Good country songs

Good country songs DEFAULT

What are the all-time greatest country songs? These 100 top our list

How do you make a sprawling list of 100 tunes seem criminally short? Try to squeeze the greatest country songs of all time into that space.

As we considered a century's worth of story-driven songcraft, we did our darndest to make sure all of the greats were recognized. And when we say "of all time," we mean all time. 

Every era is reflected here, from the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers' historic recordings to the reign of the "Nashville Sound," outlaws, singing cowboys and pop crossovers.

And before you shake your fists and grumble furiously about how the list forgot "Friends in Low Places" or gave "9 to 5" the short stick, let's establish one basic rule: One song per artist, with the exception being duets.  

One song from Cash. One song from Garth. And, yes, as tough as it can be, only one song from Dolly. 

Now, dust off your turntable (or boot up Spotify) and travel through 100 of the greatest tracks to come from Music City, Bakersfield and beyond. 

Agree or disagree? We want to hear from you: Join us on Reddit at 12 p.m. CDT Tuesday, Aug. 27 for an AMA with the writers who compiled this list

Dolly Parton performs at Murphy Center on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro on Nov. 1, 1986.

COUNTRY MILE: Artists, songs and lyrics take us through the rich history of country music

Dolly Parton — "Jolene" 

Evocative and woeful, Parton's marquee recording crosses genre and generations — a once-in-a-world song without boundaries. 

Tim McGraw — “Live Like You Were Dying”

McGraw's 2004 ballad reminds listeners to love deeper, speak sweeter and give forgiveness that you've been denying. 

Tammy Wynette — “Stand By Your Man” 

Five decades removed from hitting airwaves, and country music faithful still stand tall for Wynette and her booming chorus. 

Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss — “Whiskey Lullaby” 

It's known for its layered, mournful instrumentation, but it's the ballad's devastating storytelling and Paisley's ability to softly serenade that makes "Whiskey Lullaby" one of country's best modern cuts. 

Alan Jackson — “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” 

The country music Class of 1989 returns to the all-time list, this time asking a question in the shadow of a generation-defining event. 

Patsy Montana — "I Want to be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart"

In 1935, this jaunty tune became the first country song by a female artist to sell more than 1 million copies. It's since been covered by everyone from Patti Page to Cyndi Lauper and Phish.

Clint Black — "Killin’ Time"

On his 1989 chart-topper, Black tried — and failed — to drink a woman off of his mind.

Eric Church — “Springsteen”

Church expertly captures a fleeting feeling chased by all musicians — like the chorus says, “Sometimes a melody sounds like a memory.” 

Chris Stapleton — "Tennessee Whiskey"

With a rough but welcoming warmth, Stapleton croons a rendition of this country classic that’s worth toasting for years to come.

George Jones — “He Stopped Loving Her Today” 

The years go slowly by, but Jones still preys upon our minds. 

Deanna Carter — "Strawberry Wine" 

A commercial and critical success still filling Lower Broadway taverns with a chorus that offers "My first taste of love, oh bittersweet." 

Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton — “Islands in the Stream”

One of the biggest pop-country crossovers in history, the beloved duet has lived on through remixes and constant karaoke rotation.

The Judds — “Why Not Me”

With the title track of their debut album, mother and daughter Naomi and Wynonna Judd made their case for being the biggest country duo of the ‘80s.

Conway Twitty — "Hello Darlin' "

This self-penned tune became Twitty’s signature song, about a guy who can’t get over the woman he wronged and lost. 

Loretta Lynn — “Coal Miner's Daughter" 

A song, a film and a way of life for a generation raised on Lynn's working-class honesty. 

Kris Kristofferson — “Sunday Morning Coming Down”

Cash made it famous, but no song may better exemplify the power and impact of  Kristofferson's pen. 

Don Williams — “Good Ole Boys Like Me”

During the song's 1980 release and beyond, Williams explains why "we're all gonna be what we're gonna be." 

Jimmie Rodgers — “Blue Yodel (T for Texas)” 

Recorded more than 90 years ago, "T for Texas" is considered by many to be the premier song from a blue yodelin' father to the genre. 

