UKCountryRadio.com’s - Greatest Country Hits of all time
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Over many months the presenters of UKCountryRadio.com talked about their search for the Greatest Country Hits of all time. In conjunction with a country magazine they asked listeners/ readers to send in their all time favourite three country songs to help compile a definitive chart – See separate Blog Post.
The more people that took part then the more accurate their countdown would reflect the UK's top 30 country songs. UKCountryRadio.com got really excited about this as the end of the year approached!
UKCR station head Mr. Allan Watkiss thanked listeners who sent in their top 3 sharing - "many many of you over the last few months sent in your all time 3 country songs to enable us to compile this special countdown"
Just how many voted is at this stage unknown (50, 500, 5000, 50,000)?
The age demographic of those who took to time to vote was most probably from 55 to 80 or from under 55’s brought up on country music by their parents.
It is very much a “looking back” selection rather than widely embracing any new material.
UKCountryRadio.com claim is: "Playing the Hottest Country Music for the UK, 24 hours a day” and previously in their radio adverts they stated they were the "Most Listened to country station across the UK "
Was this the most comprehensive survey ever conducted by a UK country radio station?
Listen to UKCountryRadio.com's team of "heavy-weight" presenters Richard Edeson, Allan Watkiss, Liz Hill, Alan Potter, Brian Stanley and Simon Large countdown the Top 30.
- 7 Songs were drawn from the 1950's, 3 songs from the 60's, 8 songs from 70's, 6 songs from the 80's, 2 songs from the 90's , 2 songs from the 2000's and 2 songs from the 2010 made the cut.
- Just 5 of the songs choosen were solo female performances.
- 23 were males with one duet and one group.
There was no room for the record breaking duo Florida Georgia Line whose single “Cruise” from 2013 has sold 6.2 million downloads, which remained atop the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart making it 24 non-consecutive No.1 weeks, 3-weeks clear of the pack in the charts entire history. One of the songs it surpassed the 21 week #1 "I'm Moving On," by Hank Snow (1950-51) was the 26th most popular track as voted by UKCountryRadio.com listeners.
“He Stopped Loving Her Today” from the late George Jones, nicknamed “Possum” [because of his marsupial resemblance] headed the list at #1 as a “runaway winner”.
His signature song recorded in 1980, was a track about love and death. The song, which he said was his favourite, revived a flagging career.
Following his death on Friday April 26, 2013 many in the media and artists proclaimed Jones as the greatest country singer.
One of those who went on record was BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris and another former CMA International Broadcaster of the Year BBC Radio Lancashire’s Joe Fish said Jones was "The greatest country singer of all time"
Others who paid their respects to Jones:
Cowboy Jack Clement [Producer, a 50-year friend of Jones] - “I think George is probably the greatest country singer who ever lived. And I’m not alone in that opinion. All the artists loved him.
Mel Tillis - "I met George when he came to Nashville and we became good friends. I'm really going to miss him. The world has lost the greatest singer to have ever lived."
Gretchen Peters - So sad to hear George Jones is no longer with us. My very first cut as a songwriter was by him [“Travellers Prayer”] I was spoiled for life. The greatest country singer ever.
One out of the box track and the most recent song chosen by listeners (#25) was Lady Antebellum’s Hello World" from their 2010 album NEED YOU NOW. Strangely more popular than smash hits “American Honey” and the 6-million selling world wide hit “Need You Now”.
Other tracks include many that the average man on the street would recogonize as a stereo-typical country song from a budget all time classics release.
Check out the most popular tracks on World's Greatest Country Hits... The Only Country Music Album You'll Ever Need
Listen to the Top 30 on this Spotify Playlist: UKCountryRadio.com Greatest Hits
Here are the details of the entire Top 30:
#1 "He Stopped Loving Her Today" George Jones (1980) : It has been named in several surveys as the greatest country song of all time.
Released on April 14, 1980 and written Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman it was the lead single from Jones' album I AM WHAT I AM. The song on July 5, 1980 with 1 week at #1) became Jones's first No. 1 single (Billboard Hot Country Songs) in six years. The week after Jones' death the song re-entered the Hot Country Songs chart in May 2013 at No.21. Alan Jackson sang the song during George Jones' funeral service on May 2, 2013.
Download “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (Album Version)
#2 "Crazy" Patsy Cline (1962): Written by Willie Nelson the ballad has been recorded by several artists, most notably by Patsy Cline, whose version was a #2 country hit in 1962. She picked it as a follow up to her previous big hit I Fall to Pieces.
#3 "Ring Of Fire" Johnny Cash (1963): Co-written by June Carter Cash (wife of Johnny Cash) and Merle Kilgore the single appeared on Cash's 1963 album, RING OF FIRE: THE BEST OF JOHNNY CASH. It became the biggest hit of Johnny Cash's career, staying at number one on the charts for seven weeks.
#4 "Always On My Mind" Willie Nelson (1982): Written by Johnny Christopher, Mark James and Wayne Carson it was first recorded first by Brenda Lee in 1972. Recorded by Willie in the spring of 1982 it raced to No.1 on Billboard magazine's Hot Country Singles chart that May, spending two weeks atop and total of 21 weeks on the chart. It charted at #49 in the UK. Nelson's version would result in three wins at the 25th Grammy Awards in February 1983: Song of the Year and Best Country Song; in addition, Nelson won for Best Male Country Vocal Performance.
