The final stretch…
Top 100 Old Country Songs Part 4
There are some great artists on this part of the list starting with #40. It’s one of the best songs of all time. Let’s get right into it…
40. Crazy Arms – Ray Price
Ray Price had a classic country voice. His song Crazy Arms is a classic as well. The song is always played on country radio. I actually heard it on the radio when I was creating this list so there was no way I could leave it off. The song is about a guy trying to get over his former love. She’s left him for someone new. His heart is telling him he has to move on. His crazy arms are pulling him away to try and get her back, though. It’s a song of heartbreak and love lost. Sometimes things don’t work out and if you’re the one left you are stuck there thinking about what you did wrong. It’s a tough place to be in.
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39. Cold, Cold Heart – Hank Williams
Hank Williams originated a lot of things in his short time in the world. One of his claims to fame was really bringing the heartache to the forefront of country music. I’m not saying he was the first, but Hank’s song, Cold, Cold Heart, has been the standard heartbreak song for decades. He has this love of his life and he couldn’t figure out how to make her love him. She had a cold heart and there was nothing that could melt it. Hank performed this song so well and with such conviction you believed every word of it. He’s a legend.
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38. I Been To Georgia On A Fast Train – Billy Joe Shaver
Billy Joe Shaver is not a guy you want to mess with. He was responsible in part for shaping Waylon’s outlaw image. Waylon was always an outlaw and an original, but it took an entire album’s worth of Shaver’s song to really establish the outlaw era in country music. Shaver had a few big hits of his own and one of the biggest was this classic track. The song moves right along just like the rhythm of a fast moving train. The song is ripping and roaring as the story of the south is told. It’s great.
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37. Great Speckled Bird – Roy Acuff
Roy Acuff is a legend in music for his playing, singing, and producing. His biggest hit was Great Speckled Bird. The song plays out of old time country radio stations still today. If you close your eyes when this song is on you imagine your grandparents sitting on the patio in the backyard of their farm. They watch the birds fly through the tall grasses in the field. It’s two folks sitting in the rocking chairs in the back yard holding hands and sipping on some cool lemonade. Now that’s country music and this song is what makes think of that image.
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36. Lovin’ Her Was Easier – Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson is truly one of a kind. The man lived life like no one else. He didn’t follow anyone’s rules. He made his own path. He was one of the best songwriter country music has ever seen. And one of his biggest hits was Lovin’ Her Was Easier. The song is a slow ballad that plays as a love song to a love. It’s a love song that plays as the last stand for a man that’s on his way out. Kris sings this song with such emotion. He has a unique voice. He would become a huge movie star and would win some big awards and many recognitions in his career. He’s a true country artist.
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35. Louisiana Saturday Night – Mel McDaniel
Mel McDaniel was a good southern country boy. He had all the chops to be a great country singer and he proved his worth with classics like Louisiana Saturday Night. I was a kid in the ’90s when I would hear this song over and over on the radio. It was probably played at least once, if not twice, on the radio every day where I grew up. The song remains a huge hit even to this day by those standars. There is something about hitting the town for a Saturday night in the country that gets you going. And the rocking melody simply can’t be beat.
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34. Tennessee River – Alabama
Alabama is my favorite country band. There is no arguing the fact with me. I refuse to listen to any other suggestion. When it comes to country music I think of Alabama. They were able to come up with these really cool song ideas and when they put the music and lyrics together it became something so special. Tennessee River was one of the bands first hits. The song was actually their second major single release and their first number one hit. This is really the song that got things all started. It’s a great country track and really a landmark song from a legendary band.
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33. Always Late (With Your Kisses) – Lefty Frizzell
Lefty Frizzell is a country legend. The man creating so many great country hits it was hard to narrow them down to include on this list. I had to put Always Late (With Your Kisses) way up near the top of the list. For as long as country music has been around there have been songs about love and how love goes wrong. In this case we have a woman that’s always late with her kisses. I’m not sure if the man in the song is waiting for the woman because she’s out running around and doesn’t love him or if he’s simply too impatient to wait for her love. He can’t get enough. Either way, it’s a great song. One of the greatest of all time.
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32. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer – Gene Autry
This is the only country song on the countdown. There have been many great country Christmas songs over the years, but none really more popular than Gene Autry’s rendition of Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. The song is played over and over every year during the holiday season. The song is a classic in so many homes. Hearing Gene sing this song during December makes everybody reminisce about the old time Christmases of the past. Everybody gets all nostalgic around Christmastime and there’s nothing better than hearing the great songs of the holidays. This is still my favorite Christmas song of all time. This exact version.
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31. Toy Heart – Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe is the grandfather of bluegrass and country music. Back in 1948, he had one of his biggest hits with Toy Heart. The song became a huge hit during its initial run. The song is about a woman that keeps playing with this guy like he’s got a toy heart. She keeps toying with him and he’s losing his mind. The song is really about the great musicianship, though. Nobody could play bluegrass quite like Bill. And he kept touring and playing right up until the day he died. In fact, some think that once he wasn’t able to play he was soon to pass. Music was the man’s life and he gave country fans plenty to love including this great old country song.