Carter Family — “Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)”

A torch-bearing call for country music that’s still celebrated on stages today.

Ray Price — “Heartaches by the Number” 

It spent 40 weeks on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart and 60 years at the top of mind for 1950s country classics. 

Rosanne Cash — “Seven Year Ache” 

Covered in drum loops and 1980s synthesized production, it's Rosanne Cash's sorrow that stands the test of time.  

Steve Earle — “Guitar Town”

A foot-stomping country-rock tribute to wanderlust down a lost highway. 

Old Crow Medicine Show — “Wagon Wheel” 

Sure, Darius Rucker made it a hit, but little comes close to experiencing Old Crow howling this singalong for thousands of invested onlookers.  

Jeannie C. Riley — “Harper Valley PTA”  

A fictional Tennessee scandal that took Riley to the top of Billboard's Hot 100 chart. 

Miranda Lambert — “The House That Built Me” 

The fastest-rising single of Lambert’s career remains a haunting exploration of her music's ability to resonate for repeated listens.

Kitty Wells — “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” 

Two-and-a-half minutes of truth that launched a career for this Tennessee legend. 

Jerry Reed — “Eastbound and Down” 

Country music's best addition to soundtrack canon? Maybe — it's the most lively, at least. 

Roger Miller — “King of the Road” 

A soft tap on the bass, a snap of the finger and Miller's off to croon listeners with his 1964 vagabond tale. 

Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson — “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” 

Two of the genre’s finest unite for a heartfelt warning that cowboys “never stay home and they’re always alone, even with someone they love.” 

George Strait and Alan Jackson — “Murder on Music Row”

"Someone killed country music/ Cut out its heart and soul,” Strait laments on the seething duet. It was released in 2000, but the sentiment still strikes a chord today.

Bobbie Gentry — “Ode to Billie Joe” 

What did Billie Joe throw off the bridge? Regardless of the answer, Gentry captivates with every word. 

Vince Gill — “Go Rest High on That Mountain” 

An awe-inspiring musical eulogy from Gill, delivered best during times when something moving needs to be heard. 

Johnny Cash — “I Walk the Line” 

Cash released his ode to temptation in 1956, cementing words in musical history that hold true in 2019.

Marty Robbins — “El Paso” 

Complemented by Spanish picking, "El Paso" offers a bloody romance worthy of western songwriting. 

Keith Whitley — “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” 

The last single released during Whitley's lifetime shows the singer peacefully reminding listeners that "I've fought with the devil, got down on his level/ But I never gave in, so he gave up on me." 

Eddy Arnold — "The Cattle Call" 

The Tennessee Plowboy yodels his lonesome call, a sound that would shape country to come. 

Reba McEntire — “Fancy”

Written by Bobbie Gentry in 1969, the almighty Reba unleashed fire with her show-closing 1990 version of this song. 

Buck Owens — “Act Naturally” 

A love song for the starry-eyed dreamers wishing about one day being put in the movies. 

Trisha Yearwood — “Walkaway Joe” 

Zeal turns awry in the beloved 1990s ballad from Yearwood. 

Lady Antebellum — "Need You Now"

Behind the band's gorgeous harmony, Lady A sings of a longing some may know too well. 

Shania Twain — "Man! I Feel Like a Woman"

The 1990s country anthem passed from Generation X mothers for millennial daughters to make their own. 

Taylor Swift — “Mean” 

In a characteristically triumphant move, Swift turns a tune about scathing critics into the brightest addition of her country music catalog.

Vern Gosdin — “Chiseled in Stone” 

A tear-jerking ballad worthy of the Country Music Association's Song of the Year award in 1989. 

Blake Shelton — "Ol' Red"

Before it was a chain of bars, Ol’ Red was the prison dog that helped Shelton’s character bust out (thanks to his cousin’s bluetick hound.)

Ronnie Milsap — "Smoky Mountain Rain"

Homecoming leads to heartbreak on Milsap's 1980 chart-topper, wherein the singer "thumbed my way from L.A. back to Knoxville," only to find his love has moved on.

