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Over the past 50 years or so, the sounds of country music have certainly evolved, but there are a few songs (okay, more than a few) that will always be classics of the genre. Iconic artists like Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers and George Strait have paved the way for others like Garth Brooks and Reba McEntire, who offer a well-rounded gallery of music to consider for our 20 best country songs of all time. Yes, somehow we managed to cut them down to 20. But there’s a good chance that, even if you’re not a country fan, you’ve heard those timeless hits before.
“I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash
And basically all of Cash’s other songs! This one is basically a given, as Johnny Cash’s legendary imprint on country music – and music in general – is irrefutable. “I Walk The Line”, however, is perhaps his most iconic song, being his first major hit that lasted Billboard’s top 200 charts for 23 weeks after his release. In 2014, Rolling stone gave him first place on his list of 100 greatest country songs of all time.
“Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter
OK yes, technically it is another Cash track, but because it’s a duet with June Carter, “Jackson” has its own place on the list. This song is just as iconic as “Walk the Line,” and it earned the couple their first career Grammy in 1968 for the best country and western performance, duo, trio or group.
“Stand by Your Man” by Tammy Wynette
This Wynette hit is as controversial as it is popular. In 2003, he claimed the top spot on The CMT list of the 100 best country songs, and it became by far the most successful track of his career, culminating in number one in the Billboard Hot Country charts in 1968.
However, he came under scrutiny by the women’s liberation movement of the time, which called him anti-feminist by nature. Wynette’s response to criticism was frank. âA woman should be equal to a man for everything she’s capable of, but I always feel like there are a lot of things she can’t do. Physically, âshe would have Recount Melody maker magazine.
“The Dance” by Garth Brooks
Brooks is known to be a good tearer, but “The Dance” was one of his first. He came out with his self-titled debut album from 1989, and, according to Rolling stone, quickly became his second number one hit. â’The Dance’ will be the biggest hit song we’ll ever do,â Brooks said. Playboy in 1994, by Rolling stone. âI’ll go to my grave with ‘The Dance’. It will probably always be my favorite song.
“Jolene” by Dolly Parton
“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver
Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy”
“Always in my head” by Willie Nelson
Hundreds of versions of “Always on My Mind” have been recorded over the years, including a remarkable one one by Elvis Presley. But country fans have always loved Nelson’s perspective. In 1982, the version won Grammys for Song of the Year, Best Country Song and Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
“Galveston” by Glen Campbell
This track was another easy hit for Campbell because it’s the epitome of country. Try not to get the chorus stuck in your head.
“I will always love you” by Dolly Parton
Loretta Lynn’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”
“Friends in the Shallows” by Garth Brooks
Kenny Rogers’ “The Player”
“Amarillo by Morning” by George Strait
Strait is very successful, and surprisingly enough, he’s not his biggest. Plus, it’s a cover that was originally written by Terry Stafford and Paul Fraser. Yet it remains one of his signature songs and has been named one of the top 100 western songs by Western American writers. It also has over 83 million pieces on Spotify.
“These boots are made for walking” by Nancy Sinatra
Even Nancy Sinatra, who recorded this classic number, could smell a hit coming before it was released in 1966. âI knew what this record was about. It happens – you actually feel a hit, âshe said of the song, according to his website. âI had been recording for almost six years without such a feeling. I just knew we had a hit. And she was right.
“Fantasy” by Reba McEntire
“I’m Falling To Pieces” by Patsy Cline
“Here’s your problem” by the chicks
“Live As If You Die” by Tim McGraw
This touching yet 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 Top 200 for 86 weeks and swept through the country category of awards season, winning Single of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2004 CMA and ACMA, and winning the Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Vocal Performance male country, through Country taste.
“Concrete Angel” by Martina McBride
Also named one of the saddest country music songs of all time by Rolling stone, McBride “Concrete angel” the story of the experience of an abused child, was a topped the charts in 2003 and remains a staple when you need a good cathartic cry. It also represents a type of story that too often goes unnoticed and inaudible.
Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer who covers everything from health and nutrition to men’s health, women’s health and prevention.
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