Born Sept. 26, 1960, Doug Supernaw first formed a connection with country music during his youth. His mother's love of the genre introduced him to greats like George Jones, whom Supernaw would later reference as a lasting influence on his career.
The Texas native made his way to Nashville in the late 1980s and began working as a songwriter, but his career didn't take off in the way he had hoped. In the early 1990s, Supernaw spent a stint in his home state before returning to Music City to begin a new chapter. In 1993, he inked a deal with a division of RCA Records and released his debut record, Red and Rio Grande later that year. His singles "Reno" and "I Don't Call Him Daddy," which Kenny Rogers released in 1988, became massive hits on the country charts.
Over the next few years, Supernaw released a string of well-received singles and records but never found the same success as he did with his debut release. After stepping away for most of the early 2000s, he released new recordings of his most successful tracks for his 2017 Greatest Hits collection. Supernaw continued to actively perform live until 2019 when he revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage IV lung and bladder cancer.
Supernaw died on Nov. 13, 2020 at the age of 60, but his music and legacy are forever cemented in country music history.
Let's take a look back at 10 of his most impactful and beloved hits.
"She Never Looks Back"From: 'You Still Got Me' (1995)
This heartfelt story-song from You Still Got Me finds Supernaw trying to navigate the pain of a broken relationship and its effects on their children.
"State Fair"From: 'Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind' (1994)
Released in 1994, this heartbreaking single introduces listeners to a character named Calvin, the narrator's second cousin, who is tragically killed while driving to the state fair. Supernaw taps into the pain of loss and the long process of healing in this standout track.
"Honky Tonkin' Fool"From: 'Red and Rio Grande' (1993)
The lead track on Red and Rio Grande is a tear-in-my-beer country tune through and through. The expertly written cut introduces listeners to a hardened honky-tonker who wants to spend every last moment he has with his beloved jukebox — even after his time on Earth ends.
"You Never Even Call Me By My NameFrom: 'Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind' (1994)
In 1995, Supernaw tapped country heavyweights Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and Charley Pride to join him for a cover of David Allan Coe's trademark tune "You Never Even Call Me By My Name." Although their rendition only made it to No. 60 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, it stands as one of Supernaw's best career collaborations.
"Long Tall Texan"From: 'Stars and Stripes Vol. 1' (1996)
Many country fans may not realize that Supernaw teamed up with the Beach Boys for their country-focused collaborative album Stars and Stripes Vol. 1. They put their own spin on the classic novelty tune "Long Tall Texan," which was written by the late Nashville A-Team studio musician Henry Strzelecki.
"Red and Rio Grande"From: 'Red and Rio Grande' (1993)
Penned by Supernaw and Lonnie Atkinson, this stunning track served as the title track from the Texas native's breakout debut record. The song is a heartfelt tribute to his home state, which feels even more impactful following Supernaw's passing.
"As I travel down that blue bonnet highway / I'm thankful I was born a lucky man," he sings. "And I know that I will live and die my own way / Somewhere between the Red and Rio Grande."
"What'll You Do About Me"From: 'Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind' (1994)
This slightly spooky cut from Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Mind finds Supernaw stepping into the shoes of a man obsessing over a woman he once shared the night with. The track, which was previously recorded and released by Randy Travis, the Forrester Sisters and Steve Earle, made it all the way to No. 16 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.
"Reno"From: 'Red and Rio Grande' (1993)
The 1993 release of "Reno" marked the jumpstart of Supernaw's country music career. In the tune, he playfully compares his lover to the imagery of Reno, Nev. and the bright lights of its casinos. The song was a big hit for Supernaw, climbing to No. 4 on the country charts.
"Not Enough Hours in the Night"From: 'You Still Got Me' (1995)
Co-written by Aaron Barker, Ron Harbin and Kim Williams, Supernaw's lead single from You Still Got Me is a dreamy love song about savoring moments spent together while wishing they didn't have to end so soon.
"I Don't Call Him Daddy"From: 'Red and Rio Grande' (1993)
Supernaw's most commercially successful and widely-loved single is arguably "I Don't Call Him Daddy," which was selected as his third single from Red and Rio Grande. The heart-wrenching track about a divorced father trying to stay connected while sharing custody of his son won over country listeners immediately.
"I Don't Call Him Daddy" hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in 1993, marking the only single of his career to top the airplay charts.