The slow song has a special place in country music.
The scene of life when someone walks into a dusty tavern with a slow, sad song playing on the jukebox. It sounds like the record is too old and might not continue spinning.
The evening on the porch with the slow, but happy song playing as the sun sets over the horizon. A cool breeze blowing across the grass across the backyard.
Slow country songs are something country fans love. Maybe we don’t love them all the time, but when we’re in the right state of mind a slow country song is the perfect medicine for life’s ups and downs.
This list was going to be 100 songs. That wasn’t enough so it’s now 200 songs. And that probably still isn’t enough, but here we go.
200. Happy, Happy Birthday Baby, Ronnie Milsap
We start it off with one of the greatest country singers of all time. Ronnie could sing any kind of song and that includes slow country songs. This one always seemed to be a unique one. It has a different sound. A more throwback doo-wop sound. Taking on a birthday song is pretty risky, but this one hit #1 in 1986.
199. He Didn’t Have To Be, Brad Paisley
Brad Paisley’s career started out with two really good slow country songs. The second, He Didn’t Have To Be, became an anthem for stepparents. It’s a challenging, but very real situation for many families and this song handled it perfectly. Paisley would go on to be one of the biggest stars in country music in the 2000s and he’s still going strong today. He’s had a wonderful mix of slow country songs mixed in with uptempo songs that feature his famous guitar licks.
198. She Believes In Me, Kenny Rogers
Oddly, Kenny Rogers, who is known by many as The Gambler, had two singles off The Gambler album, but it wasn’t the title track that was the bigger hit at the time. She Believes in me reached #1 on the country charts and #5 on the pop charts and went gold. Rogers was just starting to showcase his penchant for slow country songs at this time and would continue to do so throughout the ’80s as he became one of country’s biggest stars of all time.
197. Elizabeth, The Statler Brothers
The Statler Brothers ruled Nashville as far as vocal groups are concerned for many years in the ’70s and ’80s. It was hard to choose songs from them to include on the list. Elizabeth was a huge hit and remains popular today. The band was unique. They had numerous hits of all different styles and tempos and Elizabeth is a great slow country song.
196. Waitin’ On A Woman, Brad Paisley
Mr. Paisley makes his second mark on this chart with what seems like a timeless classic. This single was released in 2008 and went on to be a number one hit. This one plays like advice that an older man can pass on down to younger generations. It’s about how wonderful woman are and why it’s important to appreciate them. And really if you look at it the song is not about how women are late (men can be just as late). It’s about looking at the things we love about each other and being grateful for having wonderful people in our lives.
195. I Don’t Hurt Anymore, Hank Snow
Talk about a classic jukebox song. This one from Hank Snow came out in 1954 and it sounds wonderfully fresh today. The song was a number one hit, a big number one hit 60 years ago. It has this great guitar riff that fits well with the slow melody and the wonderful twang of a country legend.
194. Treat Her Right, Sawyer Brown
Sawyer Brown is a personal favorite of mine. I think they’re really unique in the history of country music. They had and have a unique sound. They did so many different kinds of songs including this big hit from 1996. It remains a favorite of their fans today and sticks out as one of the best of the ’90s.
193. Rockin’ Years, Dolly Parton & Ricky Van Shelton
What an amazing duet. The song was written by Dolly’s brother and it’s an amazing look at a lifetime of love between two people. What other goal is there in life other than making it to the rocking years with the person you love more than anything? If only we all could be so lucky. Dolly and Ricky nailed this one.
192. Seven Spanish Angels, Willie Nelson & Ray Charles
Willie Nelson and Ray Charles together for a big hit country duet? I don’t know if it would happen in today’s country music, which is really sad. This was such a huge hit and remains one of the most powerful performances of all time. Willie is classic Willie and Ray takes emotion to another level.
191. Somebody Lied, Ricky Van Shelton
Ricky makes another quick appearance on the chart. This time it’s his first number one hit from back in 1987. This was classic country in 1987 and a change from what was happening in country music at the time. We look back, rightly, at Randy Travis for bringing traditional back, but perhaps we forget about Ricky Van Shelton.
190. You Don’t Love Me Anymore, Eddie Rabbitt
20 number one country songs. That, along with many other achievements, defines the amazing career of Eddie Rabbitt. Back in 1978 Eddie took this slow country song all the way to the top of the charts. It really showcased Eddie’s style as a genre-bending artist. He was one of the greats.
189. You Were Mine, Dixie Chicks
Sisters Martie and Emily wrote this song that would become of the biggest songs for their group, the Dixie Chicks. Lead singer, Natalie Maines, put all of herself and emotion into singing this one and it came across as something really special. Things turned sour for the Chicks in country music and that makes it easy to forgot just how much of an impact they had on country music. A positive impact.
188. Backside Of Thirty, John Conlee
Some of us get a little on in our years and suddenly we realize that we’re no better off than we were just a few years ago. That’s what this song is about. John Conlee took this one to number one around 1979-80 and it remains a classic. His voice is truly one of a kind. When you hear this one you know it’s John Conlee.
187. I’ll Leave This World Loving You, Ricky Van Shelton
I really like the story of Ricky Van Shelton. He moved to Nashville and worked in his basement to hone that wonderful voice of his. He was signed and started releasing albums in the late ’80s and had a huge run of success including this big hit. Ricky had a knack for the slow songs. He could sing uptempo, but it seems he was well known for his slow songs including this number one hit from 1988.
186. Forever Together, Randy Travis
Sometime in the early ’90s, Alan Jackson and Randy Travis got together and wrote a few songs. Man…talk about a great meeting. One of the songs that came out of that little get together was this one and it became a number one hit for Randy. Traditional country at its best.
185. It’s Getting Better All The Time, Brooks & Dunn
Brooks & Dunn maybe aren’t as well known for their slow songs, but they have some good ones including this number one from 2004 or so. It was the second single from their second greatest hits record. Talk about a powerful, emotional country song. One of the best duos in country music nailed it with this one. A song about loss in life. It’s not good, but it can get better.
184. Do You Believe Me Now, Vern Gosdin
Vern Gosdin. What a voice. The man is one of the most emotional singers in country music history. This one came out in late 1987 and kicked off a little comeback for this country legend. This song reached #4 on the country charts and for good reason. Real emotion and heartbreak in this song.
183. Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days), The Judds
How big were the Judds in the ’80s and into the ’90s? Talk about big time. These two were really a unique group in country music. They had some amazing songs that still are some of the best of all time. This is a favorite. It’s not a heartbreak song like many others on this list. It’s about learning from those around us what life is really all about. When I hear that opening riff it takes me to a different place in time; back home.
182. That’s What I Love About Sunday, Craig Morgan
This one was released in 2004 and became a hit that year and into 2005. It’s actually still the only number one song on the country charts for Craig Morgan. He’s still going strong so you never know if that will change. But he can hang his hat on this one. It’s really good and connected with a lot of people that love small town values in the USA.
181. Bouquet Of Roses, Eddy Arnold
We’re going way back now for this one. 1948. How cool is it that we can still listen to this great music in digital form today. This one is a little on the faster side, but by today’s standard I would say it fits in the slow country song model. It’s something I would imagine my grandparents dancing to in the living room as this one plays on the record player. But even with that it’s really a sad song about a breakup.
180. What I Didn’t Do, Steve Wariner
Steve Wariner might be one of the most underrated artists in country history. I know a good number of fans still remember. One of his biggest hits was this one. Just an absolute heart bender of a song. It’s a guy realizing all the things he didn’t do when it came to his relationship. He didn’t do anything to turn her away. It’s what he didn’t do.
179. The Hurtin’s All Over, Connie Smith
A classic from one of the best in country music. This one really harkens back to the good old days of country music. It’s about real emotions and real life situations. Sometimes in situations the pain affects one person more than the other. It’s just the way it goes.
178. The Wild Side Of Life, Hank Thompson
Hank Thompson had a classic country voice. This song just oozes out of the jukebox. This one is about a guy that realizes he can’t tame a honky tonk angel. She’s destined for the wild side of life. Even today we think of it often as being the other way around, but life throws us curveballs in many different ways.
177. There Stands The Glass, Webb Pierce
Talk about a unique voice. Webb Pierce was really something special. This is a country classic. The main line is just something that really sticks with you. It’s a country drinking song about trying to find a way to avoid the pain that comes with different situations in life. This time a challenging situation about the one that got away.
176. Always Late (With Your Kisses), Lefty Frizzell
It really doesn’t get much better than this one. Lefty Frizzell has inspired a number of country singers. Some of the best in the business in their own right. But this song is and will always be one of the best in country’s history. It’s about a guy that loves a woman, but she might not return the same emotion in the way he would like.
