This article lists the best country songs of all time.
Country music takes on many different styles. From the country tunes to the contemporary sounds. We find that the best country songs provide impressive storytelling and vocabulary skills. This diversified list examines works from different generations and extends to showcase how country music has evolved over time.
1. “Before You Go” – Buck Owens
It hit the Billboard charts for country music in the year 1965. The song remained #1 for a significant time, giving the audience an indelible mark and impression from it. In the song, you listen to the narrator fighting to keep his love as she is about to leave. He reminds her of their best moments. The narrator hopes she will overlook their argument and stay the forsake of their love.
2.“It’s Just a Matter of Time” – Randy Travis
It takes the audience back to 1989 as a hit on the country charts as #1. Originally, the song was not country, but a pop record. Later, three country artists covered it and it became the people’s sensation. Randy Travis’ 1989 version saw his take on the hit become a huge success for the track and his career. It is amazing how someone can borrow an idea and magnify it to afford such achievement.
3. “Have Mercy” – Judds
The Judds provoke society to have better value for women in this song. The single observes how a man mistreats his woman but it’s also a song for everyone. Its message still touches on sensitive issues of our current society. It was a huge success as it managed to remain on the country charts for 14 weeks.
4. “Chattahoochee” – Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson was most successful with this single as it became the song of the year. He won over the hearts of many country fans with his emotional lyrics and style. The record identified with many fans to the level of winning it a CMA award back in 1993. If you listened to the song, you would agree love “always wins” as Jackson’s lyrics will keep you on repeat.
5. “Here You Come Again” – Dolly Parton
Here comes the people’s favorite, at least to many if you don’t agree. Dolly Parton hit the crowd with this single that won her a Grammy. In her lyrics, Parton describes her feelings for a man that wouldn’t leave her mind.
Most of us have been in this position and know how it feels. Dolly likes this style. It makes her audience relate to her music provoking them to think deeper.
6. “How Do You Like Me Now!” – Toby Keith
Just by reading the title, you would agree that it is a provocative song, if not a challenge. The lyrics verify this song when Toby Keith flaunts his fame to a girl that rejected him before his fame. You have or will experience rejection at some point in life and I tell you it isn’t easy.
Tobby Keith gave us a masterpiece that will remain relevant for generations.
7. “Check Yes or No” – George Strait
The first thing you notice about this track is the playful approach taken by George Strait. The storyline begins when the narrator and his lover were kids. It then extends to adulthood. It was a success in the US and Canada hitting #1 on the charts.
8. ”It’s Your Love” – Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
This couple will have you stuck on your headphones with their single. It became a successful duet in 1997 spending six weeks on the charts on the top 100. It is not their only track together but their most successful.
9. ”My Hang-Up Is You” – Freddie Hart
Once again, love hits the stage. In this single Freddie Hart shares his experience being in love. You will also agree that someone has been our weakness at some point in life and there wasn’t much you could do. The single became #1 in the charts running for six weeks.
10. ”Live Like You Were Dying” – Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw catches his fans with this single challenging them to live their best life. He did it for cancer patients and I would agree with the lyrics and style. It won the CMAs and the Best Country Song Grammy.
11. ”Need You Now” – Lady Antebellum
You may relate with this 2009 single about on and off relationship experiences. The single was such a hit that it overdid “Love Story” – Taylor Swift as the most downloaded country song. Its success won it a Grammy in 2011. Also, it was the Song of the Year and Record of the Year for the same period.
12. ”Cruise” – Florida Georgia Line
It is a duo single that set the record for topping the charts for 56 weeks. You shouldn’t find it difficult to believe it tied with a record by Taylor Swift given its impact. The single’s remix was on the top 100 and it became the best-selling record done by a country duo.
13. ”Walk On By” – Leroy Van Dyke
I love the lyrics to this song. You definitely get curious to know why the title reads “Walk on By.” It’s only after you listen to the song that you understand its message. No wonder it became #1 for 19 weeks. The record was so successful that The Eagles found from it their inspiration.
14. ”There Goes My Everything” – Jack Greene
Breakups hurt and this song just drives the message home. It remains my favorite as it talks about a tough breakup. It was #65 in 1966 on the Billboard Hot 100. In my case, the style deserved better, but I would leave that for you to decide.
15. ”Love’s Gonna Live Here” – Buck Owens
The magnitude of this single is beyond words. It managed to stay not only relevant but a hit for 49 years! In the lyrics, the narrator finds hope in love. It is after he recovers from a breakup and gets excited about the future. Who wouldn’t love such a story? It remained #1 on the charts in 1963.
