Let’s get right into it…
Top Country Songs – Part 2
80) John Deere Green – Joe Diffie
Joe Diffie had a great run of hits during the ’90s boom in country music. Joe typically isn’t given enough credit for the great songs he recorded during his successful run. He’s not at the top of most people’s lists for best artists, but people sure remember his songs when they come on the radio. One of those tunes is John Deere Green. The ultra-catchy and country classic fun to listen to and you can’t stop singing along when you hear it. Put a little redneck twist on a classic love story and you have John Deere Green as sung by the great Joe Diffie.
79) Jesus, Take The Wheel – Carrie Underwood
The first country single country fans will associate Carrie Underwood with will be Jesus Take The Wheel. The song served as a big reminder to country fans that Carrie was a legit country artist and not just a contest winner. The song’s powerful story connected with millions of country fans and turned Carrie into a huge star over night even after she had become a star in front of a worldwide audience on American Idol. The song is about letting your higher power take control of some of your life and how that can lead to better decisions and an overall meaningful life. A huge country hit for possibly the greatest female country artist of all time.
78) Every Once And A While – Blackhawk
The trio Blackhawk was like no other act in the ’90s. The vocals were unique. The music was unique. The songs were amazing. Every Once And A While is one of those songs that has both melody and a great story. The song is about a woman still thinking about the relationship she had with a guy as told from the point of view of the guy. It’s a great way to sing about a common situation. The song became a huge hit and remains a favorite on radio today…every once and a while.
77) On The Other Hand – Randy Travis
Sometimes it takes a little extra effort for a great country song to reach its full potential. Way back in 1985 Randy Travis released the single On The Other Hand. The song stalled and was barely noticed. Travis next released the track 1982, which made it into the top ten on the charts. After finding success Travis and his label re-released On The Other Hand and it would go on to become one of the biggest hits of Travis’ career. The song about cheating and seeing the ring and commitment on your finger remains one of the top country songs of all time. Even the legendary Randy Travis needed a little extra effort to get noticed by country fans.
76) The Bluest Eyes in Texas – Restless Heart
With their unmatched harmonies and a little easy listening pop flavored country, Restless Heart had one of the biggest careers of any country act in the ’80s and ’90s. In 1988, the guys took the song The Bluest Eyes In Texas to the top spot on the country singles charts. The song has a pure ’80s feel to it and that’s what makes it so great. The story of a guy longing for the love of a women he can’t have resonated with many country fans. The narrator couldn’t get the woman’s blue eyes out of his mind. It’s a creative lyrical hook and a big reason the song is a top country song.
75) My Love – Little Texas
The guys in Little Texas released their aptly titled Big Time album in 1993 to much fanfare as the singles from the record made some big time waves on the country charts. The band’s biggest and only #1 hit was on the album. My Love is a classic love song about a guy wooing the woman of his dreams with all he has to give. The song was a mix between country love and the ’80s rock ballad. The combination worked and it became one of the top country songs of the ’90s.
74) I Still Believe In You – Vince Gill
Vince Gill is a great singer, great guitar player, great songwriter, and he seems like a good guy to hang out with. It’s almost not fair that one person is so talented in so many different ways. One of Vince’s biggest hits was the soaring ballad I Still Believe In You. The song is about a guy pleading to his woman that their relationship can still work. The emotion of lovers on their last legs and being in love bleeds from the notes as Vince sings like an angel on the track. There is perhaps no other artist that could put the emotion behind this song as good as Vince. It’s truly a top country song.
73) You Don’t Even Know Who I Am – Patty Loveless
For some, a top country song needs emotion, passion, great vocals, and country instruments in the background. All those ingredients come together in Patty Loveless’ hit You Don’t Even Know Who I Am. The song is pure emotion. When Patty hits the notes in the chorus it sends chills throughout your body. The story of a woman leaving her man because he doesn’t pay attention to her is an all too common feeling for many and this song gives those an outlet for the emotion. The guy in the song even agrees with his woman. Perhaps things just aren’t meant to work out sometimes. That doesn’t make it any less painful. That’s the kind of emotion that makes for a great country song. That and the fact that nobody can sing a country tune quite like Patty.
72) Coat of Many Colors – Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is a great storyteller. She can also sing, perform, and do many other things but I think at her best she’s simply one of the best storytellers of all time. A classic Dolly song is her hit Coat Of Many Colors. The song is the story of Dolly growing up in the Smokey Mountains with very little money in the family. To get by her mom made her a coat with patches from various old garments. The coat became Dolly’s coat of many colors and that image stuck with Dolly long enough for her to put the story into a song. Fans still love the way Dolly can tell a story and Coat Of Many Colors will always be a favorite.
71) Guitars, Cadillacs – Dwight Yoakam
Dwight Yoakam brought some California cool to country back in the ’80s. Dwight had a way with putting twangy guitars with twangy lyrics and forming a kind of country that was all his own. Dwight’s second hit single – his first hit as a writer -was Guitars, Cadillacs. The song reached the top five on the country charts in 1986 and Dwight went on to have a run of successful hits for a few years. Sometimes things don’t quite go as we plan and sometimes the pie don’t taste so sweet as Dwight would say. But those situations can sure make for a great country song.