175. Wildfire, Michael Martin Murphey
Talk about a unique song. This one became a country hit and a pop hit. It’s one of David Letterman’s all time favorites. It’s the story of a ghost horse. How cool is that? You won’t hear many songs like this one and it’s really a credit to Michael Martin Murphy for creating something that’s lasted so long.
174. Your Man, Josh Turner
Another low voice, but from the new breed of country music singers. Josh comes across as a really good guy. This song was something maybe a little different than what you might expect, but it worked really well. It’s a romantic song. A somewhat slow romantic song, but one that is playful and makes you want to find the one you love and have a romantic evening. Really good song that kind of took Josh’s career to new levels.
173. Lonely Nights, Mickey Gilley
In the late ’70s, Mickey Gilley switched over to Epic Records after spending quite a bit of time on Playboy Records. The switch didn’t really slow the hits and Mickey released a really good song in Lonely Nights. This one has all the best of Mickey Gilley. You feel the pain of a guy that can find ways to get through the days of loneliness, but those nights just about take him to the grave.
172. Better As A Memory, Kenny Chesney
Old Kenny Chesney has always had a bit of a soft side. He definitely has an interest in looking inward and thinking about certain situations that perhaps other artists won’t do, can’t do or aren’t allowed to do. When this song came out it was pretty different. Pretty somber. This song is about a guy that realizes the things that are wrong with him and perhaps why he can’t be in regular relationships.
171. This Is It, Jim Reeves
Jim Reeves defined The Nashville Sound in many ways. It was a smokey, sultry and big sound. This song became a number one hit in 1965, one of the line of many for Jim Reeves. The man had one of the greatest voices of all time no matter the genre.
170. Paper Angels, Jimmy Wayne
Jimmy Wayne is really a country artist unlike any other. He released his debut album in 2003 and had some hits there for a few years. This one stood out as something really different. It’s more of a mid tempo, but has a slow feel to it. The song is about the trees with paper angels around Christmastime. Those are kids that don’t have much in the world and would just love to get one gift. Powerful stuff.
169. Green, Green Grass Of Home, Porter Wagoner
Porter took this one to #4 on the country charts in 1965. That version made the song popular and it would go on to be recorded by many others. It’s a story song about a guy returning to his hometown. It’s a pleasant song, but has a surprise twist at the end that turns it into a bit of a somber song.
168. World Of Make Believe, Bill Anderson
A number one from back in 1974. This was classic Bill Anderson all the way through. The whispers are there complete with a really strong set of backup singers. It sounds unique to the time and really unique now. I don’t know if an artist would put something out like this today. Certainly the idea of living in a world that we wish we could change is still around. It’s well captured on this song.
167. I’m Movin’ On, Rascal Flatts
This was the last single off the debut Rascal Flatts album. The album had already been a success, but this song really showed another side of the trio and it elevated them just about to superstar status as they moved to their sophomore record. The title says it all. This guy is coming to the realization that he has to move on to be able to live his life. It’s a little vague in ways, but it’s about letting go and moving on from a number of things.
166. Every Once In A While, Blackhawk
One of my favorite songs of all time. I think Blackhawk is really an underrated band. They had a really strong run of hits in the ’90s. This is perhaps their most well known song. It starts out slow and kind of picks up in the chorus, but we have to include it here. It just gets you in a state of mind when you’re wondering what the one that got away thinks and if they ever think of you.
165. I’ll Still Be Loving You, Restless Heart
Restless Heart – another underrated band in country music. This song was huge; we’re talking a huge hit. It’s really a pretty slow and passionate love song. It’s been a wedding song. Probably a high school prom song. It’s the ultimate way to tell someone that you love them and performed by a really great country band with amazing harmonies.
164. (Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I, Hank Snow
Hank Snow makes another appearance on the slow country song chart. This time for another classic country jukebox song from the glory years of the ’50s. Snow is one of the best ever in country and this is one of his biggest and most well-known songs.
163. Begging To You, Marty Robbins
Marty Robbins – a classic in country music. Talk about a unique voice. I don’t even really know how to describe it. How about that yodel on this one? It’s really something. I don’t know if anyone would do something like that today, but it worked on this one. It went to #1 on the chart around 1964.
162. I Told You So, Randy Travis
Randy is back on the list again and we’ll have more to come. He is just one of the best. This is one of those slow country songs that is still really catchy. That’s not easy to do, but Randy was one of the best at it. This was a big time hit for Randy and remains one of his biggest ever. Country fans love this one.
161. Coat Of Many Colors, Dolly Parton
What a defining song for a great artist. Yes, it’s got a little bit of a fast beat, but it’s really slowed down in a way so we can hear the story of a mother that made her kids clothing out of rags. Talk about a biographical story that many country artists and country music fans have lived.
160. Come Monday, Jimmy Buffett
This is my favorite Jimmy Buffett song. A great song all around and actually a hit on the country charts. Well, I guess not a hit on the country charts, but it charted there and has been a favorite of the Parrotheads. The song is kind of slow, maybe a little on the medium side, but we’ll include it here. It’s about a guy out on the road that is really looking forward fondly to making it home to his sweetheart once Monday finally comes around.
159. Tryin’ To Get Over You, Vince Gill
In the early ’90s Vince Gill was one of the biggest stars in country music. There were some other majors like Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks, but Vince was right there with them doing his own thing. Part of that thing was slow country songs including this heart breaking one that hit #1 in 1994.
158. The River And The Highway, Pam Tillis
Maybe this isn’t one of Pam’s most well known song, but it did reach #8 on the chart back in 1996. It’s one of my favorites. It’s more than just your average catchy country song with throwaway lyrics. This is a song about life that makes you see something different each time you hear it. I like that. Pam is one of the best.
157. Are We In Trouble Now, Randy Travis
Maybe you don’t remember this one. This was the highest charting single from Randy’s Full Circle album that came out in 1996. It was kind of a transitional time for Randy. I really like this song. I actually discovered it on the movie Rumor Has It with Kevin Costner and Jennifer Aniston. A really good and perhaps underrated country song.
156. That’s Important To Me, Joey + Rory
Joey + Rory never became huge stars on the charts, but they are loved by many. They bring a throwback style to country music. They are all about family values, country living and keeping things simple. Yes, they focus on some new technologies, but are steadfast with the things in life that are really important like hard work, family and much more. It’s a good slow song about finding priorities in life.
155. It’s Been So Long Darling, Ernest Tubb
Sometimes I’ll put on Ernest Tubb and transport myself back to the ’40s. This one sounds like it’s just bleeding out of an old radio on the porch of a hot summer evening. I think this one is about yearning and a man that finally gets to come home to see the one he loves the most. I can see how this was a popular hit back in Tubb’s heyday.
154. What She’s Doing Now, Garth Brooks
By 1991, Garth Brooks was the king of the country world and perhaps the king of the music world. This one went on to become a number one hit. It’s the story of a guy looking back on a past lover and thinking, if just for a few moments, how her life turned out. It hits home especially if you’ve lost someone that you now know was really the one for you.
153. The Keeper Of The Stars, Tracy Byrd
Tracy Byrd took this song to #2 on the charts in 1995. It was the second track off his sophomore album. And who’s talking sophomore slump with Tracy? Nobody was back then because this would go on to be a huge album and this song was the hit that became the final one off the record. The song is about a man truly coming to terms with how lucky he is to have the woman of his dreams.
152. Too Cold At Home, Mark Chesnutt
The first one is often the best one. Mark Chesnutt had a huge collection of hits, but this one still stands out as pretty special. It was his first release way back in 1990. It’s about a guy that can’t bring himself to go home. Nothing is really that appealing out in the world. It’s too hot to fish and too hot for golf, but if he goes home things will be really cold as a result of his relationship and status with the woman he used to care for and probably still loves.
151. All These Years, Sawyer Brown
Talk about a heartbreaking song. Mac McAnally wrote this one and Sawyer Brown made it a hit in the early ’90s. The song is about a man that finds his wife cheating on him, but he blames himself for pushing her to seek the love of another man.
150. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, Willie Nelson
We’re at our first Willie Nelson song on the list. This song was a #1 hit in 1980. Willie was at his peak. He could take just about any song to the top of the charts back in those days, but this one is truly special. He’s a modern day cowboy taking a look at how he’s lived his life and how that may have been shaped by the cowboys he grew up idolizing – both real and on TV.
149. Alyssa Lies, Jason Michael Carroll
In 2006, a new country artist came on the scene with a unique booming voice. But the voice wasn’t used for an uptempo rocking song. It was used for a really powerful song about a girl that was struggling with abuse at home. This is one of those rare country songs that really makes you think about how the world works for some people.
