Here we go…
Top Country Songs – Part 4
40) Gone Country – Alan Jackson
In the early ’90s there was a big explosion in popularity of country music. Country became the biggest genre in the US and businessmen were taking notice. Everybody and their brother wanted to become a country singer for the possible fame and fortune. In 1994, Alan Jackson cut a song and released it as a single that discussed the phenomenon. Gone Country became a #1 hit on the charts for its infectious melody and tongue-in-cheek story. There was no one better suited to sing the song than country’s new traditional singer AJ.
39) Born Country – Alabama
Born Country was an 1992 hit single for the legendary band Alabama. The song is an ode to those who were truly born into the country way of life. America is well known for the folks that were raised making a living off the land and taking what is around you and making life better. Alabama has been one of America’s biggest and best bands for decades. There is nothing better than singing along to a great song about America as sung by the great band Alabama.
38) Live Until I Die – Clay Walker
Way back in 1993, Clay Walker was a star on the rise. Clay’s first single went all the way to #1 on the charts and fans were loving the young talented singer. To follow up his debut Clay released the self-penned song Live Until I Die. The song became another top hit for Clay. The tune is about throwing all the worry in life to the side and simply enjoying every day you have until you finally pass on. Is there really any better secret to life than simply enjoying the good friends and family you have for as long as you can? Live Until I Die is one of my personal favorite songs and it remains a favorite on country radio today.
37) Diggin’ Up Bones – Randy Travis
It’s known that if you can get a song stuck in a kid’s head that you definitely have a big hit on your hands. Randy Travis did just that – if likely unintentionally – back in 1986 with the number one hit Diggin’ Up Bones. Randy’s deep voice complemented the story of the song perfectly as the narrator sits by himself going through the old memories and ‘bones’ that made up his life with a woman that has left. The music and the sound of the song are really what make this a great country tune. The melody is catchy and fun despite the sad lyrics. It’s a great country song that remains popular today – even with the kiddos.
36) Brand New Man – Brooks & Dunn
After years of struggling as solo artists Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn teamed up at the suggestion of a Nashville labelhead to form the legendary duo Brooks & Dunn. The duo’s first song announced the entrance of legends. Brand New Man was a new sound in country music. It was in your face, loud, and fun. The song is about a guy that realizes he’s a brand new man as a result of a woman. It’s a great song with powerful vocals from Ronnie and a powerful sound that helped define country music in the ’90s. The guys would go on to have one of the most successful runs in music history, but all goes back to that first song in 1991 Brand New Man.
35) Watermelon Crawl – Tracy Byrd
I don’t know if most would put Watermelon Crawl or Tracy Byrd up on the board this high, but the song is good and it’s been a radio staple since it came out way back in 1994. Tracy Byrd almost quietly had a solid career as a country artist. The soft spoken guy from Texas had some solid hits including Watermelon Crawl, which hit #4 on the charts and had people dancing in honky tonks all over. The song is about having a good time out in the country but doing a little dance instead of driving home from the festivals. It’s a fun song that is catchy and unique. A solid country song that certainly should be recognized as one of the top.
34) Too Cold At Home – Mark Chesnutt
Tracy Byrd’s buddy from Texas Mark Chesnutt broke out first in 1990 with a traditional sounding track. Too Cold At Home was actually turned down by George Jones (he later recorded it), which worked out well for Chesnutt. The song reached #3 on the charts and helped establish Chesnutt as a star. Too Cold At Home is about a guy that needs to get away from his cold situation at home, but he can’t seem to find anything to keep his mind occupied from the tough situation. It’s a common situation for many country fans. Sometimes there just isn’t anything to keep your mind from thinking about tough things.
33) Crazy – Patsy Cline
Written by Willie Nelson, Crazy would go on to become one of the most played and well known country songs of all time. Patsy Cline turned the Willie tune into absolute country gold. Crazy can be used as a great definition for country music. The song is about how love can make you feel. It’s quite simple in lyric, but the music, the vocal treatment, and the classic sound make for a great record. Most people – even if not country fans – have heard this song before and likely know the lyrics. That makes for a top song.
32) Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks
Friends In Low Places is one of the obvious picks for top country songs. Most might put this song much higher on the list, but everybody’s favorite karaoke song moved down a bit on this one. Garth Brooks was the best on this song. He put all the emotion and passion behind the lyrics. Everybody can feel the “I told you so” in the song as he tells his former woman that he’s doing just fine even though she’s moved on. The song popular on radio today, but moved down a bit on this list based on the strength of others.
31) I Will Always Love You – Dolly Parton
Dolly Parton is a country gem. She wrote I Will Always Love You about her business relationship with Porter Wagoner. The song became a big hit more than once on the country charts for Dolly. She decided not to let Elvis record the song since he always requested more than typically royalties from songwriters. Whitney Houston later turned the song into one of the biggest pop songs of all time, but it’s Dolly’s original version that will always be a country standard.
