The Dixie Chicks, made up of Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines and Emily Robison are legendary in country music: They've accumulated a total of 13 Grammy Awards, sold over 30 million albums and are the top selling all-female band and biggest-selling country group in the U.S. And throughout their career, they've had many a hit song -- with accompanying music videos, of course.
The Chicks are known for sass and saying what's on their minds -- we needn't rehash the President George W. Bush thing here -- but their music videos don't just rely on lightheartedness and fun. In fact, several of the trio's videos are hard hitting and emotive. The following are our five favorites.
"Ready to Run" is pure fun. The song itself is uptempo and, fittingly, was featured in Julia Roberts and Richard Gere's film Runaway Bride. In the music video, the Chicks are brides in a triple wedding, but halfway through walking up the aisle, they hitch up their gowns (revealing tennis shoes on their feet) and run. They jump onto a garbage truck to escape, pedal on bicycles and eventually end up at the reception hall, where a food fight and dancing are high on the agenda.
"Wide Open Spaces" was the title track to the Chicks' fourth studio album, their first with Maines as the lead singer. Not only was the album extremely popular, earning diamond status from the RIAA, the song was a hit with fans, too (and was probably the theme song for many graduating seniors in the late '90s). The "Wide Open Spaces" music video was filmed in the Rocky Mountains, where the trio explored fields of wildflowers, jumped on trampolines and hung out on their tour bus. Footage of a performance at West Fest in Winter Park, Colo., is also interspersed throughout the clip, which won a CMA Award for Music Video of the Year.
From the Chicks' fifth studio album Fly, "Goodbye Earl" is one of their most beloved songs. Its music video, featuring the trio as well as actors including Dennis Franz, Jane Krakowski and Lauren Holly, is highly entertaining. Essentially, the entire tune is acted out: Mary Ann and Wanda (played by Holly and Krakowski) are high school best friends, and their friendship runs deep. When Wanda's in trouble because of her husband Earl's abuse, Mary Ann shows up. Much like the track itself, the "Goodbye Earl" video tackles a serious subject (domestic abuse) in a lighthearted way, including Earl as a zombie, the "Thriller" dance and plenty of other laugh-out-loud moments. The clip won both the ACM Awards and CMA Awards Video of the Year trophies.
The music video for "Without You" could have easily topped this list. It's serious, and the song's longing lyrics are felt even more deeply through the clip -- plus, the contrast of "Without You" to the Chicks' other music videos is refreshing. In the video, the trio, an African-American male, a pregnant woman, a baby and others are featured without clothing, but it's not overly sexual; rather, it adds to the song's raw lyrics and shows a deeper, more soulful, unmasked version of the country stars.
On a sad note, here's a bit of "Without You" music video trivia: A note at the end of the clip reads "Dedicated to the memory of Jackson Miles Ezell, Oct. 7 – Oct. 11, 2000." When the pregnant woman in the video gave birth, her son lived for only four days.
The "Not Ready to Make Nice" music video has almost 10 million views on YouTube, and that's because it's incredible. The song is from the Dixie Chicks' Taking the Long Way record and remains the trio's biggest hit to date; it also won them three Grammy Awards. But what we want to talk about is the music video.
Black and white are the only colors featured in the clip, which was directed by Sophie Muller. Black paint, white dresses, vulnerability, anger, shame and other emotions are projected through the video, making for an extremely emotional, powerful, poignant and moving clip. Words don't do it justice -- but it's our favorite of all of the Dixie Chicks' music videos.