strong and I could say a bunch of crap," Wynonna told Woman's World in an October 2023 interview, "but the truth is honestly it was the music that has gotten me through the pain. I don’t know anything else that’s more powerful other than my faith in God."

Here are 15 Judds songs that are sure to heal hearts and help your spirit soar.

1. “Mama He’s Crazy” (1984)

“Mama he’s crazy, crazy over me.” Country fans loved this song as much as the object of Wynonna’s affection loved her in this sweet single, which became the duo’s first No. 1 hit. “He thinks I hung the moon and stars, I think he’s a livin’ dream,” Wy croons in this complete charmer of a track that so cleverly captures the mother-daughter bond between these two superstars on the rise.

2. “Why Not Me” (1984)

“You’ve been searching’ from here to Singapore. Ain’t it time that you notice the girl next door, baby? Why not me?” This No. 1 song finds the Judds coyly trying to get the recognition they deserve from a suitor.

The larger theme of the song, which was named 1985’s Single of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards, was very personal to the duo. “We were mother-daughter, [fans] knew our story and they knew that we had nothing, and they wanted to see us make it,” Wynonna noted to PBS. “We were the underdog and ‘Why Not Me’ became our anthem.”

3. “Girls Night Out” (1985)

“It’s a girls’ night out, honey there ain’t no doubt. I’m gonna dance every dance til the boys go home.” It’s some straight-up girl power in this sassy toe-tapper, which also confidently strutted its way to the top of the charts. In the lyrics, Wynonna and Naomi sing that they’ve been working their fingers to the bone, and all their toiling certainly paid off with this winner that ironically was co-written by two guys, the duo’s longtime producer Brent Maher and Jeffrey Bullock. In fact, the guys — with permission from their wives, thankfully — skipped a group dinner date to finish writing the song, Maher revealed in The Billboard Book Of Number One Country Hits.

4. “Love Is Alive” (1985)

“Love is alive and at our breakfast table, every day of the week. Love is alive and it grows every day and night, even in our sleep.” It doesn’t get much more romantic than that! And perhaps that’s why it made the perfect song for lovebirds Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani to cover for the A Tribute to the Judds album. “I’ve been singing Judd songs for as long as I can remember,” Shelton said in a statement. “‘Love Is Alive’ was on their first album, and we wanted to stick pretty close to the original version and Gwen just nails the vocals.”

5. “Have Mercy” (1985) The Judds songs

“The lipstick on your collar gives your game away. It’s strawberry red and mine’s pink rosé.” Busted! The Judds have a surprising amount of fun on this rather peppy-sounding cheating song penned by Paul Kennerley, rattling off all the ways they’ve put two and two together about a doomed relationship. “The first time they heard it they jumped up and down,” their producer Brent Maher recalled of the first time he played the future No. 1 hit for them. “I think the line that really grabbed Wynonna was, ‘I could hear you was playin’ Haggard and Jones.”

6. “Grandpa (Tell Me ’Bout the Good Old Days)” (1986)

“Grandpa, take me back to yesterday, when the line between right and wrong didn’t seem so hazy.” Arguably one of the duo’s most beloved No. 1 hits, “Grandpa” is musically a beautifully soothing song, which matches the soft, yearning lyrics by Jamie O’Hara about longing for the days where promises were kept and daddies never really go away.

Naomi “knew it was going to be a monster hit,” she told Kentucky Country Music of the Grammy-winning tune. “The minute I heard it, I thought this song just gets me. Gets me in the heart. Gets me in the gut. Gets me in the head.”

7. “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Blues” (1986)

“Sittin’ in the porch swing, listenin’ to the light rain beatin’ on the tin roof, baby, just a-me and you, rockin’ with the rhythm of the rain.” With a rhythmic guitar part to mimic that light precipitation, this tune truly soars with fun, expressive vocals from dynamic duo. It also reigned on the charts, as it rocked its way to becoming their seventh No. 1 hit. “It really worked with harmonies on it,” Naomi told The Country Note of this “ultra cool song that had such an unforgettable groove to it.”

8. “Cry Myself to Sleep” (1986) The Judds songs

“The lies you told, you know they hurt so deep. So I’ll go home, and cry myself to sleep.” Unlike “Have Mercy,” this love-gone-wrong Judds song, also written by Paul Kennerley, has a more somber tone, both musically and lyrically. An even bluesier, swampier version, featuring Trisha Yearwood and produced by Wynonna’s husband, Cactus Moser, is a stand-out track on the recently released A Tribute to the Judds. “At some points, I caught myself listening to the playback and going, ‘Wait. Is that me or is that her?’” Wynonna joked to Billboard about the stellar vocals both artists deliver on the track.

