Time for part 3…
Top Country Songs – Part 3
60) Blue – LeAnn Rimes
In 1996, a young girl came to fame as the singer of a throwback song titled Blue. LeAnn Rimes was instantly compared to Patsy Cline for her amazing vocal ability especially at such a young age. While the background of the actual song was a bit fabricated, there was no doubt the song was amazing. Blue is about a girl singing the blues over a guy that has left her and doesn’t have the same lonely feeling. It’s amazing to hear a kid sing the song so passionately. A truly top country hit.
59) I’m Alright – Jo Dee Messina
Jo Dee Messina had a quick start to her career in 1996, but follow up singles after her debut Heads Carolina, Tails California stalled and everything was riding on her sophomore album. Messina was up to the challenge as her second set charted numerous hits include multiple number ones. One of those top hits was the Phil Vassar-written I’m Alright. The song captures the pure essence of optimism and happiness despite things not going perfectly. The up tempo tune is great for those sunny days in the car just enjoying the ride.
58) My Town – Montgomery Gentry
Country duo Montgomery Gentry released the track My Town in 2002 and it became another top five hit for the energetic country stars. The song recalls the lasting memories of water towers, rusty tractors, and old mills from the everyday Hometown, America. Every person has a place they call home and the towns we come from feel like they belong to us. The memories we make in those towns stay with us forever and that’s why we feel like our hometown are really our towns.
57) Pickup Man – Joe Diffie
Joe Diffie racked up some big hits during the ’90s. Perhaps his signature tune is the classic double-meaning Pickup Man. The song is an ode to the ladies and guys that love a good country pickup. The fun story in the song goes that the narrator has been picking up women with help from his trusty pickup since he was knee high to a grasshopper. It’s a fun story that will certainly make you smile and probably feel good if you’re riding in your own pickup when you hear it.
56) She’s Got You – Patsy Cline
With so many great Patsy Cline songs to choose from I had to include my personal favorite on the list of top country songs. She’s Got You is a sad song about a woman who has all the remembrances of her former love – pictures, records, and class ring. The only thing she doesn’t have is her love. The other woman has him now and that’s all that really matters. Patsy’s vocals on the track make it absolutely beautiful despite the sad nature of the song. It’s one of my favorites and a classic country hit.
55) Mud On The Tires – Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley had a run of about ten top hits in the late ’00s. It’s an amazing string of hits for any artist. Paisley had a big hit way back in ’04 that came just before the string of top hits started. Mud On The Tires was the title track from Paisley’s 3rd album. The song reached number one (Alcohol came next and reached #4 before the run of hits) and became a favorite among country fans. The song is as country as it gets. The guitar twangs as Paisley sings about enjoying life off road with the girl he loves most. It was making us all want to get a little mud on the tires this weekend.
54) Thank God I’m A Country Boy – John Denver
John Denver doesn’t often come up in discussion of the greatest country artists of all time, but the singer-songwriter had quite the career. Perhaps his biggest country hit was Thank God I’m A Country Boy. The song is insanely catchy and fun to listen to. Any song that rhymes griddle with fiddle is alright by me and the song remains popular among fans of all musical genres. Comedian Pauly Shore even gave a tip of the hat to Denver in the oft-criticized, but funny movie Son-in-Law.
53) These Days – Rascal Flatts
Rascal Flatts came out swinging on their debut album as all four singles released became hits. It wasn’t until their sophomore album that the guys started creeping more toward superstardom rather than just another country-pop band. These Days kicked off the guys’ second album and it became a huge hit. The song is about a guy running into an old love and chatting about how things are going today. At its purest form the song is about change – good and bad. It’s a great tune and the vocals and music on the track are reason enough to know why Rascal Flatts became the biggest country band in the ’00s.
52) Behind Closed Doors – Charlie Rich
Charlie Rich quickly rose to superstardom in 1973 with his classic country hit Behind Closed Doors. While hardly an overnight success Rich was able to turn a song about his perfect woman into a national sensation. The song is about a woman that is a complete lady in public while being everything a man wants behind closed doors. The song is a bit racy, but lets the mind drift a bit. Rich’s emotional vocals and passionate performance gave the song a chance to shine. Behind Closed Doors remains a country classic seeing plenty of play on radio even today.
51) The Grand Tour – George Jones
George Jones is often regarded as the best country artist of all time. So it’s no surprise he has some big hits on this countdown. The Grand Tour is one of those classic country songs that helped define the genre. The narrator’s is inviting folks in to see his house. He’s trying to sell it and everything inside in an effort to rid himself of the memory of a woman he lost. The sorrow can be felt in George’s voice. The thought of a woman leaving with the child would make anyone feel down. And that’s a big part of country music.
