The 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time continues with Part 3: 80-71. As we push ahead toward the greatest song of all time, we get to experience some of the best that country music has to offer. I hope as you make this journey, you see one of your favorite songs, rehear an old classic you may have forgotten about, and, most importantly, you learn some of the greatest songs for the first time. Keep It Country Kids proudly presents The 100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time Part 3: 80-71.
80. Harper Valley PTA - Jeannie C. Riley
Tom T. Hall wrote this anthem about scandalous women and small town drama in the late 60's, and it became one of the biggest crossover hits of all time in 1968. Jeannie C. Riley sang this ballad of a woman being reprimanded for her "outlandish" behavior by the school board with power and conviction. She became the first female artist to hit number one on the country charts and Hot 100 charts with the same song.
79. All My Exes Live In Texas- George Strait
Humor is an important part of music, and this song is one of the funniest of all time. It was a smash hit for George Strait in 1987. The clever lyrics written by Sanger and Linda Shafer will put a smile on your face every time, and the laid back arrangement and delivery by George give it a wistful and sly feel. People who know nothing about country music can sing this chorus on cue. If that's not the mark of a hit, I don't know what is.
78. Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man- Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn
Conway and Loretta recorded many duets together over the years, even recording full albums together. Many of those songs are timeless classics, but none was as memorable as "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man". The call and response style and bouncy rhythm made this a huge smash in 1973. Today, its regarded as one of the greatest duets of all time.
77. Wide Open Spaces- Dixie Chicks
Before their ill-fated trip to Europe, the Dixie Chicks were the biggest thing in country music. Their sound mixed folk and bluegrass with a modern edge that made traditionalists and contemporaries swoon. Susan Gibson wrote "Wide Open Spaces" and Dixie Chicks' lead singer Natalie Maines' father brought the song to the girls for their debut album. It launched the chicks into super-stardom, hitting number one on the country charts and crossing over to pop charts as well.
76. Blue- Leann Rimes
"Blue" is one of the most interesting songs in country music history. It was written by Bill Mack in the mid 50's and released to radio but didn't really make a dent on the charts. It was pitched to Patsy Cline, but she died in that fateful plane crash before she was able to record it. Several artists covered it through the next few decades. But, in 1996,a 13 year old upstart named Leann Rimes released it. It became a top 10 hit some 40 years after it was written. It was a throwback hit that showcased the powerhouse voice of young Leann and shot her straight to super-stardom.
75. Behind Closed Doors- Charlie Rich
This song is just a simple love song, but its uplifting lyrics and catchy melody have really made it stand the test of time. Written by Kenny O'Dell and recorded by Charlie Rich, the song topped the country charts in 1973 and even crossed over to the pop charts. It won Song of The Year and Single of The Year at the CMA awards as well. It launched the career of Charlie Rich, who went on to record many great country songs.
74. Good Ole Boys Like Me- Don Williams
One of country music's most prolific songwriters, Bob McDill, wrote this song in1980. Don Williams took it to number 2 on the country charts. Don Williams was known as the Gentle Giant. He may have had a large stature, but his songs were mostly soft and peaceful. "Good Ole Boys Like Me" was a simple reflection of growing up in the south, and the graceful way Don approached it made it an influential song for years to come.
73. Believe- Brooks & Dunn
Craig Wiseman and Ronnie Dunn wrote this ballad about the faith of an old man and its impact on the life of a young child. It was a top 10 country single in 2005 and won Single of The Year at the CMA awards. The song is very subdued and acoustic throughout, focusing on the heartfelt and emotional lyrical story. Ronnie Dunn sings it with such conviction and carries the song to places no other vocalist could ever reach.
72. Chiseled in Stone- Vern Gosdin
Vern Gosdin and Max D. Barnes wrote this song and it was released to radio in 1988. It only hit number 6 on the charts, but its deep and emotional lyrics have made it the CMA Song of the Year for 1989. The song tells the story of a married couple having a fight, and the advice from an old man at a bar that the husband receives. It is sad, emotional, and true-to-life. That's what country music is all about.
71. This Time- Waylon Jennings
Waylon Jennings released the landmark album This Time in 1974. Waylon was at the head of the "outlaw movement" as country artists fought for creative control of their material. The title track of the album was written by Waylon Jennings and became his first ever number one hit. The song and album proved that these renegades could be successful with their unique style and changed country music forever.
Continue on to Part 4: 70-61
Part 1: 100-91
Part 2: 90-81
Part 5: 60-51
Part 6: 50-41
Part 7: 40-31
Part 8: 30-21
Part 9: 20-11
Part 10: 10-1