148. What If She’s An Angel, Tommy Shane Steiner
Country music has its share of one-hit wonders just like pop music. This one came about in 2001 and it went all the way to #2 on the charts. It was definitely a surprise hit, but when you hear the song you can feel why people liked it. It’s about all the people you might pass in life and ignore. And how they might be angels and perhaps worth helping. I don’t know what happened with Tommy since this song. He only had the one album on RCA. Whatever he’s doing he’ll always have this hit to his name.
147. A Country Boy Can Survive, Hank Williams Jr.
Here’s another one that never topped the country charts, but has lived on as one of the greatest country songs of all time. It’s a slow country song, but it’s not a sad country song. This one is about the life that country folks live and how they are perhaps more well prepared for when things go wrong. This song still sees peaks in popularity every now and again and remains a fan favorite. Just about every country fan knows the chorus.
146. It Was Almost Like A Song, Ronnie Milsap
Ronnie shows up on the countdown for the second time. This song was a big #1 hit in 1977. It’s still played all the time on classic country radio stations. When it comes on there is just something about it that makes you pay attention and sing along with. It’s one of those where you don’t really remember how you know the words, but you do.
145. Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue, Crystal Gayle
How awesome is Crystal Gayle? Ricky Bobby could see it. Crystal had the perfect voice. It was a blend of country and lounge and this song is perhaps one of her most well known. It went to number one in 1977 and became an iconic hit song that people still put on today. It’s slow, but it’s catchy and you can feel the emotion throughout the performance.
144. Tough Little Boys, Gary Allan
It took Gary Allan quite a few singles and years to finally get his first number one hit. He finally did it early 2003 with Man To Man and he followed it up with the song Tough Little Boys, which also became a number one hit. This one is about how boys can act all tough. That’s how many are brought up, but there are a couple things in life that can bring a tough boy to tears. A touching song.
143. Life Turned Her That Way, Ricky Van Shelton
Man…talk about a slow country song. It’s hard to pick songs from Ricky to put on this list because he had so many of them, but I had to include this one. It’s a look at a woman and all she’s dealt with in life and love. Life can turn us a lot of things in life whether we want it to or not.
142. You Look So Good In Love, George Strait
We could have an entire list of George Strait slow songs. This is one of my favorites. The song came out as the lead single from George’s third album. He was well on his way to becoming a superstar at this point if he wasn’t there already. This song is about a guy that wishes he could be the one making his former lover look so good in love. But that’s not the way it’s meant to be.
141. Behind Closed Doors, Charlie Rich
Charlie Rich was kind of a struggling singer in the pop and country world for a really long time. That was until 1973 when he became a superstar in country music. This song would go on to become an incredibly popular song and one of the best country songs ever. It’s sultry and seductive and something about it really connected with listeners back in the ’70s.
140. Old Flame, Alabama
This was Alabama’s third number one song. It was released in 1981 and remains one of their best. The song is about a guy that is getting together with a new girl, but in her eyes he can see that there’s an old flame that’s burning in her eyes. He’s not sure if she’ll ever be able to get over that guy and fall in love with him, the new guy. What a great country song.
139. Goodbye Says It All, Blackhawk
Another really catchy one from Blackhawk. These guys knew how to find some good songs and this one was a big hit. A guy comes home in trouble again and his wife has finally had enough. She’s ready to move on and her goodbye says it all. He’s had his chances and she’s out of there.
138. Stay, Sugarland
Sugarland was one of the phenomenons in country music in the 2000s. They had hits after hits for a solid run. The original trio became a duo. Then the duo went on to solo careers, but has said that they just needed to part ways for awhile. They’re still on good terms. This song came out off their second album. It was the last release from that record and became a really big hit late 2007 and 2008. Powerful song with all the production cut back and the focus on the sad story.
137. The Car, Jeff Carson
This one gets me every time. I know it has been a special song for a lot of people out there and especially for the guys that have had close relationships with their fathers or grandfathers. Jeff Carson had a few hits and this wasn’t his highest charting song, but this one always had a special meaning for so many people that it’s worth including on this list. It’s about a father and son working to restore a car. The dad is busy, but they still make time to work on that car and it still reminds the narrator how special his dad was even though he was a busy man.
136. In Color, Jamey Johnson
In 2008, Jamey Johnson came out with this one and it became a huge hit and somewhat of a surprise hit. Jamey is pretty enigmatic in the country music world. He definitely lives life by his own rules and that seems to make him more appealing to country fans. This song became a huge hit and special to many people that think they know the old days, but then really hear what things were like from those that lived it.
135. Merry Go Round, Kacey Musgraves
Kacey Musgraves became a household name in country music thanks to this mega hit. The song is about small town country life, but opens up a little bit about the reality of that life. Yes, it can be great and we’ll appreciate it no matter what, but there are things that go on below the surface that make it reality for many. This one had a different sound and people really took a liking to it. The lyrics must have spoken to quite a few fans out there.
134. Lady Lay Down, John Conlee
John Conlee is back on the chart with another classic from his debut album. This one was his first number one hit. It’s truly one of the most powerful songs in country music history. A man coming to the realization that he needs to show the woman he loves just how much he cares.
133. Beneath Still Waters, Emmylou Harris
This is one of the big ones from Emmylou. She’s become an icon in the country world and in the music world overall. She had an impact on many and this song is one that has stood out as one of her best. It’s a sad song about a woman that can tell that her man is not in love with her anymore. Like many men, he holds his feelings close, but women can often see what’s really going on. They always seem to know.
132. What Mattered Most, Ty Herndon
Life became somewhat of a whirlwind for Ty Herndon when this song came out. He had the pretty basic beginning by getting noticed and signed to a major label. He was paired with a producer and they cut this song. The label put the song out and it really took off at radio and went to number one in a matter of weeks. Ty’s career was off to the races. Sometimes you just need the right song and the right artist. Fans still love this one about a guy that realizes he kind of screwed up with the one that now has gotten away.
131. Old Violin, Johnny Paycheck
Johnny Paycheck’s heyday had pretty much been long gone by the time this one came out in 1986, but it still became a top 25 hit for him that year and has become somewhat of a favorite for guys that look in the mirror and see a worn old man. Life can have that affect on you especially if you burn the candle at both ends.
130. One Voice, Billy Gilman
Billy Gilman was a bit of a sensation in country music as 2000 turned a corner. He kind of came out of nowhere as this young kid with a really sweet voice and a powerful song. This one went on to be a hit and Billy sold a ton of records. He never really had more hits on the chart, but he remains one of the most important artists in country and people still like this song and its meaning.
129. Come A Little Closer, Dierks Bentley
Dierks Bentley has been a hit maker in country music for more than a dozen years now. Back in the early days of his career he put this song out and women everywhere swooned. This one is really putting on the heat in the romantic sense and it became one of the biggest hits Dierks has had up to this point. He’s had other sultry slow songs and meaning slow songs, but this one seems to have remained a fan favorite.
128. Concrete Angel, Martina McBride
How awesome is Martina? One of the best of all time. She’s well known for her voice. She always seems like the perfect combination of caring and determined. What an inspiration for women everywhere. And she wasn’t afraid to record a song with some meaning. That’s exactly what this song was when it came out in 2002 and became a huge hit. A song with real meaning about the truths in life.
127. Holding Her And Loving You, Earl Thomas Conley
For a guy with 18(!) number one hits you don’t really hear the name Earl Thomas Conley that much in country music circles. And that’s really too bad because he had some hits and some that have stood up well. One of his biggest was this one that reached the top spot in 1984. There is real emotion in this song.
126. Big Green Tractor, Jason Aldean
When you try to peg the moment when Jason Aldean went from country star to country star you could pick the moment that this song reached the top spot on the chart. It was a second consecutive number one for Aldean and has become one of his most well known and most liked song. It’s a simple song about a country guy taking a girl for a ride on the tractor. But it’s beauty is right there in the simple story. A co-write by David Lee Murphy too. Great song.
125. Walkaway Joe, Trisha Yearwood
Trisha Yearwood is one of the best. This song has always seemed to have something special about it. Part of that could be Trisha holding her own like she always does, but doing it with Don Henley singing harmonies. Talk about a powerhouse duo. This song is pretty emotional and hit a lot of people pretty strongly when it came out.
124. Stand By Me, Mickey Gilley
How big was this song for Mickey Gilley? He had 6 number ones in a row to kick off the 1980s and this was the second single in the run. It was a cover of Ben E. King who was also one of the writers on the song. John Lennon did a version and Mickey had his version in 1980 and it received some other major attention after being included on the hit film Urban Cowboy.