Tom T. Hall — "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine"

"The Storyteller" drew from a real-life encounter for one of his greatest tales. During a trip to Miami, he met a janitor at his hotel, who told him there were "three things in this world that's worth a solitary dime."

George Strait — “Amarillo By Morning” 

The King of Country Music subtly parades his royal status with a crisp story from the road. 

Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys — “Stay a Little Longer” 

A taste of traditional western swing that simply asks listeners to dance all night and stay a little longer. 

Alabama — “My Home's in Alabama" 

Country music's 6½-minute calling card to the South. 

Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons — “Love Hurts” 

Nearly 60 years since being initially released — and 45 years since Harris and Parsons' duet — yes, love can still hurt. 

Ricky Skaggs — “Country Boy” 

A slick-picking piece of country music (and No. 1 hit) from one of the finest to pick up an instrument. 

Ernest Tubb — “Walking the Floor Over You” 

A 1941 entry in which Tubbs shares a restlessness in a simple chorus: "I'm walking the floor over you/ I can't sleep a wink, that is true. I'm hoping and I'm praying as my heart breaks right in two/ Walking the floor over you."  

Glen Campbell — “Rhinestone Cowboy”

"Rhinestone Cowboy" defined Campbell's career. It was a country-pop hit that kept the singer balanced between each world. 

Carrie Underwood — “Before He Cheats”

Country music has its share of anthems for scorned women, but Underwood’s signature song is the gold standard. An instant classic upon its release in 2006.

Charley Pride — “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” 

With the biggest of his dozens of hits, the Country Music Hall of Famer shared the key to marital bliss: “Kiss an angel good morning/ And love her like the devil when you get back home.”

David Allan Coe — “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”

John Prine didn’t want credit when he co-wrote this kiss-off to Music Row. But it was the perfect message to be delivered by Coe, perhaps country music’s most infamous outsider.

Willie Nelson — “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain”  

The Red Headed Stranger narrates a story of emotional messiness with soothing clarity. 

Johnny Paycheck — “Take This Job and Shove It” 

It spawned an eternal catchphrase, but don’t forget there’s another layer to Paycheck’s lone chart-topper: “My woman done left and took all the reasons I was working for.”

Tanya Tucker — “Delta Dawn” 

Recorded when she was just 13, Tanya Tucker’s first haunting hit is ironically about an aging Southern belle, one who's under the delusion that a long-gone suitor is still coming for her.

Patsy Cline — “Crazy”

It’s been covered by the likes of Neil Young, LeAnn Rimes and Linda  Ronstadt, but no artist captured Willie Nelson’s lyrical poignancy the way Cline did with her 1961 version. 

Keith Urban — “Somebody Like You" 

Urban sounds unstoppable on his 2002 chart-topper, a love song that's also wrapped up in his personal redemption.

Garth Brooks — “The Dance” 

What one song could possibly capture the career of this country music giant? How about the 1990 entry showcasing Brooks’ unparalleled ability to embody a story worth singing for decades to come? 

Charlie Rich — “Behind Closed Doors” 

Country love songs didn't get much more suggestive than Rich's 1973 hit.

Tennessee Ernie Ford — "Sixteen Tons"

It may be one of country’s most depressing songs, and in this genre, that’s saying something. Ford’s beyond saving in his 1955 recording, as he’s “sold my soul to the company store.” 

Dwight Yoakam — “Guitars, Cadillacs” 

When he found himself in Hollywood with a broken heart and shattered dreams, Yoakam clung to hope with his "guitars, Cadillacs (and) hillbilly music." Soon enough, it made him one of country's biggest stars.

Hank Williams Jr. — “Family Tradition” 

While he explained that he was only following in his dad’s rowdy footsteps, “Bocephus” also truly stepped out of Hank Sr.’s shadow with this 1979 smash. 

Oak Ridge Boys — "Elvira"

Giddy-up! We dare you to name a song that’s more fun to sing than this Oaks “oom-poppa” classic (named after an East Nashville street).

Ray Charles — "You Don't Know Me"

Charles’ heartbreaking spin on the Eddy Arnold/Cindy Walker song is the pinnacle of his landmark album “Modern Sounds in Country & Western Music.”