16. “Good Hearted Woman” – Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson
In this song, the writers talk about the life of a good woman with an undeserving man. It is a common theme in our society where a spouse does not deserve the other. It is a sad song with a strong message no wonder it won a CMA as the single of the year.
17. “You Look So Good In Love” – George Strait
It would be impossible for me to complete this list without bringing up this song. The title itself will get you in the mood to listen to what this gentleman has to say. The lyrics give a mixed reaction of happiness and sadness.
18. “Breathe” – Faith Hill
In this single, Faith Hill takes her audience on the love journey as she showers Tim McGraw with lots of love. You get to feel the love as you listen to this masterpiece that took #2 on the Billboard. Surprisingly the song was top on the charts in 2000 after 35 years!
19. “Girl Crush” – Little Big Town
You have to love this song! Here, we don’t get to understand what’s happening. We remain to wonder if the intention is to win the woman or to avenge a broken relationship. Regardless of how you interpret the song, you will agree it deserved the #1 as a hit back in 2014.
20. “Our Song” – Taylor Swift
If you are a fan of Taylor Swift, this could be your song. It ruled the Billboard Hot 100 for 36 weeks in 2007 as a universal hit. Taylor Swift did her “magic” with the lyrics and gave us a timeless single.
21. “Pickup Man” – Joe Diffie
Joe Diffie will get you smiling through the lyrics as he jokes about how he plans to win over a woman of his dreams. Diffie’s biggest plan was to win over the woman with a pickup truck! You got to agree with me that this song deserved to be among the best country songs.
22. “God Gave Me You” – Blake Shelton
The original record for this song was by a Christian artist. In 2011, Blake Shelton did its cover bringing it to the spotlight. Critics did not like Shelton’s version. In my opinion, it deserves the a spot on the list as Blake Shelton did a great job with this one.
23. ”Before He Cheats” – Carrie Underwood
The beautiful Carrie Underwood gave us this magnificent single. It hit the Billboard Hot 100 and remained for 64 weeks. After several hits, Carrie Underwood earned a spot in the country music hall of fame. You need to listen to this piece, if you haven’t, to appreciate her creative genius.
24. ”I like It, I Love It” – Tim McGraw
Here comes Tim McGraw again with another love song for his partner. It’s as if they can’t ever get enough of each other. It is a 1995 hit but remains worthy of promotional videos features for athletic events. I don’t feel it is his best work, but you would agree it is worth being among the top country songs of all time.
25. ”Why Don’t We Just Dance” – Josh Turner
The narration in this single will warm your heart. Josh Turner talks about how a couple dances together the whole night. They spend the night dancing in their living room forgetting the outside world. I would say it is a must-listen!
26. “Jolene” – Dolly Parton
The single is an old-timer that I could listen to for hours during a road trip or in traffic. I could argue that most people know Dolly Parton from this song. It was a hit back in 1973 and to this moment any country music die-hard fan will agree it is a classic.
27. ”Choices” – George Jones
In this single, George Jones remains to prove he is one of the greatest in country music. He talks about the choices he made in his life since his childhood. The lyrics challenge you to reflect on the choices you make in life and how they impact your life.
28. ”Kiss an Angel Good Morning” – Charley Pride
We will always remember the late Charley Pride for this wonderful song. Pride broke the color barrier in country music and united most people through his music. He gave us more hit songs in his career and although we lost him, his music will remain in our hearts. You will agree that his raw talent is evident in his music.
29. “Blue Eyes Crying in The Rain” – Willie Nelson
When I first read the song title, I knew it was a sad song probably a heartbreak. I wasn’t wrong when Willie Nelson confirmed it in the lyrics as he talks about a sad goodbye. There have been several covers for this song, but you may agree Willie did his best work in this track. The original version remains the best.
30. “Devil Went Down to Georgia” – Charlie Daniels Band
The title may give you goosebumps as wait to know what happened in Georgia. Charlie Daniels Band took a different approach in this song. They brought a rare style in country music. They used a spoken-word vocal style where the narrator makes a deal with the devil. Its uniqueness is what makes me put it on the list.
31. “Coward of the County” – Kenny Rogers
I would not get this far without mentioning this great man. Kenny Rogers gave us an outstanding narration in this single. The cross-over hit made it to the Billboard Country at #3. It was also in the Cash Box among the top 10 best hits. Released in 1979, the track may still interest you with its educative storyline.
I did not rank the list in the order of the best as the songs emerged during different generations. I felt it would be effective to examine the impact of each song on country music’s growth. However, they will always be among the lists of the best country songs of all time.
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.