123. Springsteen, Eric Church
In 2011-2012, Eric Church finally broke through with the number one song Drink In My Hand and things really kept on going strong with Springsteen. It’s too early to call it, but this could become one of Eric’s signature songs. The tune had crossover appeal and had something for each gender and all different kinds of people. It was a look back on life and the love you have when you’re young and how things can change as you grow older.
122. Drunk On You, Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan might get the Bro Country label once in a while, but he can still put out some really good songs. There have always been those times in country when a certain style is hitting it real big. Why not embrace it? You get some great songs like this one about young love, which has really become one of the staples for Bryan. He nails it with this one.
121. Only You (Can Break My Heart), Buck Owens
Here we have a classic from Buck. He was pretty well known for his upbeat country songs. He certainly brought his own style to country music from out there in Bakersfield. And he brought that style to this slow country song. I really hadn’t heard it all that much, but the more I listen the more I like it.
120. Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down, Johnny Cash
What else can be said about this one that hasn’t been said before? It was a huge song for Johnny Cash and for Kris Kristofferon who wrote it. The song is about waking up on a Sunday morning with the hangover you built up the night before. It’s about life and loneliness and dealing with how things are in this moment.
119. Two Sparrows In A Hurricane, Tanya Tucker
Tanya had a career resurgence in the early ’90s and this song was a major part of it. I mean, this song was a huge, huge hit for Tanya. It really hit a nerve with people. It’s about a couple that knows they can make it through anything. And it’s really true that in life you’ll have to go through some tough times, but if you’re strong enough it will all be worth it. What a great way to write about that reality.
118. Cowboy Take Me Away, Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks kept their hit train going in 1999 with the release of Fly. The album was a huge success and perhaps the biggest song from that record was Cowboy Take Me Away. Many girls and woman have dreams of being swept away by a cowboy. This was a personal song for sisters, Martie and Emily. Martie wrote it about sister Emily falling in love. Life did catch up with the love, but the song lives on as one of the greatest of all time in country music. That fiddle part is killer.
117. Don’t Worry, Marty Robbins
This is one of those songs that comes on in the background and you start singing along right from the first line. You don’t even know how you know it. The song went to number one on the chart back in 1961. The song is about a guy that comes on some hard luck with love, but he has a pretty good perspective on things.
116. Who’s That Man, Toby Keith
Toby Keith…is he still underrated? He got his due in the ’00s, but we forget sometimes about all the big hits he had in the ’90s including this major, major hit. It’s about a guy that is seeing his family and his former life kind of taken away from him. His wife and family have moved on with a new man. A very real situation for many.
115. The Good Stuff, Kenny Chesney
Chesney had hits before this on came out in 2002, but it seemed to continue the rise of Kenny Chesney to what we know him as now – a superstar. The song is about a guy that has an argument with his girl. He heads to the bar where he gets some good advice from the bartender on what’s really important in life: gratitude and all the good things that come from having a good person in your life.
114. So Small, Carrie Underwood
Carrie took over more of her own songwriting with her second album. And that was a killer decision because it resulted in some really good songs including So Small. The song shot to #1 in 2007 and is still regarded as one of Carrie’s best. And that’s in a long line of really good songs. It’s a song about priorities in life and figuring out what is really important and not fretting all those small things.
113. Good As I Was To You, Lorrie Morgan
Lorrie Morgan could sing a country song. She finally found her break as country music headed into the ’90s. This song is a story about a woman that discovers her man has been cheating on her. It’s heartbreaking as the woman realizes that her life is about to change. And her final message to the guy is that this new woman won’t ever be as good as she was to him. Great country song.
112. Over You, Miranda Lambert
Talk about a powerful song. This is a co-write between Miranda and Blake Shelton. The song is personal as it relates to Blake’s loss of his brother as a teenager. Knowing that, you listen to the lyrics and the emotion in the song and can’t help, but think of the people you’ve lost in your own life. This was a major hit as just about everyone can relate to losing someone close to them.
111. That Just About Does It, Vern Gosdin
Vern had a little bit of a comeback in the late ’80s and he continued that into the early ’90s. This song became a hit in 1989 and into 1990. It’s classic country and I know this one still gets played all the time on classic stations. I don’t know if any contemporary artists could pull off a song like this one. Vern was one of a kind.
110. Wish You Were Here, Mark Wills
Mark Wills had a huge hit with his sophomore album. The album had four top ten hits with a number one and two number twos. It was a big time record and one of those singles was Wish You Were Here, which was the song about losing someone and feeling that they should be there with you. And you actually kind of learn that it’s a little in reverse of how you might first imagine things…
109. I Fall To Pieces, Patsy Cline
What can you say about Patsy Cline that hasn’t been said already? She’s one of the best voices in all of country music. She left this world too soon and we can only imagine what would have been in store had she been able to record longer. She was unique and this song is one of her absolute best. It’s one of those jukebox songs that really pulls at you every time you hear it. Those soaring vocals in the chorus. Just wonderful.
108. Someone Else’s Star, Bryan White
Bryan White was building his career when this one shot to #1 on the charts in 1995. It was White’s third single release and became the first in a nice string of hits. It’s a little play on the old feeling that if you wish upon a star that you’ll get what you’re wishing for, but the catch here is that the guy thinks he must be wishing on the wrong star, but his wish to find the love of his life is not coming true. A really well-performed and well-produced song. The artist and the vocals are center stage.
107. Your Cheatin’ Heart, Hank Williams
When many people think of country music they think of Hank Williams and Your Cheatin’ Heart. It’s one of the original country songs in many senses of the definition. You have the crying voice of Hank Williams singing about a lover that has been cheating on him and he’s feeling the pain of it all. This song is still one of the best and still popular all these years later.
106. The Grand Tour, George Jones
George Jones certainly had his faults. He let people down, but he just had his demons that he struggled to overcome. And he often felt deep regret and depression for all the people he let down. And he was open about his transgressions. And all that emotion came across in his music and it’s why so many people loved him. This song was one of his biggest hits. It’s a guy opening his door to visitors who turn out to be looking to buy the home that was once a happy home, but that now needs to be sold.
105. Everything’s Changed, Lonestar
A really cool song with a very sad tone to it. The song is about a guy that goes back to his hometown or is looking at his hometown. Everything has changed, but he still has the same feelings for the woman he loved all those years ago. She doesn’t have the same love for him. She’s changed just like the town where they grew up. The only thing that hasn’t changed is his feelings. He’s gotten left behind.
104. Wichita Lineman, Glen Campbell
How great was Glen Campbell. He always seemed like one of the nicest people in the world. Yes, he wasn’t a perfect man, but in many ways he was a perfect performer. He was so multi-talented and it really came across in this song, which was one of his biggest. It told the story of a guy that was away from the one he loved and all he wanted was to get back there to be with her.
103. Make The World Go Away, Eddy Arnold
This song has been covered many times, but the Eddy Arnold version is really well known and well liked. Eddy had an amazing voice; so deep and so powerful. He cut right through to the heart of the song on this one, which was about feeling that you just need to get away for a while. The narrators knows that they’ve screwed up and all they want to do is make it all go away.
102. Misery Loves Company, Porter Wagoner
A number one for Porter in 1962. This one really has a classic country song. It’s a little more uptempo. We’ll call it a mid tempo song, but it still has a slow sound to it especially with today’s country songs. Even today, though, the title has meaning for those that love to wallow together in their misery.
101. I Won’t Need You Anymore (Always and Forever), Randy Travis
Randy really started to reach for the stars in country music with his second album. And this was the second release from this album and it reached number one just like all the singles off that album. Just a really good love song from one of the best of all time in country music. From a time when he was at his peak.
100. Statue Of A Fool, Ricky Van Shelton
This is one of Ricky’s most well known songs, but it wasn’t one of his number one hits. The song reached #2 on the chart I believe in 1990. The song remains a favorite on classic country stations for a few reasons. It was a cover of singer Jack Greene took to number one in 1969. Talk about a powerful slow country song.
99. Room Full Of Roses, Mickey Gilley
This is the one that started it all for Mickey Gilley on a national stage. It was 1974 and Mickey was well known in his native Texas. I think it was the Houston area and this song started taking off. He was on Playboy Records, which isn’t around anymore, but they helped to put Mickey on a run with this song. It’s a breakup song about a guy that is trying to put in words the pain he feels as a result of the breakup. Great song. Classic country style at least looking back now.
98. Lady, Kenny Rogers
By the end of 1980, Kenny Rogers was one of the biggest stars in all of music. He found a way to blend genres and fans loved him and his music. Lady was special for many reasons including its appeal. The song reached number one on the country charts, but also became the first of two (Islands In The Stream) number one pop hits for Rogers.