Kenny Rogers — “The Gambler” 

Raise a glass to timeless advice. 

Little Big Town — “Girl Crush”

Some radio programmers were terrified of this 2014 song — in which Karen Fairchild sings of wanting to “taste (the) lips” of the woman who has her love interest’s attention — but listeners, critics and Music Row gave it a full embrace.

Lee Brice — “I Drive Your Truck”

Brice’s powerful 2012 hit was inspired by a true story of a father who found comfort in driving the truck once owned by his son, who’d been killed while serving in Afghanistan. 

Lacy J. Dalton — "16th Avenue"

Several years after she found country stardom, Dalton made sure to tip her hat to those still chasing their dream on Nashville’s Music Row — aka 16th Avenue South.

Porter Wagoner — “The Green, Green Grass of Home” 

Before Tom Jones, Elvis and dozens of others put their spin on Curly Putman's classic, Wagoner first made it a hit. In a devastating twist, it turns out he's dreaming of his hometown while on death row.

Merle Haggard — “Mama Tried” 

A slippy lead guitar, Haggard's sketched storytelling ... California country with "Mama Tried." 

Randy Travis — “Forever and Ever, Amen” 

Travis lays out his devotion in his signature song, and listeners haven't stopped loving it since its release in 1987.

Roy Acuff — “Wabash Cannonball”

This folk song about a mighty train had already been passed down for generations when Acuff cut it in 1936, and his version helped the "Wabash" legend spread around the world.

Guy Clark — "Desperados Waiting for a Train"

Clark penned a beautiful tribute to his grandmother's boyfriend, Jack Prigg, "an old school man of the world" who would sing "Red River Valley" with the budding songwriter.

Brooks & Dunn — "Believe"

The country duo won multiple awards for this soulful ballad of unwavering faith.

The Highwaymen — "Highwayman"

Only songwriting great Jimmy Webb could conjure up an epic theme worthy of country's greatest supergroup, composed of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson.

Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers — "All the Gold in California"

In soaring three-part harmony, the Gatlins issued a warning to all who head west with stars in their eyes: "It don't matter at all where you've played before/

California's a brand-new game."

Charlie Daniels Band — "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"

In 1979, Daniels found the perfect showcase for his fiery fiddle technique — a familiar tale about a boy named Johnny who makes a bet with the devil (and wins).

Joe Diffie — “John Deere Green”

Against all odds, tractors have nothing to do with Diffie's 1993 song. Instead, "John Deere Green" is the color used to paint "Billy Bob loves Charlene" on the town's water tower.

Earl Thomas Conley — "Holding Her and Loving You"

It doesn’t have a chorus, but “Holding Her and Loving You” has quite a hook. Conley counts down the hardest things he'll ever do, and the song's title tops the list.

Dixie Chicks — "Wide Open Spaces"

With the title track of their breakthrough album — about a young woman who's ready to spread her wings — the Dixie Chicks truly took flight.

Kacey Musgraves — "Follow Your Arrow"

On top of taking mainstream country into new territory with its "Kiss lots of boys/ Or kiss lots of girls" line, "Follow Your Arrow" was a powerful mission statement from Musgraves, as she's proven to have great artistic instincts. 

Patty Loveless — "How Can I Help You Say Goodbye"

"Time will ease your pain," Loveless sang. That may be true, but this tearjerker about carrying on after a move, a divorce and the death of a parent still stings 25 years later. 

Sugarland — “Stay” 

What if "Jolene" could have given her side of the story? On Sugarland's massive 2007 hit, Jennifer Nettles sings from the perspective of a mistress, who begs her lover to stay before deciding she's tired of waiting.

Martina McBride — "Independence Day"

It's often falsely assumed to be a patriotic song, but McBride's triumphant anthem is actually about a woman breaking free of an abusive relationship.

Lee Ann Womack — "I Hope You Dance"

Whether you're singing it to your kids, a loved one or yourself, Womack's plea to live life to the fullest and take chances truly resonates.

