The top ten…
The Best Country Songs Part 5
10. A Better Man – Clint Black
Clint Black‘s career got off to a fast start in 1989. His first single, A Better Man, became one of the top songs of the year. The mid-tempo track was about a guy moving on from a relationship. Sure, he was sad about what happened, but he’s thinking he’ll be a better man for having loved the woman. No ill regard toward her. He’s ready to move on though. It’s a great song that’s really defined by its great melody. I’ve always been drawn to this song and it remains one of my favorites today.
9. Strawberry Wine – Deana Carter
In 1996 a girl next door emerged on the country scene. It was unusual for a record label to release a slow song – a waltz nonetheless as an artist’s first single. That was just what happened with Deana Carter and the result was a classic country song. Strawberry Wine became the biggest hit in country music in the fall of ’96. I can remember hearing the song on the radio every hour of the day and women everywhere were still calling in to the stations to hear it more. The coming of age story became relatable for women all over and the bittersweet nature of the song reflected life perfectly. Truly one of country’s best hits.
8. Hey Good Lookin’ – Hank Williams
It’s one of the oldest songs on the list, but Hey Good Lookin‘ deserves a spot no matter what the time. Hank Williams is considered the father of country music in many regards. His classic song about a good looking woman is simple, but just about every person age five to age ninety-five knows the words. The song remains popular some fifty or sixty years after it was first famous. It’s a timeless song that will be around for many more years.
7. Always On My Mind – Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson wasn’t the first to record Always On My Mind, but his version became a huge hit in 1982. Willie took the track and made it his own. His waning, struggling voice made the song a classic. Willie’s version gave the song critical and award winning praise in the country industry. The song became a Willie Nelson standard. That’s a pretty big achievement for a song in a collection as immense as Willie’s. All the more reason to include it on the best country song list.
6. Crazy – Patsy Cline
The song was written by Willie Nelson, but it was Patsy Cline’s version that was etched into the memories of millions of music fans. Patsy rose to fame with only a few, but huge hits back in the early ’60s. Crazy is perhaps her best and most well known song from her reign. The song is simple in lyric, but that is where the beauty lies. Patsy voice became the star of the song and that is what her fans wanted to her. She was one of a kind and left us too soon.
5. He Stopped Loving Her Today – George Jones
When you ask country fans what they think the best country song of all time is they’ll often cite George Jones and He Stopped Loving Her Today. The track came out as George was actually on a slide in his career. The song turned things around in a big, big way for George. The Possum was nearly fifty when the song came out, but it didn’t matter. The track about a guy that didn’t stop loving his woman until the day he died is amazing and fans loved it. It’s truly one of the best songs of all time.
4. Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash had to make it near the top of the list. Cash was the man. He saw a resurgence in his career when the award winning biopic came out just a few years back. That movie revived what many hardcore country fans already knew – Johnny Cash could write and sing a country song. Perhaps the most revered Johnny Cash song was Folsom Prison Blues. The sound of the song sets it apart. The freight train groove and the story of an inmate stuck there wasting away. It all came together and somehow worked for the listeners. A great country track.
3. Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich
A bit of a wild card song? I’ll give you that. Charlie Rich did have a huge hit back in the early ’70s with this track. The song was romantic and sultry. There was romance to be had behind the closed doors way back when. Old Charlie won numerous awards and saw his career launched into new heights after this song came out. He had a great run the rest of the decade and then things faded off as he heading into retirement. The track was his biggest hit and one that deserves a spot high on the best country song list.
2. Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks
In any barroom and honky tonk across the country you’ll hear Friends In Low Places on the jukebox. You’ll probably see a few guys singing along and getting the entire bar together for the chorus. Garth Brooks recorded the song after Mark Chesnutt, but it was Garth’s version that changed country music. The song still sounds like it would be a huge hit today on radio. Garth played the part of the scorned lover perfectly. He may have lost the girl, but he gained millions of pals in the low places all around the country. For all the friends out there in the low places…be sure to play this one loud.
1. You Never Even Called Me By My Name – David Allan Coe
I had no choice. When the song is awesome and it says right in the lyrics that it’s the best country and western song I have to include it as the number one song on the list. David Allan Coe had a handful of hits on the charts, but none were better or more remembered than You Never Even Called Me By My Name. You can go anywhere in the country and play this song for a group of country folks hanging out on a Friday night and they’ll start singing along with every word. It doesn’t get any better than this song. For all the disrespected people out there – this ones for you. The best country song of all time.