The series continues with the next set of greatest guy songs.
There have been 30 classic country music songs up to this point. Now we’re getting into the most memorable and most meaningful songs. The list continues with some of the best guys in the business: Tracy Lawrence, George Strait, Tim McGraw, and others.
Let’s take a look…
20) Hillbilly Bone – Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins
A recent hit single on the charts, Hillbilly Bone features two of today’s top male country singers. Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins have two of the deep voices and the stories they tell through their songs are all about what it’s like being a guy. This tune is about figuring out that just about every guy has a little bit of hillbilly in him. There are many things we all do that would make proper folk gasp and feel uncomfortable. Who among us has never sped down the road in a red light race trying to impress the girls?
This song hits the mark with vocal delivery, music, and especially the lyrics. I’ll tell you right now that any song that mentions my favorite gun – 30.06 – is going to make a list of the greatest guy songs of all time.
19) Coward Of The Country – Kenny Rogers
The man with the silver beard is back on our list at number 19. You’ll find Coward of the County here because it’s a story that just about every guy can relate to. Think back to the time something happened in your life that really forced your hand and you had to act out with a little violence. Usually the circumstance involves another guy that is acting like a complete buzzard. As the song says, “…sometimes you’ve got to fight when you’re a man”.
Even though we all had mamas that taught us better and had dads that threatened to whoop our butts if we ever fought, there comes that time when throwing a few fists is the only way to handle a situation.
18) Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way – Waylon Jennings
In the 1960s, Waylon Jennings played along with the record execs in Nashville as they worked together to put out some hits. Things didn’t quite work out. Waylon just couldn’t find success using the same formulas the execs were having success with at the time. As a result, Waylon struck out on his own and later released music that would lay the foundation for the ’70s Outlaw Movement. There were the occasional comparisons to the great Hank Williams. Waylon had much respect for Hank, but to turn down the comparison he recorded Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way. The song simply made the point that Waylon was actually carving an original path in Nashville.
Guys need the feeling in life that they’re leaving their mark, that they were an original. Waylon wrote the theme song for that dream.
And I love this cover by Miranda Lambert and Jack Ingram.
The song also saw a reprisal in the hit movie Crazy Heart.
17) A Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do – Dierks Bentley
To kick off his second album, Dierks Bentley knew he had to keep the rolling tunes coming. He responded with what is likely his best song to this point – A Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do. With this song Dierks was able to modernize the classic cowboy and rodeo songs that had worn out country music over the years. The old cowboy songs always mentioned the wandering ways of the ropers and the riders. Dierks simply put his own story and twist on the theme by singing about his life on the road. But the song was vague enough so that every guy could put himself in the boots of Bentley. Some guys are born to wander from woman to woman. There is no disrespect involved. There is simply a desire to keep moving, keep getting through life while discovering all the wonderful things and people that are around us.
16) Workin’ Man’s Ph.D – Aaron Tippin
Aaron Tippin is a guy’s guy. He has the nasally voice. He has the working man credibility. When you hear Aaron Tippin come on the radio you get the sense that he would drive over to your house and help you get your mustang running if you needed him. Those kind of guys seem to be becoming extinct today as we all seem too busy worrying about ourselves.
With the song Workin’ Man’s Ph.D, Tippin put his hard working nature on record and radio for all of the remaining guys in this world. If you still love to head out to the workshop or garage and do a little work with your hands…this song is for you.
15) If The Good Die Young – Tracy Lawrence
Tracy Lawrence turned a popular phrase on its head when he released his big hit If The Good Die Young. The song tells the story of a guy as he goes from kid to adult doing the things that make mamas all over shake their heads. Tracy is the perfect narrator for the song as he puts the grit and genuine feeling into the song. When you hear it on the radio you get the sense that Tracy did a little hell raising in his younger days. However, as the narrator of the song he’s convinced that if the saying “the good die young” is true then he is sure to live forever. It’s a clever twist and it gives all of the bad boys out there a little reason to smile and continue on doing the occasional wrong thing.
14) A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash
Not many guys could sing a song like Johnny Cash. The great man in black knew how to tell stories through his music by singing about what his audience wanted to hear. Cash realized there were lots of guys in his audience that didn’t have the best relationships with their dads. It was a different time and a different place back in those days where more than a few dads were tough on their kids. In A Boy Named Sue Cash tells the ultimate story of a son that has every right to be angry with his father. The man gave him the name Sue for God’s sake. After a knock down, drag out fight between father and son there comes a realization that the father was trying to do the best he could to make his boy tough.
There was such passion in Cash’s voice that the men in his audience always let out a hoot and holler when he sang the lyrics “My name is Sue! How do you do!? Now you gonna die!”.
13) Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson
Unless you’re lying you should have your hand up. Every guy has memories of his own coming-of-age story. Alan Jackson told his story with the song Chattahoochee. The song talks about Alan’s days growing up on the river. He hung out with buddies, played a little guitar, got into a little trouble and had a few encounters with the girls. The entire song feels like one big chorus. The song never lets up as everyone in the audience struggles to keep up with the fast pace. Yet if we are able to keep up we know just about every word Alan is singing. All guys share the same story as the song.
We all learned how to life in our own ways. Jackson gave us the secret to life – A lotta ’bout livin’ and a little ’bout love.
12) Something Like That – Tim McGraw
With another story about a guy growing up, Tim McGraw hits the countdown with Something Like That. Most people know this song as the barbecue stain on my white t-shirt song and for Tim the song was a huge hit. Most guys have their own memory of spending a summer hitting the fairs and county events. We’d spend some time with our buddies hanging out and drinking beer, but mostly we were interested in finding a few pretty girls to spend time with. Tim goes on to sing about a few more encounters with the woman in the song, but the key point is that he never forgot that moment when he first saw the love of his life.
And a heart don’t forget something like that
11) Give It Away – George Strait
By the time George Strait released Give It Away it was thought that the divorce theme had been way over done in country music. But leave it to some great songwriters and the storytelling ability of King George to knock one out of the park. At the time, nothing sounded like this song. By the time this song was hitting the top ten listeners of all ages were singing along. But it was the guys that could relate most to the story. Over 50% of the guys out there have been through a divorce and probably 99.9% of us have been through a breakup. It’s never any fun, but songs like Give It Away make the circumstance a little more easy to deal with. It’s always good to know that others are going through the same things. Nobody is alone in this world. At the very least we can always count on country music to be there for us.
Stay tuned for the top ten greatest guy songs. Will your favorites make the top of the list?