K.T. Oslin — "80's Ladies"

Oslin rocketed through the decades on her 1987 hit, which fittingly sounds very much like a product of its time. "Now we're 80's ladies/ There ain't been much these ladies ain't tried."

John Anderson — "Swingin’ "

Sure, it's about swinging on the porch (is it really, though?), but few country hits have strutted the way Anderson's feisty, horn-spiked 1983 hit does. 

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band — "Fishin’ in the Dark"

"You and me going fishing in the dark/ Lying on our backs and counting the stars." NGDB's classic is all about simple pleasures, and listening to it is one, too.

Kenny Chesney — “The Good Stuff”

Kenny's bartender teaches him a valuable lesson: "The good stuff" isn't booze; it's the memories you make with your loved ones.

George Jones and Tammy Wynette — "Golden Ring"

George and Tammy's greatest duet explains that "only love" can transform a "cold metallic thing" into something more.

Luke Bryan — “Drink a Beer”

Bryan didn't write this song, but he made a powerful connection to it, relating it to the deaths of his brother and sister. He sings about learning of the death of a friend and going to the pier they would sit at to "watch the sunset disappear and drink a beer."

Lefty Frizzell — "If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time"

Some things never change. In 1950, Frizzell kicked off his celebrated career with this No. 1 tune about painting the town red and going "honky tonkin.'"

Toby Keith — "How Do You Like Me Now"

Keith was already an established star, but he didn't really crank up the attitude until this 1999 hit, in which he rubs his success in the face of an unrequited love.

Waylon Jennings — "Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line"

"Everybody knows you've been stepping on my toes/ And I'm getting pretty tired of it." The outlaw legend is barely holding it together on his seething 1968 hit.

Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt — "Even Cowgirls Get the Blues"

The iconic trio finds exquisite harmony on a Rodney Crowell composition. 

Hank Williams — “Your Cheatin’ Heart” 

Some consider this Williams entry, a can't-miss in country music history, to define the genre. 

Sours: https://www.tennessean.com/story/entertainment/music/2019/08/25/best-country-music-songs-all-time/1760586001/

25 Best Country and Americana Songs of 2019

Country and Americana songwriters reflected the grim mood of 2019 in a variety of ways, whether leaning completely into it, retreating to somewhere more fun, or finding ways to rise above.

Kelsey Waldon and Hailey Whitters crafted biographical songs about struggle and success that resonated far and wide. Yola, Morgan Wallen, and Runaway June looked at (or, in Wallen’s case, refused to look at) the dissolution of relationships from different angles. Midland just wanted to cut loose and have some fun, while Runaway June aimed to reclaim independence.

Maren Morris, the Highwomen (of which Morris is a member), and Our Native Daughters all made powerful statements about womanhood. Vince Gill and Emily Scott Robinson both crafted songs about the epidemic of sexual abuse, while acoustic group Che Apalache pledged solidarity with immigrants crossing our southern border.

Luke Combs, Chris Young, and Jason Hawk Harris provided tear-jerking songs about life and death. And Tanya Tucker, making a welcome return, demanded a celebration of her existence while she’s still alive and kickin’.

And, of course, “Old Town Road” took one hell of a ride.

Here are the 25 best country and Americana songs of 2019.

Sours: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country-lists/best-country-music-songs-2019-924433/
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Over the last 50 years or so, the sounds of country music have certainly evolved, but there are a few (OK, more than a few) songs that will always be genre classics. Iconic artists like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, and George Strait paved the way for others like Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire to follow, which provides a well-rounded gallery of music to consider for our top 20 country songs of all time. Yes, somehow, we managed to narrow them down to 20. But chances are, even if you’re not a country fan, you’ve heard these timeless hits before.

1“I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash

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And basically every other Cash song! This one’s basically a no brainer, as Johnny Cash’s legendary footprint on country music—and music in general—is irrefutable. “I Walk The Line,” though, is perhaps his most iconic song, being his first big hit that lingered on Billboard’s Top 200 charts for 23 weeks upon release. In 2014, Rolling Stone gave it the number one spot on its list of 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time.