50) I Walk The Line – Johnny Cash
Now famous for the title of the biopic movie, I Walk The Line was one of Johnny Cash’s biggest hits. Way back in 1956 is when the track was released as a single and it would go on to become his first #1 hit. The song has the classic Johnny freight train rhythm along with Johnny’s well known deep voice. The lyrics speak of a woman and a man as they walk the line for each other. It’s a great track and still sounds relevant even today.
49) Queen Of My Double Wide Trailer – Sammy Kershaw
Sammy Kershaw got off to a quick start once he got going in country music. He had his first hit in 1990 and kept things going for most of the decade. One of his biggest hits during his run was the tongue-in-cheek song Queen Of My Double Wide Trailer. The song is pure fun and despite it’s humor may be one of the most well-written country songs of all time. Penned by the great Dennis Linde, this song turns original phrases into a great story that everybody can recognize and smile at. The true art of writing lyrics comes from being able to avoid cliche while remaining recognizable. This is one of the songs that success 100%.
48) Houston – Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers
Is this song too high on the list? Probably for most people, but for some reason I love hearing this song. Each time I’m listening to classic radio and Houston by Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers comes on I start smiling and singing along. The track was originally intended to be a slow ballad, but Larry’s brother convinced him they needed a hit since their career was starting to fade. Larry put some uptempo grooves on the track and the rest is history.
47) Send Me Down To Tucson – Mel Tillis
Mel Tillis one of country’s greatest singers and songwriters. Send Me Down To Tucson is one of Mel’s biggest and well-known hits. The song has Mel singing about a conflicted husband. He has his life back home, but in Tucson is a lady that would be to able to satisfy the love inside him like his wife doesn’t seem to be doing. The song is well-written and beautifully sung by Tillis. It’s a great country track about one of country music’s standard topics.
46) Rain Is A Good Thing – Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan came into his own on his second record. The 2nd single from the set was Rain Is A Good Thing. Luke turns the common understanding that rain is a damper on its head and gives everybody a reason to celebrate when the skies open up. The song is stuck in your head catchy and has some clever lyrics that make for a great country tune. Drinking whiskey and getting frisky while it’s raining outside will forever be a part of country music thanks to the Georgian artist.
45) People Are Crazy – Billy Currington
Billy Currington went on a roll of hits after taking some time off between his 2nd and 3rd albums. The 2nd single from his album Little Bit Of Everything was the People Are Crazy. The song is a classic story song that sees the young narrator befriending an old man. The two discuss life and all it has to offer. Later in the story the narrator finds out the old man has passed and left him his fortune. It’s a fun song with a bit of wit and smarts. It’s got a great vibe and fans fell in love with it.
44) Choices – George Jones
George Jones wasn’t slowing down much as the late ’90s came along. In 1999 he released the track Choices to much critical and commercial success. The song is about looking back on the choices that define your life. We can’t change anything in the past. We can only look forward and do our best to make the most of what we have left. It’s truly a great song, but perhaps will always be most remembered for Alan Jackson’s performance at the 1999 CMAs. It was a tip of the hat to his hero that had been snubbed by the CMA that had only asked him to perform a shortened version of the tune.
43) Maybe It Was Memphis – Pam Tillis
It took Pam Tillis some time to find her niche in country music but in the early ’90s she hit her stride and put together a long run of successful hits on the charts. Perhaps Pam’s most well known and frequently played song is Maybe It Was Memphis. The song is powerful, emotional, and Pam really sings her heart out on the song. A love one night in Memphis is the inspiration for the song and it’s told wonderfully by the talented offspring of legend Mel Tillis.
42) Wide Open Spaces – Dixie Chicks
The title track to the Dixie Chicks first big label release Wide Open Spaces became a huge hit for the talented trio in late 1998. The song is about a young girl leaving home to take on life as an adult. Her dad reminds her to check the oil before she gets in the car to drive away. The song became a special tune for women everywhere. Even men could appreciate the song since the story is universal. The melody of the song is the perfect mix of melancholy and happiness. It’s truly one of the greatest country songs ever.
41) State of Mind – Clint Black
Clint Black said he wrote the song State Of Mind about ten or so years prior to its release as a single in late 1993. The song has always been one of my personal favorites. I love the way Clint describes loneliness and despair along with one of the catchiest melodies every. The chorus builds up and seems to have a proper ending as Clint says a song can complete change your state of mind. I think it’s a great tip of the hat to all the top country songs out there. It’s the great songs that can truly change your state of mind no matter how you’re feeling.