97. What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life, Ronnie Milsap
Another #1 hit for Ronnie that came out in 1977. Ronnie really was one of the greats in country music. This one has a little bit more speed to it, but we’ll still give it a pass to include it on this list. It’s still something you can dance to and I’m sure this one has been played at plenty of weddings.
96. I Still Believe In You, Vince Gill
Vince Gill released the album I Still Believe In You in 1993 and it became a huge smash hit. The album had four number one singles including the title track. This song remains a popular country song today. Nobody could sing a slow country song like Vince and this is probably the best showcase of that talent.
95. The Impossible, Joe Nichols
Slow songs aren’t always the ones that break an artist into the mainstream. But that’s exactly what happened when Joe Nichols released this one in 2002. The song would go on to reach #3 on the charts and Nichols is still around today making hits. The song was a good one and not your usual love song or anything about that. Some real life stuff going on with this one.
94. Linda On My Mind, Conway Twitty
Conway Twitty was one of the most successful country singers of all time. His voice is really one of a kind and he took this song to number one on the charts back in 1975. It’s a little more tempo that you’ll get with a usual song, but we’ll include it here. This one is about a guy that is struggling to get over his former lover no matter how much he tries. And the one he’s with now sees it too.
93. Girl Crush, Little Big Town
This one is pretty recent, but it became a huge song in many different ways. Little Big Town has a way of writing or finding songs that become super huge hits. And they’re not all the same and that’s a really cool thing. This one I think caught many people by surprise. The song is about a woman that misses her former lover. She wants things back so badly that she’s thinking about his smell, his touch and all those things that his new lover feels. A really held back production put the lyrics on center stage on this one and it worked out very well.
92. I Will Always Love You, Dolly Parton
Huge song. This song has been a hit many times. It started with Dolly and she took it to number one. It’s about a breakup. It could be love. It could be friendship. It could be many different types of relationships and how things can be tricky and cause sorrow, but even through it all there can still be love.
91. Whiskey Lullaby, Brad Paisley & Alison Krauss
Sometimes a song’s final landing place on the charts doesn’t tell the entire story. This song reached #3 on the radio chart in 2004, but it’s connected with people in many ways. The song sold well and is one of the most well known songs for both Paisley and Krauss. It’s about heartbreak and alcoholism – two unfortunate facts of life and themes often covered in country music’s history.
90. Almost Home, Craig Morgan
After four unsuccessful singles Craig Morgan put this one out in late 2002 and it became a pretty big hit reaching #6 on the chart. The song is not your typical country hit, but it really connected with a lot of people. And it proves that slow songs can be just as catchy as fast songs. This one is about a guy that runs into someone that is living on the street and dreaming about better places. The song is about appreciating what you have and not taking all the good things for granted by focusing on the negative all the time.
89. I Believe In You, Don Williams
Don Williams is really a one-of-a-kind artist. There is nobody that sounds like him or really that plays like him. He kind of comes from that singer-songwriter mold that was big in the ’70s. Don put hits on the charts all the time and this is perhaps one of his best known. The song is about all the things that we kind of think we know in life for sure, but we know we don’t really know anything. But the narrator knows for sure that he believes in love. He knows what that is all about especially with the one that matters most to him.
88. Rose Colored Glasses, John Conlee
The debut single from John Conlee remains one of his most well known. The song didn’t reach number one on the charts (#5), but went on to become one of the biggest country songs of all time. The idea of colored glasses still rings true in our culture today as we sometimes look at things the way we want them to be instead of how they really are.
87. Skin (Sarabeth), Rascal Flatts
By 2005, Rascal Flatts was huge. They were selling tons of records. They were different in country music. There was really no one like them in music at people loved them. That allows freedom to put out songs like this one. It’s about a young girl with cancer and the challenges and triumphs she goes through in her young life. Very touching in a happy way.
86. Lucille, Kenny Rogers
Who would think that a silver-haired, near 40-year old would go from relative unknown to one of the biggest country stars in history? That’s what happened starting in 1977 when Kenny Rogers’ Lucille became a number one smash hit on the country charts. The song was huge and remains a staple for Kenny. It was even randomly added to pop culture lore when Cartman sang a few bars on an episode of South Park.
85. Let Me Let Go, Faith Hill
In 1998, Faith put out her self-titled third album and it sold like crazy. The big hit was This Kiss, but I really liked this one. It’s a slower song and one of the most traditional sounding songs that Faith ever did. This one is about a woman that is struggling to get over a guy. She sees him all the time in her mind and it seems like he’s playing games with her. Just let her let go. It’s driving her crazy. And how awesome are the Vince Gill harmonies? He pops every once in a while and offers something really cool to songs for other artists.
84. Easy Come, Easy Go, George Strait
By 1993, George Strait was the king of country music. Maybe Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson could top him at this time, but George was the man. I don’t know if there was an era when he wasn’t having hits. This one was always kind of a unique song. It has a really cool groove for a slow song. The production is really good. Well-written song. It’s about a guy that needs to let his woman go and he’s finally coming to that realization. It’s the way it goes.
83. Goin’ Gone, Kathy Mattea
This one went to number one for Kathy Mattea back in 1987. It’s a song about life with a great melody. We’re kind of bending the rules a bit on this one calling it a slow song, but it has that kind of rolling melody so we’ll include it here. A really wonderful song with deeper meaning each time you listen.
82. Suspicions, Eddie Rabbitt
Eddie makes the list again for his major hit from 1979. The song is about a jealous lover. The narrator knows that he shouldn’t have reason to feel so suspicious of his lover, but he can’t really help it. Even today this song sounds so fresh and different. Even Tim McGraw had a hit with a remake of this one.
81. A Little Past Little Rock, Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann Womack really loves traditional country. I always really liked this one. It kind of oozes traditional country and became a big hit for Lee Ann in the late ’90s. It’s about a woman that needs to move on with her life after a breakup with a guy. She had to leave it all behind because of all the memories. Sometimes when you need to move on you really need to move on.
80. I’ll Get Over You, Crystal Gayle
Another classic from Crystal Gayle. This was her first #1 hit and it came out in 1975. It really helped to put her on the map. The song is about a woman that’s getting over a former lover. She’s finally pretty sure that she’ll be over the one that’s gone. A pretty simple performance, but that’s part of the beauty. Crystal didn’t need to overdo things. Her voice was wonderful.
79. Is It Really Over, Jim Reeves
In the mid ’60s, Jim Reeves really had a run of hits and this came right in the middle in 1965. The Nashville Sound was in full force on this one. You have many instruments strong with some great backing vocals as well. There is a big sound here while still having a song that is soft and subtle while packing a punch in the performance and the sorrow in the lyrics.
78. The Fool, Lee Ann Womack
Heartbreaking song right here. Sometimes we love someone so much and that love isn’t returned. This is what’s going on in this song. You have a woman that has these feelings for the guy and everyone, including her, knows that he’s not worth it. He’s going to break her heart. She knows it, but she can’t get past those feelings. Some of us are destined for heartbreak and we do it to ourselves.
77. I Breathe In, I Breathe Out – Chris Cagle
Chris Cagle is well known for his rocking country style. But he could turn things back for a good country slow song. And this one is a song that really connected with fans back in 2001. The song is about a guy that has had some tough luck, but he’s working on getting through life one breath at a time.
76. Let That Pony Run, Pam Tillis
This one reached #4 in 1993. Another great Pam Tillis song. She had a slow start in country music in the ’80s, but once she found her sound she really took off and it was much to do with picking great songs like this one. It’s a song about letting go. There are a lot of situations that make you feel like there are no choices other than to let go. You have to if you want to go on living your life. You do what you gotta do.
75. There Goes My Life, Kenny Chesney
This one came out in late 2003 and it was pretty much at Peak Chesney. This was a huge time for the superstar. He remains a hitmaker, but he was perhaps the most well known of any country singer at this time and a big part of that was this song, which is about a young guy that has a child with his girlfriend in high school and how his feelings on that situation changed over his entire life. A really powerful song about love and life.
74. All My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down), Hank Williams Jr.
We know the other, later song of a similar name that went on to have success on Monday Night Football, but this one lives on as being just as important. It came out in late 1981 and went all the way to #1 on the chart. The song is about Hank wanting to live a little on the edge as he heads into his thirties, but he’s looking around and seeing that all his old buddies are settling down for this reason and the other.
73. I Love This Bar, Toby Keith
Whew…this song was big. We’re talking mega hit. This was one of those songs that got to the point where you expected to hear it every half hour on the radio. I think it was a number one hit for at least a month and possibly for a couple months. Toby was really at his peak on this one and really it’s a simple song. It’s about a bar, but man is that a good bar to be part of. Kind of like a song about Cheers.