2“Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter

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OK yes, technically this is another Cash track, but because it’s a duet with June Carter, “Jackson” got its own spot on the list. This song is equally as iconic as “Walk the Line,” and it earned the pair their first career Grammy in 1968 for Best Country and Western Performance, Duet, Trio Or Group.

3“Stand by Your Man” by Tammy Wynette

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This Wynette hit is as controversial as it is popular. In 2003, it claimed the top rank on CMT’s list of 100 greatest country songs, and it became her career’s most successful track by far, peaking at number one on Billboard’s Hot Country chart in 1968.

However, it was scrutinized by the women’s liberation movement of the time, which called it anti-feminist by nature. Wynette’s response to the criticism was candid. “A woman should be equal to a man for anything she’s capable of doing, but I still feel there’s a lot of things she isn’t capable of doing. Physically,” she reportedly told Melody Maker magazine.

4“The Dance” by Garth Brooks

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Brooks is known for a good tearjerker, but “The Dance” was one of his first. It released with his debut, 1989 self-titled album, and, according to Rolling Stone, quickly became his second number one hit. “‘The Dance’ will be the greatest success as a song we will ever do,” Brooks told Playboy in 1994, per Rolling Stone. “I’ll go to my grave with ‘The Dance.’ It’ll probably always be my favorite song.”

6“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver

7 “Rhinestone Cowboy” by Glen Campbell

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This gleeful Campbell track is so catchy that it immediately stuck with both country and pop audiences, climbing both genres’ charts and eventually ending up at number one on the Hot 100 list for two weeks.

8“Always on My Mind” by Willie Nelson

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Hundreds of versions of “Always on My Mind” have been recorded over the years, including a notable one by Elvis Presley. But country fans have always adored Nelson’s take. In 1982, the version won Grammys for Song of the Year, Best Country Song, and Best Male Country Vocal Performance.

9“Galveston” by Glen Campbell

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This track was another easy hit for Campbell because it’s quintessential country. Try not to get the chorus stuck in your head.

11“Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn

12“Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks

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Nothing unites a dive bar full of people like “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond and this Brooks hit. It won Single of the Year at the 1991 Country Music Awards and Academy of Country Music Awards, and will always be in the jukebox rotation.

13“The Gambler” by Kenny Rogers

14“Amarillo by Morning” by George Strait

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Strait has plenty of hits, and surprisingly enough, this isn’t his biggest one. Plus, it’s a cover that was originally written by Terry Stafford and Paul Fraser. Still, it remains one of his signature songs and was named one of the top 100 Western songs by Western Writers of America. It also has over 83 million plays on Spotify.

15“These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” by Nancy Sinatra

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Even Nancy Sinatra, who recorded this classic number, could smell a hit coming before it released in 1966. “I knew what this record had. It does happen—you actually feel a hit,” she said of the song, according to her website. “I had been recording for almost six years without such a feeling. I just knew we had a hit.” And she was right.

17“I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline

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According to Rolling Stone, Cline was hesitant to record this ballad after it was passed over by Brenda Lee. Her producer, Owen Bradley, managed to talk her into it, and thank God he did, because it became her first number one hit.

19“Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw

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This emotional, but powerful track quickly stole the hearts of many when McGraw released it on his album of the same name in 2004. It peaked on Billboard’s Top 200 for 86 weeks and swept the country category of awards season, taking home Single of the Year and Song of the Year at both the 2004 CMAs and ACMAs, and winning Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance, per Taste of Country.

20“Concrete Angel” by Martina McBride

Kayla BlantonKayla Blanton is a freelance writer who reports on all things health and nutrition for Men’s Health, Women’s Health, and Prevention.

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Sours: https://www.prevention.com/life/g33595680/best-country-songs/

Country music isn't all pickups, whiskey, fights and American flags. Sure, some of it is, but at its core, country's all about overcoming hardship, familial pride and heartbreak. Those values span the legacy of the genre, from Hank Williams to Willie Nelson to Dolly Parton and all the way up to Lil Nas X's breakout and Orville Peck's alt country anthems. There's pop country and disco country, traditional country and outlaw country. But at its heart, all country is intertwined.

