If you were listening to country music during the early 1990s, you are guaranteed to have heard at least one of Lee Roy Parnell's hits on the radio. Born December 21, 1956 in Abilene, Texas, Parnell came from a musical family. His father was close friends with country legend Bob Wills, who helped foster Lee Roy's talents from a young age. In a 2004 interview, Parnell said that his first radio performance was at the age of six alongside Wills and his band, the Texas Playboys, in Fort Worth, Texas. After honing his skills as a guitarist and vocalist, he moved to Nashville and inked a record deal with Arista Nashville in 1989.
Although his self-titled debut was released in 1990, Parnell didn't find fame until his breakout album Love Without Mercy supplied him with three Top 10 hits on the country charts. The success of the songs "What Kind of Fool Do You Think I Am," "Tender Moment" and title track "Love Without Mercy" marked the beginning of Parnell's mainstream country success, which continued into the mid 90s.
Over the course of his career, Parnell has released nine studio albums and more than 20 singles chart on the Billboard charts. In the 2000s, Parnell shifted to focus more on a more blues-oriented sound. He's known for his skills as an incredible slide guitarist and has played on a number of other artists' songs, including Mary Chapin Carpenter's No. 1 hit "Shut Up and Kiss Me."
Let's take a look back at some of Lee Roy Parnell's best and most beloved country hits.
"Tender Moment"From: 'Love Without Mercy' (1992)
The fourth single from Parnell's breakout record Love Without Mercy, "Tender Moment" spent an impressive 20 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before peaking at the No. 2 spot. Penned by Parnell, Rory Bourke and Cris Moore, the track tells the listener to set aside material things and remember that quality time is the best way keep your relationship happy and healthy.
"Take These Chains From My Heart"From: 'On The Road' (1993)
Originally recorded by Hank Williams in 1953, "Take These Chains From My Heart" is an aching plea for freedom that Parnell delivers with style. Released in 1994, his version also features backing vocals from Ronnie Dunn of iconic country duo Brooks & Dunn.
"We All Get Lucky Sometimes"From: 'We All Get Lucky Sometimes' (1995)
Featuring backing vocals from Mary Chapin Carpenter, Parnell's 1995 single "We All Get Lucky Sometimes" is all about the excitement and bewilderment that comes when the right kind of love finally comes along.
"On The Road"From: 'On The Road' (1993)
Written by Bob McDill, "On The Road" became a top 10 hit for Parnell and is easily one of his most recognizable tracks. A story-song that follows the paths of three characters, the 1993 tune taps into the human urge for freedom in its many forms.
"What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am"From: 'Love Without Mercy' (1992)
Peaking at the No. 2 spot on the country charts, "What Kind Of Fool Do You Think I Am" cemented Lee Roy Parnell as one of the most exciting new country artists of the early 1990s. With its irresistible electric guitar and lyrics that form the perfect kiss-off to a cold-hearted lover, it still stands as one of the catchiest songs to come out of this transformational period in country music.