72. No Doubt About It, Neal McCoy
Neal McCoy had been trying and trying for a hit in Nashville. It finally happened for him when this song became a hit in 1993. In fact, it went all the way to #1 on the chart and Neal turned into a star. Overnight success? It may seem like that, but Neal had put in the work for a long time. Just a great love song here. I know it’s a song for many couples out there. No doubt about it.
71. Drink A Beer, Luke Bryan
This one is pretty recent, but still had a huge impact on the country charts. It’s a song about life and how some people need to deal with it. They take out a beer and enjoy it. Things don’t have to get taken too extreme, but sometimes some of us need to be alone and drink a beer and be alone with our thoughts.
70. That’s As Close As I’ll Get To Loving You, Aaron Tippin
Aaron Tippin took this song to #1 in 1995. Aaron was known as kind of the workout guy in country music. He had muscle that would often power his uptempo songs into the hearts of listeners, but he could tone it down for a slow country song like this one too. It was one of his biggest hits and still gets played quite a bit today. It’s a sad song. It’s about a man that loves a woman from afar for whatever the reason. The love is not returned and he can’t get close enough to really be with her.
69. So Help Me Girl, Joe Diffie
This was a #2 hit for Joe Diffie in 1995. The song showcased Joe’s ability to change it up with the tempo of his song. He had some fun songs that were uptempo and goofy, but he also had passionate love songs like this one. It’s about a guy that is really falling hard for a woman. He feels like he’s losing control and is giving himself completely to her and kind of feeling like she’ll need to help him through it.
68. Anymore, Travis Tritt
Travis Tritt sold tons of records in the ’90s. He had a different attitude about him and fans really latched on to his songs. And he had quite an array of songs. This one was the slow ballad that really connected with a lot of people and went to #1 1991. I still hear this song all the time on classic country radio. It’s pretty special when an artist can cut a song that has a lifetime like that. To me, the song is vague and could be about a couple different things. Is it about a guy that is finally going to tell the woman he loves that he loves her? Or is about a guy that has lost someone and can’t hide the hurt anymore? Probably the first, but it’s open for interpretation.
67. Nobody’s Home, Clint Black
Clint Black stormed onto the country music scene in 1989 with four straight number one hits. That’s pretty impressive. And he kept it up throughout the ’90s and into the ’00s. The third single of his career was Nobody’s Home. It’s an interesting take on a lonely life that a guy is living. It’s very detailed and paints a picture that for many is reality. Going through the motions, but not really being present of mind.
66. Luckenbach, Texas, Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson
Talk about a song that lives on. This one from two kings of country – Waylon and Willie – was a huge hit during the “Outlaw” era in country music. We have Bro Country today. Back then it was Outlaw Country. There is always something and that’s okay. We’re lucky to get great songs out of each era and this one truly was a great song…in any era.
65. Some Fools Never Learn, Steve Wariner
Sometimes we just keep going back and back and we never learn. This song is about a guy that can’t get over this girl to save his life. He keeps going back. He keeps trying even though he knows that this girl is no good for him. But he goes back for the good times even with all the pain. It’s a true emotion and situation that many go through in life.
64. Cold, Cold Heart, Hank Williams
Here we have a guy that’s trying to do all he can to win the heart of his lover. But she isn’t sharing the same feelings. The guy kind of thinks that she’s never going to feel the same way. She can’t get over her former lover no matter how hard the guy tries. Or maybe she just can’t fall in love with the guy in front of her who has made some mistakes. If this isn’t a country song then I don’t know what is.
63. Feed Jake, Pirates Of The Mississippi
Kind of a sleeper hit right here. This one reached #15 on the chart back in 1991. It’s one of those that wasn’t a huge chart topper, but people request this one all the time. It’s one of those songs that means different things to different people and that’s the beauty of it along with the great melody. It’s about society and thinking about what really matters. I think everyone thinks about things that matter most to them when they listen to it. A really good one.
62. She Thinks I Still Care, George Jones
This song was so popular that George said he couldn’t play anywhere without singing this one. It’s one of his most requested songs and for good reason. It’s one of George’s originals and he nailed the performance on this one. It’s a song about denial and how a guy is trying to convince everyone that he doesn’t really care even though all the signs are obvious that he does.
61. For The Good Times, Ray Price
Is there a song as soft as this one? It’s just silky smooth and really defined an era in country music. It’s sweeping and magical and makes you feel like the world really is a good place and a place where you can hope for the good things. It’s about a guy that knows it’s over, but he knows that he’ll always have the good times that he spent with the woman he cared so deeply for. Definitely a sad song, but a look on the good side of things.
60. I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool, Barbara Mandrell
This one is a little different in the fact that it was a live recording. There are a few of those in country’s history, but not too many. Usually things are pretty produced. But this one went to #1 for Barbara 1981 and she even got a little help from the original country singer that always loved keeping it country: George Jones. Great song that’s a bit on the faster side, but still a slow country song in our hearts.
59. Ring On Her Finger, Time On Her Hands, Lee Greenwood
This was the second single from Lee Greenwood. It went all the way to #5 on the charts in 1982. The song is a sad one about a narrator who’s lover ends up cheating out of feeling lonely in the relationship. Things started out with good intentions, but eventually the relationship just didn’t work out. It’s a sad reality in many situations. This song once again made the top five when Reba McEntire released it in the ’90s.
58. So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore, Alan Jackson
This song only made it to #25 on the charts in 2012, but many consider it one of Alan Jackson’s best. The song really pulls on your heart as you listen to the story. It’s a song about a guy that is willing to be the bad guy in the relationship so his lover can feel like she can leave the relationship without feeling bad about it. That’s a really sad sentiment.
57. Gone Crazy, Alan Jackson
Back to back Alan Jackson songs on the list. That’s never a bad thing in my book. This one came out in 1999 and made it into the top five on the charts. It was definitely a sad country song about feeling alone in a relationship and feeling incomplete and crazy when the relationship is over. A really emotional and well written song from one of country’s best singers and songwriters.
56. If You See Him, If You See Her, Reba McEntire & Brooks & Dunn
This was a huge hit for Reba and the guys in Brooks & Dunn. Slow and sultry. Emotional. There is a lot to like about this song and it’s no surprise that it did as well as it did back in the late ’90s. You have superstars performing this one and it’s still one that touches people today.
55. Can’t Be Really Gone, Tim McGraw
This was always one of my favorite Tim McGraw songs. I’m not really sure what that says about me because this is a really sad song. It’s probably one of the saddest that Tim as recorded. The song is about a guy and how sad he is that his lover has left. The really sad thing is that the guy just can’t imagine she would have left so many things unfinished like her favorite hat and other things. Maybe that means she’ll come back, but we all know that’s not the case.
54. You Lie, Reba McEntire
Reba has had dozens and dozens of hits. The songs she’s recorded have covered the spectrum of different country songs including some of the best slow country songs of all time. But this one was something pretty special. The melody was unique and really stuck with you. It’s a heartbreaking song about a woman that knows her husband doesn’t love her anymore, but he’s staying out of obligation. Is that good for them? That’s the struggle in the song.
53. Letting Go, Suzy Bogguss
This song went to #6 on the charts for Suzy back in 1992. It was one of her biggest hits and it still has a special place for parents and children today. It’s about a parent that is seeing her daughter off to college. She’s moving out and moving on with her life. The parent’s job is finished in the sense of preparing the child for adulthood. That’s an important step for just about everyone and it can be difficult to let go.
52. You Don’t Even Know Who I Am, Patty Loveless
One of the best country songs of all time. And Patty is really one of the best singers of all time. She had so many great hits during her run on the charts. And I would still sit and listen to her sing those songs any time. This one always stood out as something really special and unique. The song is about a couple that is no longer in love with each other. It starts with the woman feeling like the guy doesn’t know her anymore. Then the guy discovers the note she left and he feels the same way – the woman didn’t know him either. Powerful, emotional stuff.
51. I Can’t Reach Her Anymore, Sammy Kershaw
Sammy is perhaps a little under appreciated in country music. He had a ton of hits in the ’90s and really helped to define that era. This song was one of his biggest hits. It went all the way to #3 on the charts. It’s about a guy that has broken up with a lover. He was the one that left. He made the choice and now he’s thinking he made a mistake so he reaches back out. Through that he realizes that she doesn’t want to talk and she keeps distancing herself from him no matter how much he tries.
50. Brotherly Love, Keith Whitley & Earl Thomas Conley
A great song about a different kind of love from two of country’s best singers. This one is about the love that siblings share and specifically the love between brothers. It’s often a difficult relationship, but can be one of the best relationships that people share. Keith had passed when this song was put out and it once again reminded country fans of just what they had lost.
