Martina McBride was already well on her way to establishing a career as one of the premier country vocalists of her generation by the time she scored her first No. 1 hit. McBride reached the top of the country charts with "Wild Angels" on March 2, 1996.

McBride had previously released two albums and landed hit singles including "The Way That I Am," "Life #9" and "Independence Day" by the time she released her third album, Wild Angels, in 1995. She released the album's title song as its second single in November of 1995, and it proved to be career-changing, hitting No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart the following March.

Songwriter Matraca Berg co-wrote "Wild Angels" with Gary Harrison and Harry Stinson, and she says she learned an important lesson from the experience.

"I started it with Harry," she tells The Boot. "I don’t know what we were smoking that day, but it was a very lofty, kind of poetic, lyric. I heard it [recently] and thought, 'What was I thinking?'"

The lyric juxtaposes more sophisticated verses with a straightforward chorus that simply says, "Must've been wild angels, wild angels / Watching over you and me / Wild angels, wild angels / Baby, what else could it be."

"Gary gave me an epiphany with that song," Berg states. "Get them a good, kick-a-- chorus, and you can write whatever you want to in the verses."

Following the No. 1 success of "Wild Angels," McBride's next three singles, "Phones Are Ringin' All Over Town," "Swingin' Doors" and "Cry on the Shoulder of the Road,' were all disappointments at country radio, but that dry period didn't last long. McBride's next album, Evolution, scored her two No. 1 hits with "A Broken Wing" and "Wrong Again," and she's gone on to a long string of hits that also includes "I Love You," "Blessed" and more.

Country Music's 30 Most Powerful Women Ever:

More From KLAW-FM