30) Always On My Mind – Willie Nelson
In 1982 Willie Nelson had one of his biggest hits. The number one single was Always On My Mind. Willie’s version of the song became a country standard soon after its release. The track is about a breakup that sees the narrator expressing that no matter how things went down his lover will always be on his mind. It’s a beautiful lyric and one that Willie was able to add to with his one of a kind vocal treatment. Willie may not be the best singer in history but he was some how able to capture emotion and passion with his singing that endeared him to millions.
29) Should’ve Been A Cowboy – Toby Keith
Toby Keith came out with a bang in 1993. His first single was Should’ve Been A Cowboy and it shot straight to the top of the charts. Toby has struggled since day 1 to get credibility as a country singer and songwriter. He’s been turned down more than once and even after his success he’s been passed off by critics. Should’ve Been A Cowboy is a top country song. The tune is about the love of the old west that was so important to the US and the generations of men that grew up living the American dream that is working hard and making a life for yourself. Toby captured everything that was good and bad about the old west in this song and had everyone wanting to be an old cowboy.
28) Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away – Vince Gill
I’ve looked at top country songs lists before and I always think Vince Gill is left off too many. Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away is one of my favorite songs of all time. It’s catchy, a great story, and a song that still plays well on radio today. Vince is one of country’s all time greats. He can sing, write, and play better than most. This tune is about a relationship that sees the guy begging for his woman to not give up on things. Even when the everything in the situation is not going perfectly there is no reason to let everything go away. It’s a classic feeling captured in a great country song.
27) Stand By Your Man – Tammy Wynette
Tammy Wynette was a great country signer. She had a rough relationship with George Jones, which is well-known, but she’s always well respected as a singer and songwriter. One of her biggest hits was Stand By Your Man. The song is about strong women supporting their men through all the difficult times no matter what. Some women didn’t stand by Tammy, but many did and still look at the song as one of the best of all time. It’s great when people take a stand for what they believe in especially on controversial topics. Tammy is legendary and Stand By Your Man is a top country song.
26) Seven Spanish Angels – Ray Charles & Willie Nelson
Seven Spanish Angels came out in 1985 and proved to be an instant classic song in general – not just a classic country song. Ray Charles and Willie Nelson teamed up for this powerful ballad about a battle torn guy down with little left to give. The story is great in the song, but the star of the tune is Willie and Ray. They put a legendary treatment on this track. You get goosebumps listening to the passion and the emotion pouring out in every note. It’s a powerful song and one of the best of all time.
25) She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful – Sammy Kershaw
Sammy Kershaw had his biggest hit with the number one She Don’t Know She’s Beautiful in 1993. It was Sammy’s only number one and it remains a popular song today. There is no doubt when you hear Sammy’s voice that he’s purebred for country music. His voice is drenched in sweat and booze and built from country roots. The song is about all the women out there that don’t realize how beautiful they are to us men. It remains a popular song today because women love hearing about how wonderful they are and guys will always love telling them and probably could a little bit more often. It’s a great track that makes you smile and feel good. A classic country tune.
24) Mama Tried – Merle Haggard
For all the guys out there that put their mom’s through hell – Merle Haggard wrote the soundtrack to life with Mama Tried. The song is short, but leaves you thinking by the time it’s over. It’s about a rebel son that does many things wrong in his young life, but looks back and thinks about how his mom tried to steer him right. Lots of people out there can relate to making bad choices at the worst possible times. It wasn’t the fault of anybody but the ones making the decisions. A great sentiment by one of the legends in country music.
23) A Boy Named Sue – Johnny Cash
This is a guy song. Johnny Cash sang songs for guys and back in 1969 he released the cut A Boy Named Sue. The song is the story of a guy that grew up with the name Sue. The story climaxes when Sue runs into his old man at a tavern one night and they have at it over the name the father gave his son. The father finally tells the boy he named him Sue to allow him to grow up tough, having to defend himself. It’s a song that makes you laugh. It’s also a song that is unique. There is nothing quite like this track and that’s what makes it special. Johnny Cash is a country music legend and A Boy Named Sue is one of his top country hits.
22) Heartland – George Strait
George Strait ventured into the land of movies in 1992 and his venture proved successful. Pure Country and its soundtrack became huge hits with fans. The soundtrack featured multiple hits include the rousing Heartland. The song fits the description of the movie and soundtrack. George even brought in his son to sing a little on the track and it made things extra special. The song is about America – the good country living life people live all over America. It’s a great tune that made for a great addition to the movie. It’s truly a top country song and still fits on radio even today.
21) A Broken Wing – Martina McBride
If you’ve ever watched the hit talent show American Idol chances are you’ve heard a cover of Martina McBride‘s A Broken Wing. Nobody can quite do it like Martina. The song about breaking away from a troublesome relationship had a powerful impact on radio for Martina and became one of her most well known songs. The soaring chorus fits the voice of Martina perfectly and she pours every ounce of energy and emotion into the song. Martina is a one of a kind talent and A Broken Wing is a special, special country song.