February 18th, 2013
10:12 AM ET
While her personal life overshadowed her career in recent years, Mindy McCready's entry into the business left behind some durable hits.
After moving to Nashville at 18, McCready became the next country star in the making with her 1996 debut album, "Ten Thousand Angels." The disc went double-platinum and spawned three top 10 country songs, including the No. 1 single "Guys Do It All The Time":
That rallying cry for equality was a favorite from that album along with the title track, "Ten Thousand Angels":
And "A Girl's Gotta Do (What A Girl's Gotta Do)":
The following year brought a new record, "If I Don't Stay the Night." Although that album didn't reach the same level of success as "Ten Thousand Angels," it was certified gold and held another memorable song in its tracklist, "You'll Never Know":
In a 1996 interview with Billboard magazine, McCready reflected on the difference between creating a smash single for the sake of climbing the charts and creating a song with heart.
"We ... neglect to remember that our song(s) might actually mean something to people. Instead, we try to cut a 'hit song,'" she said. "When I cut every song on my (first) record, I wanted them to be something that I could identify with, (to create) a bond that I would have with each of my fans as an artist."
Although the aughts brought a turbulent personal life, McCready showed tenacity with her 2010 album, "I'm Still Here," the title track for which reflected her songwriting philosophy:
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