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30. The Ballad of Jed Clampett – Flatt & Scruggs
These two are legends. They ruled the road for decades playing every stop on the bluegrass touring circuit. In fact, Flatt & Scruggs are probably the most influential bluegrass and country act of their era. They brought the blend of backwoods music to the mainstream. These guys could flat out play and one of their biggest hits was The Ballad of Jed Clampett. When you hear the banjos ripping and the music playing from this song you immediately recognize the melody. It’s like nothing else. And when you hear the lyrics there is no doubt you have the image of old Jed and his family. What a great song.
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29. Cool Water – The Sons of the Pioneers
The Sons of the Pioneers released this track in 1948. The song became hugely successful. The track was recorded by many famous artists over the years including Hank Williams, but the version from The Sons of the Pioneers was the bestseller. The song is about a man traveling through the desert with his mule. He finds a mirage in the desert. Sometimes when you’re wandering aimlessly through life you run into a few mirages. Don’t be fooled by them. Keep on going until you find the real wonders of life.
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28. Wichita Lineman – Glen Campbell
This is my favorite Glen Campbell song. In a list of numerous huge hits that saying something. Glen Campbell racked up more hits than just about anyone else during his run at the top of the country and pop charts. The man was so talented and gifted. He had the ability to sing and play songs like none other before or after him. Wichita Lineman is about a man working hard on the lines as he travels the country finishing America’s infrastructure. It’s a great country story song. They really don’t make them like this anymore.
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27. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
Some people don’t like that John Denver is included as a country artist. I’m not sure why because it doesn’t really get much more country than John Denver singing about the good old country roads of home. The song even became the state anthem of West Virginia and you know there are some country music loving folks down there. The melody and imagery in this song are what makes it great. John had the voice of an angel and he really had the uncanny ability to tell stories and paint pictures with his lyrics. It’s a classic song from a truly great country artist.
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26. I’ve Been Everywhere – Hank Snow
Hank Snow had been famous for over a decade by the time he released what is probably his most well known song. I’ve Been Everywhere became an instant classic. When Hank rips into the chorus it’s hard to keep up. He rips through what is seemingly all the cities and states in the country. Hank was the original country artist to cover this song. He put his spin on it and introduced it to the country audience. Many would later cover it and the song remains popular today even having versions in current television commercials. You can’t beat Hank’s version, though, if you’re an old country song fan.
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25. In The Jailhouse Now – Jimmie Rodgers
We’re going way back in time for this one. In fact, this might be the oldest song on the old country song list. In The Jailhouse Now was released by Jimmie Rogers back in 1928. Listening to this song today I’m surprise at how good it sounds. The melodies are great. The yodeling is great too. There isn’t much of that on radio these days, but I’d imagine this song would get some attention if it was released today. It’s a little old school, but if you’re looking for the best of the old country songs you need to include this one on the list. It’s a true country music original.
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24. Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone – Charley Pride
Charley Pride is one of my favorite country artists of all time. The man overcame all odds to become one of the most loved figures in the business. Perhaps my personal favorite hit of his was Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone. The song just has this unique charm about it. I don’t know if it’s his most well known song, but to me it’s pleasant and wonderful. The song is upbeat yet it appears to be about getting away from the memory of a lost love. I guess that’s what you gotta do sometimes – move on and try to find happiness in the next town.
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23. Your Cheatin’ Heart – Hank Williams
Everybody knows this song. Hank Williams was singing about cheating before anyone in country music. Oh, I’m sure there were a few others singing about it, but Hank was able to bring it to the masses. Your Cheatin’ Heart has this really great melody. You feel all the words as Hank sings about his own love situation. The thing about Hank’s music was how honest it sounded. Every word out of Hank’s mouth seemed to have years and years of experience behind it. And yet Hank didn’t even live to see his 30th birthday. It’s amazing to think how much he accomplished.
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22. Easy On The Eyes – Eddy Arnold
Eddy Arnold had a huge hit in 1952 with Easy On The Eyes. The song is about Eddy’s love. She’s the one he loves the most and he really loves the way she looks. Everybody stops and stares when they walk around town and she wins Eddy’s heart every day. The song is classic country. When I think of old country songs I think of the slow moving music in the background. This song makes me think of what it must have sounded like in an old honky tonk back in the ’50s. It’s a great vision and this is really a truly wonderful old country song.
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21. I Love – Tom T. Hall
In 1973, Tom T. Hall had his biggest hit. And it was an unlikely hit at that. The song – I Love – was a song about all the simple things in life. Tom repeated all the things he loved about life. In fact, he really just told a story in the song and sang the chorus. He mentioned just about everything under the son including baby tucks and tomatoes on the vine. There were even a mention of hay. It’s a great song and even though it could come across as corny or childish I think that’s what people wanted at the time. And really people still love this song. Sometimes we just need to put aside all the negativity in life and focus on what we love. And you know what? I love you too.
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