Before he was winning awards and headlining country festivals, Chris Stapleton was a dependable country hitmaker for everyone else in Nashville.

OK, not every 21st century singer called up Stapleton for a hit, but those looking for a career-changing song often picked one the bearded one had a hand in writing. Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Blake Shelton ... it's a long list of artists who leaned heavily on Chris Stapleton songs when it mattered most — heck, Thomas Rhett did it twice!

This episode of the Secret History of Country Music explores Stapleton's songwriting catalog. The 28 songs mentioned don't make a complete list of his hits for other artists, but it shows how influential he was long before he took the stage at the 2015 CMA Awards. At least two reality TV show contestants and one American Idol singer earned fame with a Stapleton hit. Stapleton has far more No. 1 songs as a writer than he does as a singer, where despite widespread acclaim he's notched just one, "Broken Halos" in 2018.

The Boot published a list of songs Stapleton wrote for other artists that includes pop songs for Pink and Adele. He also penned traditional country songs for Travis Tritt and Alan Jackson and a drinking song for Tim McGraw that he stripped down for his Traveller album. "Whiskey and You" is among his best songs. Be honest, did you know McGraw cut it first?

Check Out Our Top 10 Chris Stapleton Songs

More From KLAW-FM