Our Brooks & Dunn

Cowboys and Maria in this week's GRAMMY winners edition of Forgotten Videos
  • Kix Brooks in Brooks & Dunn's "My Maria"
January 13, 2012 -- 7:00 am PST
GRAMMY.com

Welcome to Forgotten Videos, GRAMMY winners edition. For some, these videos are forgotten, for others just filed away, and for others still, a totally brand-new discovery. Our aim is to take you on a little trip down memory lane or help you discover new music, GRAMMY style.

Brooks & Dunn
"My Maria"
1996

A desolate valley at sunset. Sounds of wolfs howling in the distance. A lone cowboy riding a horse through shallow river. These are images you'd likely see paired with songs by old-school outlaw country artists. But instead they serve as the backdrop for the beginning of Brooks & Dunn's 1996 Billboard Country Singles No. 1 hit, the GRAMMY-winning "My Maria."

The song's opening upbeat chord progression leads one to believe Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn have something happy to sing about, and they do … sort of. The song is about Maria, the long-lost love of either Brooks or Dunn (whose heart once belonged to Maria isn't clear in this video as both seem to be longing for her … though Brooks is the one out on a search). For Brooks & Dunn, Maria is the "sunlight when the skies are grey," and Dunn's yodeling of Maria's name in the song wouldn't lead anyone to doubt how much she's loved and missed. But in a twist, it seems Brooks wins Maria in the end, and the two are led by horseback to a reunion in the desert. Dunn must be a really good friend to sing a song about a woman whom his friend is in love. As for Maria's first love, that could have been Austin-based singer/songwriter B.W. Stevenson, who wrote and recorded the original Top 10 hit in 1973.

Considered the kings of the '90s line-dancing phenomenon, Brooks & Dunn are one of the biggest-selling duos in country music history. The two first met in Nashville, where Brooks was working as a songwriter, crafting hits for artists such as John Conlee, Highway 101 and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The pair were introduced by Arista Records executive Tim DuBois and, after recording a few songs together, Brooks & Dunn signed with the label. Their debut album, 1991's Brand New Man, peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 and spawned an impressive four Country Singles hits with the title track, "My Next Broken Heart," "Neon Moon," and dance floor-favorite "Boot Scootin' Boogie." The latter song garnered the duo their first GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal in 1992.

Brooks & Dunn followed with Hard Workin' Man in 1993, again peaking in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200. The duo earned their first GRAMMY for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for the title track. Waitin' On Sundown followed in 1994 and marked the duo's first No. 1 on the Country Albums chart. The album spawned three No. 1 Country Singles hits: "She's Not The Cheatin' Kind," "Little Miss Honky Tonk" and "You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone." Released in 1996, Borderline peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and featured "My Maria." Brooks & Dunn pushed "My Maria" to No. 1 on the Country Singles Chart, along with "A Man This Lonely," marking 10 No. 1 country hits for the duo. Borderline earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Country Album and "My Maria" took home the gold for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

Brooks & Dunn continued to release additional Top 10 country albums, including If You See Her (1998), Tight Rope (1999), Steers And Stripes (2001), Red Dirt Road (2004), Hillbilly Deluxe (2005), and Cowboy Town (2007). Their string of GRAMMY nominations continued as well, with their last coming in 2009 for Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal for "Cowgirls Don't Cry," bringing their total career nods to date to 15. Their final nomination came in conjunction with the duo's announcement in 2009 that they were calling it quits.

"This ride has been everything and more than we could ever have dreamed," Brooks & Dunn had wrote in a message on their website. "We owe it all to you, the fans."

We're sure they still owe it to Maria, too.

Do you love Maria? Got any Forgotten Video recommendations? Leave us a comment.

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