Craig Wiseman

Induction Year: 2015

Birth Name: Craig Michael Wiseman

Birth Date: 08-04-1963

Place of Birth: Selma, Alabama

Craig Wiseman is one of the most prolific and honored Nashville songwriters of his generation. During his first three decades on Music Row, he co-wrote more than 1,000 songs. “The Good Stuff,” co-written with Jim Collins and recorded by Kenny Chesney, was the 2003 ASCAP Country Song of the Year. “Live Like You Were Dying,” a 2004 Tim McGraw hit, won the Best Country Song Grammy Award, as well as CMA and ACM Song of the Year honors for Wiseman and collaborator Tim Nichols. The Brooks & Dunn hit “Believe,” co-written with Ronnie Dunn, was named the CMA and ACM Song of the Year in 2006.

Raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Craig Wiseman grew up playing drums and guitar. After graduating from high school, he attended the University of Southern Mississippi sporadically between playing six nights a week locally and going on the road with various bands – including one band where the manger ran off with their pay and left a few stranded in Florida busking and finding gigs to get home.

As a fledgling songwriter, Wiseman moved to Nashville in 1985. His first week, he lived in his van and took showers at a KOA campground. Wiseman landed a job playing drums for Billy Bob Shane & The Overtime Band in area nightspots for seven nights a week at $25 a night. He found a cheap apartment, then a small house. The house was burglarized, and Wiseman lost all his possessions. With the insurance money, he bought an eight-track recording system and spent the next few months writing and recording relentlessly, without a television or anything else to distract him.

Wiseman’s first recorded song came in 1989. He co-wrote “The Only One” with Wesley Orbison, whose father Roy Orbison recorded it on his million-selling final album, Mystery Girl. The songwriter signed his first publishing contract in 1990 when Almo/Irving offered him a deal. He got his first #1 hit in 1994 with Tracy Lawrence’s version of “If the Good Die Young,” co-written with Paul Nelson. In 1997, he was named both NSAI’s and Music Row magazine’s Songwriter of the Year.

In 2000, Craig Wiseman signed with BMG Publishing. Hits by Chesney, McGraw, Phil Vassar, Brooks & Dunn and others ensued as his song catalog continued to grow. During his three years at BMG, more than 60 of his songs were recorded and 22 of them became singles. In 2003, he was named ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year.

He formed his own publishing company, Big Loud Shirt, in late 2003. His first single with his firm was the blockbuster “Live Like You Were Dying.” It not only won numerous awards, it inspired a companion book that became a New York Times Bestseller. In 2005 and 2007, Wiseman was again named ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year. The organization presented him with its Heritage Award in 2014 as the most-performed country songwriter of the past century.

Wiseman’s songs have been recorded by hundreds of artists, including Faith Hill, Blake Shelton, Toby Keith, Jennifer Hudson, Dolly Parton, Lee Roy Parnell, LeAnn Rimes, George Jones, Chris Young, Diamond Rio, Montgomery Gentry, Lonestar, Florida Georgia Line, Joe Diffie, Tracy Byrd, Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis, Aaron Tippin, Thomas Rhett, Craig Morgan, Jason Aldean, Confederate Railroad, Nickleback and Deana Carter. By 2015, with more 90 million albums sold, 350 of his songs recorded and over 110 singles he had been credited with 23 #1 hits.

"A Baby Changes Everything"

(written with Tim Nichols, K.K. Wiseman)

Faith Hill2008 #1 Adult Contemporary, #36 Country

"A Little Bit Of You"

(written with Trey Bruce)

Lee Roy Parnell1995 #2 Country

"Ain't Back Yet"

(written with Chris Tompkins)

Kenny Chesney2010 #3 Country


(written with Ronnie Dunn)

2005 ACM Song of the Year; 2006 CMA Song & Single of the Year

Brooks & Dunn2005 #8 Country
Jennifer Hudson2011 

"Boys 'Round Here"

(written with Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson)

Blake Shelton w/ Pistol Annies & Friends2013 #1 country, #12 pop

"Chalk Outline"

(written with Adam Gontier, Neil Sanderson, Barry Stock , Brad Walst)

Three Days Grace2012 #1 Rock


(written with Mike Reid)

Tim McGraw1997 #1 Country

"Hillbilly Bone"

(written with Luke Laird)

Blake Shelton w/ Trace Adkins2009 #1 Country

"Hillbilly Deluxe"

(written with Brad Crisler)

Brooks & Dunn2007 #16 Country

"If The Good Die Young"

(written with Paul Nelson)

Tracy Lawrence1994 #1 Country

"Just Another Day In Paradise"

(written with Phil Vassar)

Phil Vassar2000 #1 Country

"Live Like You Were Dying"

(written with Tim Nichols)

2004 Grammy Award for Best Country Song; 2004 ACM Song & Single of the Year; 2004 CMA Song & Single of the Year

Tim McGraw2004 #1 country, #4 adult contemporary

"Love Is A Beautiful Thing"

(written with Jeffrey Steele)

Paul Brandt1999 #38 Country
Phil Vassar2008 #2 Country

"Love Me If You Can"

(written with Chris Wallin)

Toby Keith2007 #1 Country

"She's Got It All"

(written with Drew Womack)

Kenny Chesney1997 #1 Country

"Someone Else's Dream"

(written with Trey Bruce)

Faith Hill1996 #3 Country

"Something's Gotta Give"

(written with Tony Mullins)

LeAnn Rimes2006 #2 Country


(written with Steve McEwan)

Kenny Chesney2006 #1 country

"That's What It's All About"

(written with Steve McEwan)

Brooks & Dunn2004 #2 Country

"The Cowboy In Me"

(written with Al Anderson, Jeffrey Steele)

Tim McGraw2002 #1 Country

"The Good Stuff"

(written with Jim Collins)

2003 ASCAP Country Song of the Year; 2002 ACM Single of the Year

Kenny Chesney2002 #1 country

"The Woman With You"

(written with David Frasier)

Kenny Chesney2004 #2 Country


(written with Chris Tompkins, Chris Young)

Chris Young2011 #1 Country

"Walkin' Away"

(written with Annie Roboff)

Diamond Rio1996 #2 Country

"Where The Green Grass Grows"

(written with Jess Leary)

Tim McGraw1998 #1 Country


(written with Steve McEwan, Naoise Sheridan)

Kenny Chesney2002 #2 Country

Craig Wiseman

Induction Year: 2015