This list spans the history of the genre, from classic artists like George Jones to modern-day superstars (Yes, Taylor Swift is here... no, we're not sorry). You'll find songs for true believers and naysayers who claim to hate the genre wholesale. And among the 29 ditties below, you're sure to find something to get your toes tapping.

Listen to these songs on Amazon Music

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Top Country Songs of All Time

"I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash

1. "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash

Cash’s first No. 1 hit on the Billboard chart managed to keep itself on the radar for 43 weeks. Cash said the song was his "pledge of devotion" to new wife Vivian Liberto, and, oh, it was written backstage in one night. NBD.

"Jolene" by Dolly Parton

2. "Jolene" by Dolly Parton

This Parton hit was her second chart-topper and even crossed into mainstream music’s territory. It’s one of her most covered songs, now being sung by artists who weren’t even alive when it came out in 1973, and she’s revealed in interviews that the real Jolene is a composite of her bank teller and a fan she met at a show.

"Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks

3. "Friends in Low Places" by Garth Brooks

Songwriting duo Dewayne Blackwell and Earl Bud Lee handed this song off to a then-unknown Brooks, who took the tune to a No. 1 chart spot and wound up making a fairly big name for himself in country.

 

"Choices" by George Jones

4. "Choices" by George Jones

Known in the last decades of his life as the greatest living country music singer, Jones had no shortage of chart-toppers during his musical career. This 1999 cover track stands out as one of Jones’s most meaningful vocal performances.

 

"Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride

5. "Concrete Angel" by Martina McBride

Telling the heart-wrenching story of a young girl living in a hellish world of abuse, McBride’s smooth and high-reaching vocals wrap this 2002 song in emotion and ferocity. It took her girl-power anthems to a new level with its sobering message, and it’s just a damn good song.

 

"Kiss an Angel Good Morning" Charley Pride

6. "Kiss an Angel Good Morning" Charley Pride

The late Charley Pride will forever be remembered as the rare performer to break country music's undeniably fortified color barrier. But simply focusing on his challenges (or, more accurately, the genre's shortcomings) distracts from the fact that he was one of the country's most gifted songwriters, and one need only listen to his biggest hit — the peppy, fiddle-kissed slice of soulful country — to realize he more than earned his place among the greats through impeccable, raw talent. 

"Where Were You" by Alan Jackson

7. "Where Were You" by Alan Jackson

Few Americans don’t have an answer to the question Jackson poses in this song: Where were you on September 11, 2001? Jackson reportedly felt conflicted about profiting from the tragedy but wrote the song in an attempt to process his associated emotions—and survivors and listeners thanked him for doing so.

"Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw

8. "Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw

Despite its inherently somber topic, this feel-good, hip-swaying tune finds McGraw waxing poetic over the ability to truly live life to the fullest. The track and video both cleaned up at the 2004 CMAs and ACM Awards, and it has some solid bucket list advice (just ignore the part about bull riding, maybe).

 

"I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack

9. "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack

Songwriters Mark Sanders and Tia Sillers’ heartfelt, emotional ode became the soundtrack to father-daughter dances at weddings across the country. Womack first performed the vocals in 2000 before taking home a Grammy for it.

"Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver

10. "Take Me Home Country Roads" by John Denver

This 1971 ode to West Virginia became Denver’s best-known opus and his signature song. Nowadays, it’s the perfect Instagram caption for snapshots of any old winding road, but in its prime it reached the second spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart and inspired dozens of covers in homage.

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Country songs good

He will catch it. I unbuttoned my jacket pocket and took out my wallet. Keep three thousand.

Best Classic Country Songs Of 1990s - Greatest 90s Country Music HIts Top 100 Country Songs

Now the whole world is dark. It's dark and empty. Two hefty men hold your hands, not letting you in to me, and you break free and shout that you are a doctor and that you will help. No need. I'm fine.

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Blood gushed out, I fainted from the pain, and I don't remember how I got home later. Then I was just shocked. I was afraid of him, afraid that you would find out and start avenging me. But what could you do against an official of that rank. Therefore, she left the cafe for Svetka and did not appear there again.



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