70) Eighteen Wheels And a Dozen Roses – Kathy Mattea
Kathy Mattea had some great country songs back in the ’80s and ’90s. One of those songs – Eighteen Wheels And a Dozen Roses – remains a favorite on country radio. The song originally came out before I was old enough to listen to country music but I was lucky to hear it often on classic stations and current hit country stations. The song is about a truck driver heading home to see his family. He’s making his way with 18 roses for the one he loves. My favorite part of this song is the melody. It’s a rolling song that builds and builds through the chorus until the trucker makes his way home. It’s a great song and certainly belongs on any list of country’s top hits.
69) I Don’t Call Him Daddy – Doug Supernaw
The name Doug Supernaw doesn’t come up often in country music success conversations. Doug has always had his run ins with crazy occurrences as well as getting into some trouble with the law. Despite all of the excess stuff, Doug was able to put out some great country music for the few short years he was a country artist. I Don’t Call Him Daddy came out in the early ’90s and it became Doug’s first #1 hit on the charts. The song is about divorce and the effect it has on kids and parents. The kids are often left to figure out some answers to difficult questions especially when their folks start dating new people. The song has a lot of heart and Doug’s personal situation sure gave him reason to put all his emotion and passion behind the song. It’s truly a great country tune.
68) Dukes of Hazzard Theme – Waylon Jennings
It’s quite a feat for a 25 year old song to sell over a million ringtones, but that’s just what happened to Waylon Jennings’ theme to the Dukes of Hazzard. The two minute track has become one of the greatest country tunes of all time. The melody is great and Waylon’s deep baritone provides great narration to the story of the good ‘ol boys. As is evidence by the strong demand, the song is still a big hit with country fans today.
67) The Gambler – Kenny Rogers
The Gambler by Kenny Rogers is a well recognized song in music circles beyond country. Kenny Rogers was the biggest country star of his generation along with being one of the biggest pop stars as well. Nobody was selling more records than Kenny in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The Gambler is Kenny’s signature song that most people know and if they don’t know the entire song they likely know the lyrics Know when to hold ’em/Know when to fold ’em. The song is truly one of country’s top hits.
66) One More Day – Diamond Rio
Country group Diamond Rio has had tons of hits throughout their great career. In the fall of 2000 the guys released the enormous single One More Day. The song has a loose meaning about wanting to spend more time with the one you love most. Because the song wasn’t about anything specific it took on different meanings for every listener. Some listeners even used the song to mourn the loss of Nascar great Dale Earnhardt Sr. after his fatal crash in early 2001. It’s songs like One More Day that help people get through emotional times in their lives. That is what makes this song a top country hit.
65) Rebecca Lynn – Bryan White
Bryan White was only 20 years old when he broke out as a star in country music. His first album was released in 1994, but it took three singles for Bryan to find big success on the charts. The final single from his debut album came out in 1995 and it became a big number one for the talented singer and musician. Rebecca Lynn is one of those songs that tells the story of a young love between two kids. It’s a great story of how love can have a pull on all of us no matter how old we are. Stories like Rebecca Lynn are the reason most of us live – to find the love of our lives.
64) I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why) – Alabama
Turn on Alabama’s I’m In A Hurry and you’ll see everybody in the room light up and probably start tapping their knees and singing along. I’m not joking. This song has the power to cast a spell over people and get everybody singing along. It’s crazy. The guys in Alabama had been going strong for a decade when they released this tune in the early ’90s. The song remains a staple on modern day country stations as well as classic stations. Even at 20 years old this song sounds modern. When Randy Owen starts singing alone with no music behind him it’s something powerful. I love songs that start out with the chorus and this one is truly a great country tune.
63) Why Didn’t I Think of That – Doug Stone
Doug Stone is another curious case of what went wrong after reaching stardom. Doug Stone and Doug Supernaw (The Dougs as I call them) had some trouble with personal demons after reaching the top of the country world. Stone was able to rack up a handful of number one hits and even more top ten hits on the charts before falling into some pits of alcohol and legal issues. Why Didn’t I Think Of That was a high point for Doug. It reached the top spot after being released in 1993. The song is actually about a sad situation where a guy realizes his woman left him for another guy that does all the things he didn’t think of when he was with her. The song comes off as almost positive though as the melody stays catchy. It’s a favorite song of mine and I’m not really sure why. Something about that melody always makes me want to turn it up when I hear it on the radio.
62) Next To You, Next To Me – Shenandoah
Sometimes it’s the simple country love songs that make the best tunes. During their run of hits in the late ’80s and early ’90s band Shenandoah had one of those songs that makes you smile. Next To You, Next To Me is about the great feeling of being with the one you love no matter what the setting. Any day is a good day when you have the one you love right there with you. Throw in a little barbecue in some aluminum foil and it makes for a perfect day living the country music life.
61) Beer For My Horses – Toby Keith & Willie Nelson
Willie Nelson has been kicking around country music for as long as anybody. He’s still relevant today as artists continue asking him for duets. Willie still puts out great country music on his own as well. Back in 2003 Willie teamed with Toby Keith for Toby’s song Beer For My Horses. The track became a multi-week #1 smash hit and would have been the biggest hit of the year were it not for another duet It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett. Beer For My Horses is about a bringing justice to the world in an old west fashion. The attitude and brashness of the song made it appealing and fans still request the song today.