49. Pancho & Lefty – Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard
Willie and Merle took this one to #1 in late 1983 and into 1984. They were both at peaks in their career. For Merle, it was a pretty incredible feat to continue having hits into the ’80s. He is truly one of the longest hit makers in country history. This song was slow and a story song. We don’t get good country songs like this one as much anymore. A little fantasy or folk tale from two legends.
48. Go Rest High On That Mountain, Vince Gill
This song wasn’t a huge hit on the charts, but it has been one of those songs that has a life well after its run on the charts. This one is played all the time at funerals including at the funeral celebration for George Jones. Vince nailed the emotion of losing someone on this track and it’s been a powerful song for many country fans since it was released. It also won a Grammy for best country song. That’s achieving something.
47. She Used To Be Mine, Brooks & Dunn
The guys really hadn’t had a slow song on the charts when this one came out in 1993. It wasn’t a bad career move because this one went on to reach the number one spot. Talk about a guy realizing how much he screwed up. And who can’t sing along with the killer catchy lyric: Soooo wrong for soooo long…?
46. Love, Me, Collin Raye
Collin Raye. He’s not often mentioned when it comes to the best singers in country music, but he sure had a hell of a run in the ’90s. It really got started when this one was released in 1991. It was his second single and went all the way to number one on the charts. This one really touched a lot of people out there. A grandfather tells his grandson about a letter that he wrote to the grandmother when they were young and falling in love. Then the letter later comes back as the man is mourning the loss of his wife and how he’ll wait until he sees her again.
45. All The Good Ones Are Gone, Pam Tillis
Whew. Talk about a heartbreak of a song. This one is about a woman that feels like all the good men out there are gone. Who hasn’t felt this way at some point whether you’re male or female. Sometimes you can date people and they all turn out to be the wrong ones. You start wondering if there is something wrong with you and all it seems like is that everyone you know is happy.
44. The Light In Your Eyes, Leann Rimes
Leann Rimes became a sensation with her debut album in 1996. This song was one of her best. It’s about life and all the struggles that everyone faces. The lyrics are vague about what those challenges are and that’s how it works. We all experience things at that are challenging. We never know what someone else is going through all the time, but we can help them to keep the light in their eyes, their hope for a better future.
43. You Don’t Know Me, Eddy Arnold
This one is a classic. It’s been covered many times. I like this version. Eddy is one of the best of all time. His voice is rich and true. He has a way of getting through to the listener. You just pay attention when you hear this one. At least that’s how I feel about it. Another heartbreaker of a song.
42. It Matters To Me, Faith Hill
This song was released in late 1995 and became a number one hit that year and into 1996. This song is pretty country and reminds you that Faith has the chops to handle any song – country, pop or whatever. But her roots are in country and she nailed it on this one. It’s about a woman that wishes the man she was with would just care a little bit more; put in a little more effort. It matters to her, maybe not to him, but it does to her.
41. Always On My Mind, Willie Nelson
If Willie has a signature song it might be this one. The song was released in 1982 and became a number one hit. And it even reached the top five on the pop charts. Willie was really one of the kings of country and all of music back in those days. This song is about a guy that maybe didn’t do as much as he could or should have when he was with the girl of his dreams. He always thought about her, though, but that’s not usually enough.
40. Stupid Boy, Keith Urban
This song was a bit of a change for Keith Urban. It was really a depressing song about a guy that is really kicking himself and really feeling down for how he treated the one he was supposed to love the most. He finally sees after it’s over that he was the reason things didn’t work out. He wishes he could go back to the way things were, but it’s all over now and he’s left to wallow in in sorrows.
39. I’m Not Supposed To Love You Anymore, Bryan White
Bryan White kicked off 1996 with his second album and the first single off that record was a really emotional track. The song is about a couple that’s breaking up. The guy is still figuring out how that’s supposed to work. He knows that he’s not supposed to love her anymore, but he can’t just pack up all the things they shared and move on. He still has the strong feelings for her. Heartbreaking…
38. The Most Beautiful Girl, Charlie Rich
Following up Behind Closed Doors was another smash hit for Charlie Rich. This one is a song about heartbreak and a guy that lost the love of his life. You know what song this one is from the very first time Charlie comes in with the Hey. He nails it again on this one and there are so many hooks in the song that you can’t help, but sing along. This one was a number one across the board including the pop charts.
37. Hello Darlin’, Conway Twitty
A huge, huge number one song in 1970. This one could be one of the signature songs for Conway and that’s saying something because he had an incredible collection of songs. I mean…what a song. It starts with the title and from there you’re pulled in to this song about a guy that runs into his former lover. Conway was killing it on this one.
36. How Can I Help You Say Goodbye, Patty Loveless
This was one of Patty’s biggest hits. It was the fourth and final single from Patty’s album, Only What I Feel, in 1994. The song went all the way to #3 on the chart. The song is about goodbye as it says in the title. It’s about difficult goodbyes and a mother helping her daughter to say goodbye in sad situations throughout her life. A song that was special for a lot of people.
35. Home, Blake Shelton
Blake Shelton covered this one in 2008 and it went to number one on the charts. It was originally a Michael Bublé song. He co-write it and it was a hit for him on the pop charts. Blake turned it into his own and it really became something special in the country world. Back when the song was climbing the charts even Michael was excited about it and would call Blake to see how the song was doing on the charts.
34. Love In The First Degree, Alabama
Talk about a killer love song. Alabama nailed it on this one. It has that really strong drum sound, but we’re going to include it here in the slow country song category. It’s not a fast song by any stretch. It’s a little more uptempo, but something you can still slow dance to if you’re looking to fall in love again with the one you love in the first degree.
33. That’s My Job, Conway Twitty
I always had a soft spot for this one. And I don’t think I was the only one that felt that way. I don’t think it gets the attention that many other Conway Twitty songs receive, but it is a really good slow country song. It’s about a guy that recounts various points in his life and how people have affected him in positive ways. A really great song about life.
32. He’ll Have To Go, Jim Reeves
Big, big song. This one hit number one on many country charts and #2 on the pop charts. That’s big time at any point in music history and a big accomplishment in 1960 when this one came out. How strong does Jim’s voice come across on this one. Those opening lines about putting sweet lips closer to the phone is a knockout. A powerful love song.
31. Bless The Broken Road, Rascal Flatts
This one was interesting and it really had an impact. The song had been covered a few times. It had been around, but it really caught fire when Rascal Flatts recorded it and released it in late 2004. It became a number one hit and really seemed to connect with people. It’s a song about hope. It’s about how some of us can really view ourselves as broken, but in the end there is still hope that the broken road we’re on can lead to love and to happiness.
30. Crazy Arms, Ray Price
It was one of the biggest hits in country music ever. Ray Price really put the twang in this one and he nailed it. It’s another song about a guy that lost the love of his life. He still has the love for her, but he just can’t get past those old feelings. She’s moved on, but who knows how long it will be for him. He’s lonely all the time.
29. The Little Girl, John Michael Montgomery
This one became a surprise hit for John Michael Montgomery. He had been having hits for a decade and some maybe thought he was on the downside of his career. But then he put out this song about a girl that’s in the unfortunate situation of being in an abusive home. It’s not her fault, but it’s her reality. It makes you think. It makes you feel sad. It makes you want to help others.
28. On The Other Hand, Randy Travis
Sometimes a song needs a second chance to reach its full potential. That was the case with this song. In 1985, this one only reached #67 on the charts. Then later Randy’s career broke with 1982 and this one was rereleased and reached number one. Talk about a good decision. Whoever put this one back out had some kind of intuition. This is one of the best country songs of all time.
27. If Tomorrow Never Comes, Garth Brooks
The king of country music nailed it with this one. This was Garth’s second single and his first number one hit. It’s a really passionate and wonderful love song. It has a really cool hook. A guy finally coming to the realization that he is with the love of his life and he can settle down and be happy with her forever.
26. Little Rock, Collin Raye
The second song on the list that has Little Rock in the title. This one is about a man that is recovering from his struggles with alcoholism. Those struggles meant that his life had to change and because of his struggles he’s no longer with the one he loves. She couldn’t stay. He’s starting a new life, but still thinks of her. He isn’t drinking anymore…at least for a few weeks. All is good or so he thinks. He doesn’t have her and that breaks his heart.
25. Hello Walls, Faron Young
Willie Nelson wrote this one and it became a number one hit for Faron Young in 1961. It was a hit on the country charts and on the pop charts. It’s about a guy that is really losing his mind after his lover left. He’s trying not to go insane, but he’s sitting in an empty room talking to the walls around him. He’s losing it and odds are that she’s not coming back anytime soon.
24. A Broken Wing, Martina McBride
How many people have covered this one? I swear that if you turn on the auditions for one of those singing shows on TV that you’ll hear someone singing this song. There have been a few that have pulled it off well, but the original will never be touched. Martina nailed this one and it’s had an impact on many country fans.
23. Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift
We had to include this one on the list and had to put it this high on the chart because it launched Taylor Swift’s career. She’s spending some time over in pop music now, but her roots are in country and she’s welcome back whenever she wants to visit again. This song was pretty unique. It’s a teen love song that centers on the fact that a Tim McGraw song was playing when the two kids were falling for each other even though they knew it probably wouldn’t last as it usually doesn’t at that age.
22. When I Call Your Name, Vince Gill
Vince appears on this list more than a couple times and for good reason. He’s one of the best singers of all time in country music. And add on top of that a great songwriter and guitar player and a whiz with the slow songs and you’ll get a handful of songs. In 1989, Vince was needing a little bit a breakthrough and he sure got it with this song and the album that came with it. A really slow and also really sad country song. Just wonderful.
21. You’re Still The One, Shania Twain
This was one of Shania’s biggest hits and that’s saying something because she had so many great songs. This song was meant to be vague, about the love two people share and even though many might not think that they will last that they still know it will. It probably was about Shania’s own relationship with her producer, co-writer and husband, but Shania has said it took on a bigger meaning than that. It related to her parents and other relationships she has had and has witnessed.
20. Don’t Take The Girl, Tim McGraw
Man, what an impact this song had. It was Tim’s first number one hit back in 1994. And from there his career just took off, but this song still has a special place for his fans. It was sad. It was about life and how woman affect men throughout their lives all the way from childhood on to death. A really well written song that showed again how even slow country songs can be catchy. Kids sing along with this one at the Take Jimmy Johnson/Take Tommy Thompson…
19. When You Say Nothing At All, Alison Krauss
Could have put the Keith Whitley song on this list, but I thought Alison’s has been one that people are really drawn to. It’s probably her biggest hit and kind of became a hit beyond country, which is pretty special. It’s just a really well written song about love and how sometimes the best things are the ones that you don’t need to say. Pretty cool stuff and Alison really sang it well.
18. Through The Years, Kenny Rogers
This is a special kind of song. It’s a love song and it can be difficult to do love songs if only because there are so many of them in the history of country music. This one became one of loves songs that really connected with lovers of all ages and backgrounds. It’s really one of Rogers’ career songs. Oddly, the song only reached #5 on the country chart, but did reach #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
17. The House That Built Me, Miranda Lambert
In 2010, Miranda Lambert finally got her number one hit on country radio. This song was something special and it’s really no surprise that it did so well. The song is about a person that goes back to their childhood home. They look around and reminisce on all the memories. It’s about all the things that change in our life even if we try to keep them all the same. And we can keep some things the same like what we care most about and our values.
16. Don’t Close Your Eyes, Keith Whitley
Keith Whitley could sing any song, but he could really sing a slow country song. He struggled a bit to become a superstar for a while, but when this album came out he became a sensation. And then he left us too early, but not before really leaving his mark. This song is about a guy that is with a woman that he knows is thinking of someone else. He still loves her though, but wishes she could think of him the way she thinks of the other guy.
15. Chiseled In Stone, Vern Gosdin
Heartbreak. Man, this song will get you. When you listen for the first time you feel the emotion and if you’re able to catch the lyrics the first time around it will really get to you. It’s the story of realizing that none of us really know about loneliness until we lose someone when their name is chiseled in stone. Gets me every time.
14. I Hope You Dance, Lee Ann Womack
Talk about a big time song. This one came out and took over the country world for about a year. It’s still played all the times. It’s kind of a song for parents and kids. But it can be about even more than that. It’s from the perspective of a parent that wishes their child the best. They know that things will be challenging sometimes, but the hope is that they do the best they can and enjoy the dance along the way.
13. I Swear, John Michael Montgomery
I think we forget how big of a star John Michael was in the ’90s. He churned out huge hit after huge hit including this one that went on to become kind of one of the biggest love songs of all time. It was huge for John Michael and later in the same year, 1994, became a huge hit on the pop charts for All 4 One. But John Michael had it first and this country love songs is still popular with lovers today.
12. Four Walls, Jim Reeves
Jim Reeves took this one to #1 back in 1957. This song remains one of the most well liked in country music history. It gets to the heart of many country songs: sorrow. It’s about a guy that is made for love even though the one he loves is made for nights out and perhaps not for settling down.
11. Back Home Again, John Denver
It’s kind of unfortunate that John Denver was never really accepted in the country music world. His music was perhaps more country than much of the country that came out in the mid 1970s and late 19070s. And the community could have accepted him in the ’80s as well. Even so, this song became one of the biggest country hits ever when it was released and for good reason. John Denver was an amazing singer-songwriter and this was perhaps his signature song and it came when he was at his peak in popularity.
10. Today I Started Loving You Again, Merle Haggard
This song is one of the most popular songs in Merle’s career and it was kind of unique because it wasn’t really a hit for him. But somehow it became one of the most important songs of his career and he would tell you so if you asked him. There is just something about a love song where a guy finally sees through all the mess and realizes what he has with the woman right in front of him. Great country song.
9. Remember When, Alan Jackson
In the mid-2000s, Alan Jackson had a career resurgence and this song became one of his biggest hits. For some reason, I can’t really pin my reasons on it, this song became a huge hit. It’s a really slow song, but the emotion and real life story comes through and it really connected with country fans. It’s still one of Alan’s best and his fans love it. The track brings tears to many people that listen to it. That’s a powerful country song.
8. Don’t Laugh At Me, Mark Wills
This is a really powerful song. It reached #2 on the chart back in late 1998 and into 1999. The power of this song is in something that’s been around for a very long time – bullying. There are lots of us that are different and that’s just fine. That’s the wonderful thing about the world. We can appreciate all the different kinds of people. Well, that’s the dream anyway. This song still touches listeners and probably will for many years.
7. He Stopped Loving Her Today, George Jones
This one had to be included on the list and in the top ten. It’s perhaps the best country song of all time. You know the story of the guy that finally stopped loving the woman he was with on the day they buried him in the ground. Through it all he never lost that love. This song returned George to greatness and people really connected with it. The power of love really does always seem to touch people, but it takes a special song to accomplish the connection and this song did just that.
6. Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain, Willie Nelson
It’s hard to believe that there was a time when Willie Nelson struggled to become a superstar. But he took the really long way around to becoming a success in Nashville. He was as successful songwriter. He had some big cuts with major artists, but he struggled for years and years to become a singer himself. That was until this song came out in 1975 and went to #1 on the chart. A simple song, but one of the best of all time in country music.
5. I Cross My Heart, George Strait
George Strait did a film in 1992 and the soundtrack became a huge hit. The movie was good too and became a modest hit, but the soundtrack was stellar and this was the main song. And it’s kind of lived on beyond the movie in a lot of ways. It’s a simple love song, but sometimes those simple love songs are the best ones. You can say so much with so little sometimes. And George is the best at doing it.
4. Strawberry Wine, Deana Carter
In the Fall of 1996, a new country singer took over the charts. Strawberry Wine wasn’t supposed to be the kind of song that launches the career of a new artist. But that is exactly what happened for Deana Carter. This song became one of the biggest hits of all time in country music history. Everything was against this song and it somehow connect with fans. And it remains one of the best songs ever. It’s something nearly every fan can relate to and Deana nailed it with the vocals. Just a great song that will be a favorite in country music for a very long time.
3. I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry, Hank Williams
The title really says all that needs to be said about this one. You have perhaps the original and greatest country music star of all time. Even today, kids know every where of this chorus. It’s really quite an amazing thing. The feeling of loneliness is so powerful and everyone really feels it at some point. When that happens they really want to say that they’re so lonesome they could cry. Hank capture that perfectly so many years ago.
2. Amazed, Lonestar
Lonestar was at a crossroads in their career by 1999. The tastes in country music were shifting a bit into the pop world and Lonestar had definitely been part of the modern cowboy sound in the ’90s. But they made a slight shift and it turned out to be huge for them. They recorded and released Amazed and in 1999 and 2000 it became one of the biggest hits in country music…ever. The song was a number one on the country charts and later a number one on the pop charts. This song was everywhere. I remember seeing them perform probably the summer of 2000 and they played this one twice. People couldn’t get enough.
1. She’s Got You, Patsy Cline
We’ve reached the #1 song on the list. I just don’t think it gets better than this for a slow country song. First, it’s Patsy Cline. She’s one of the best country artists of all time. It’s a heartache song about a woman that has all the things that her lover left her while he’s moved on with a new woman. The top song on the list didn’t need to be a sad country song, but it worked out that way. It’s a story song, a slow song and it’s got everything.