It didn't take Brad Paisley long to find chart-topping success once he was in a position to get his music out to the public. The singer-songwriter and guitarist scored his first No. 1 hit with his second single, "He Didn't Have to Be," on Dec. 11, 1999.

Paisley was actually successful straight out of the gate with his debut single, "Who Needs Pictures," which was the title song and lead single from his debut album in 1999. "Who Needs Pictures" peaked at No. 12 on Billboard's Hot Country Song chart, paving the way for "He Didn't Have to Be," which Arista Nashville released as Paisley's second single on Aug. 30.

Paisley wrote "He Didn't Have to Be" with his frequent collaborator, Kelley Lovelace, and the lyrics draw on Lovelace's special relationship with his stepson, McCain Merren.

"And then all of a sudden ah it seemed so strange to me / How we went from something's missing to a family / Lookin' back all I can say about all the things he did for me / Is I hope I'm at least half the dad that he didn't have to be," Paisley sings in the chorus.

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"I was really lucky, it wasn't like we knew what we were doing," Paisley reflected in 2010 when he released his Hits Alive collection (quote via the Boot). "I just happened [to write] that with my best friend from the bottom of my heart about his situation."

Paisley scored another hit with his third single, "Me Neither," and his fourth single, "We Danced," gave him his second No. 1 hit. Who Needs Pictures went on to sell a million copies, establishing him as one of country music's hottest up-and-coming artists. Paisley has gone on to a career that has seen him score a long string of additional No. 1 hits, including "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)," "Mud on the Tires," "The World," "Letter to Me," "Water," "Anything Like Me" and many more.

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