9. “I Know Where I’m Going” (1987)

“I know my destination, it’s a-waiting for me.” By now, it should come as no surprise that the the Judds were almost always destined for the top of the charts, and this catchy, earwormy song didn’t disappoint, going on to be the duo’s ninth No. 1. “There’s a definite spiritual tone to it,” Don Schlitz, who co-wrote it with Brent Maher and Craig Bickhardt, noted in The Billboard Book Of Number One Country Hits. But even with faith-forward lines that mention “sweet salvation,” Wynonna knew the track had an even broader appeal. “[Fans] can just see it as another song to boogie to, and if that’s all they get from it, that’s fine,” she insisted.

10. “Maybe Your Baby’s Got the Blues” (1987)

“When she says there’s nothing wrong, she just wants to be alone, you can bet your baby’s got the blues.” The Judds could’ve charged for the relationship insights offered on this No. 1 hit co-written by Troy Seals and Graham Lyle, the man behind Tina Turner’s smash “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” With sublime harmonies, Wynonna and Naomi gently remind their male fan base that “if you hear her cry at night, better turn on your light” and offer some tenderness because “women like men to love them through the blues sometimes.”

11. “Turn It Loose” (1988) The Judds songs

“I love the shake of a tambourine, I love the bass when it’s low and mean. So put on your shoutin’ shoes, and turn it loose.” And that’s just what Wynonna and Naomi did when they belted out this free-spirited, upbeat tune at the 1987 CMA Awards decked out in shiny black and red outfits, respectively. They nabbed Vocal Group of the Year that night, and a few months earlier they also took Top Vocal Duet honors at the ACMs, where, during their acceptance speech, Naomi thanked the broadcast’s producers for “allowing these two crazy redheads to be on national, live TV. They’re some pretty brave souls!”

12. “Give a Little Love” (1988)

“Take a little time, yeah, make a little fuss. That’s what a woman wants, so give a little love.” Though it peaked at No. 2, this is a Judds song that’s as solid as any of their 14 chart toppers, and it took the Grammy again for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal. Playing off of the theme that it’s true affection every woman wants, not fancy jewelry, clothes or material things offered by dubious sweet talkers, Wynonna and Naomi share a delightfully playful moment in the video during the line, “I ain’t gonna fall for that ’cause Mama didn’t raise no fool!”

13. “Change of Heart” (1988) The Judds songs

“I’m down on my knees, I’m begging you please, won’t you? Have a change of heart.” Written by Naomi after a split with her then partner Larry Strickland, “The song just came out beginning to end,” she says in Tom Millard’s The Judds: A Biography. “He broke my heart.… I stayed up three days and three nights, couldn’t eat or sleep.” During her intro of the song at 1988’s CMA Awards, Naomi soberly warned, “If you do happen to find the right somebody, don’t mess it up. You might not get a second chance.” Naomi and Strickland did, however, get their second chance, and the couple wed in 1989. Perhaps due to the personal nature of the song, this remains one of the duo’s more stirring vocals.

14. “Young Love, Strong Love” (1989) The Judds songs

“They’re gonna make it through the hard times, and walk those lines. Yeah, these ties will bind. Young love.” This sweet story song from Kent Robbins and Paul Kennerley traces the blossoming relationship of the narrator and her crush, Billy, from the second she first sees him (“she was sitting cross-legged on a hood of a Ford, filing down her nails with an emory board”) through their engagement, marriage and lean early years. It’s a quiet, understated testament to the power of love, which resulted in another No. 1 hit for the Judds.

The story song, which follows the characters for years, proved to be a winning recipe that Wynonna brilliantly whipped up again in 1992’s “She Is His Only Need,” her debut single as a solo artist that chronicles the emotional lifelong love story of characters named Billy and Bonnie. (Seriously, have some Kleenex handy.)

15. “Love Can Build a Bridge” (1990)

“Love can build a bridge, between your heart and mine. Love can build a bridge. Don’t you think it’s time? Don’t you think it’s time?” This song, co-written by Naomi, Paul Overstreet and John Barlow Jarvis, may have been been too pure for the cynical ’90s, as it only reached No. 5 on the charts, but it contains a powerful message that’s as timely now as it was back then.

It’s also the most bittersweet Judds song for many reasons. “I remember her telling me, ‘This is what I leave the fans with,’” Wynonna told CMT of the weight that Naomi, on the eve of retirement in 1991 due to her health struggles, was under when she wrote the classic. Sadly, just weeks after mother and daughter reunited to perform the uplifting and hopeful anthem live on the streets of Nashville at the 2022 CMT Awards, the world lost Naomi to her long battle with depression and mental health.

“She told me one time, she took my hand and she said, ‘My life is better because of you,’” Wynonna told CBS News in September 2022. Country fans, and the entire music community, can certainly say the same about the duo and all the Judds songs that still bring so much joy.

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