#5 "Farewell Party" Gene Watson (1979): Written by Charlie Williams, it was released by Capitol in 1979 as the second single from the album REFLECTIONS. The song reached #5 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles.
#6 "Crazy Arms" Ray Price (1956): The song, released in May 1956 by Columbia Records, went on to become a hit that year and a honky-tonk standard. It was Price's first #1 hit. The song was written by Ralph Mooney and Charles Seals.
#7 "Sunday Morning Coming Down" Kris Kristofferson (1970): Written by Kristofferson it was first recorded by Ray Stevens in 1969; it became Stevens' first country chart hit. Kristofferson released his own version the following year, on his debut album, Kristofferson. Johnny Cash also released a version of the song that year, on his live album The Johnny Cash Show. Cash's recording won the Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year in 1970 and hit number one on the country charts Oct 10, 1970
#8 "Help Me Make It Through The Night" Kris Kristofferson (1970): Composed by Kristofferson it was released on his 1970 album Kristofferson. Sammi Smith's recording would reach number-one on the U.S. country charts. On February 20, 1971, it reached #8 on Billboard's U.S. pop singles chart, and also enjoyed success in Canada, Great Britain, and Germany.
#9 "I Will Always Love You" Dolly Parton (1974): Written by Parton it was released on June 6, 1974 as the second single from Parton's thirteenth solo studio album, JOLENE (1974). The singer wrote the song for her one-time partner and mentor Porter Wagoner, from whom she was professionally splitting at the time. Parton became the first artist ever to earn a number one record twice with the same song as a singer, and three times as a writer. Whitney Houston recorded a version of the song for the 1992 film The Bodyguard which became one of the best selling singles of all time.
#10 "You're My Best Friend" Don Williams (1975): Written by Wayland Holyfield it was released in April 1975 as the first single and title track from the album YOU'RE MY BEST FRIEND. The song became Williams' second No.1 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in June 21, 1975. It has since become one of Williams' signature songs.
#11 "Your Cheatin' Heart" Hank Williams (1952): Written by Hank Williams it's regarded as one of country's most important standards. He was inspired to write the song while driving with his fianceé from Nashville, Tennessee to Shreveport, Louisiana. After describing his first wife Audrey Sheppard as a "Cheatin' Heart", he dictated in minutes the lyrics to Billie Jean Jones. Williams recorded the song on his last session at Castle Records in Nashville, Tennessee, on September 23. "Your Cheatin' Heart" was released in January 1953. Propelled by Williams' recent death during a trip to a New Year's concert in Canton, Ohio, the song became an instant success. It topped Billboard's Country & Western chart for six weeks, while over a million units were sold. he song ranked at 217 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and was ranked number 5 on Country Music Television's 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music.
#12 "Stand By Your Man" Tammy Wynette (1968): Co-written by Tammy Wynette and Billy Sherrill it was released by Epic in September 1968 and proved to be the most successful record of Wynette's career and is one of the most covered songs in the history of country music. The song was placed at number one on CMT's list of the Top 100 Country Music Songs. It reached #1 on the U.S. country charts in late 1968 for three weeks. It reached number one in the UK when the record was finally released in Britain in 1975.
#13 "Jolene" Dolly Parton (1973): Written and performed by Parton it was released by RCA in October 1973 as the first single and title track from her album JOLENE. It is ranked #219 on the Rolling Stone magazine's list of "the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". It topped The Hot Country Sings chart for just one week on February 2, 1974 and got to No.7 on the UK Singles Chart.
#14 "Rhinestone Cowboy" Glen Campbell (1975): Written by Larry Weiss it was released by Capitol on May 26, 1975. The song spent that summer climbing both the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts before peaking at No. 1 by season's end - three non-consecutive weeks on the country chart, two weeks on the Hot 100. It made #4 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
#15 "The Gambler" Kenny Rogers (1978): Written by Don Schlitz it was released on November 15, 1978 as the title track from Rogers' album THE GAMBLER which won him the Grammy award for best male country vocal performance in 1980. It was one of five consecutive songs by Rogers to hit #1 on the Billboard country music charts. On the pop chart, the song made #16 in early 1979. It peaked at #22 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
#16 "On The Road Again" Willie Nelson (1980): The self penned song was part of the soundtrack to the 1980 movie Honeysuckle Rose. It became Nelson's 9th Country & Western No. 1 hit overall in November 1980, and became one of his most recognizable tunes. In addition, the song reached No. 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. It won him a Grammy Award for Best Country Song a year later.
#17 "Islands In The Stream" Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers (1983): Written by The Bee Gees it's title is named after the Ernest Hemingway novel and was released in August 1983 as the first single from Rogers' album EYES THAT SEE IN THE DARK and the second pop number-one for both Rogers and Parton
It spent two weeks as the number one country song and in the year's final countdown was the number one song of the year of 1983. In December of that year it was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America for shipping two million physical copies in the US. It reached #7 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
#18 "Diggin' Up Bones" Randy Travis (1986): Written by Al Gore, Paul Overstreet and Nat Stuckey it was released by Warner Bros. in July 1986 as the third single from Travis' album Storms of Life. It peaked at number-one on Hot Country Singles on November 8, 1986.
#19 "All My Ex's Live In Texas" George Strait (1987): Written by Sanger D. Shafer and Linda J. Shafer it was released on April 1987 as the second single from Strait's album OCEAN FRONT PROPERTY. It peaked at number-one on Hot Country Singles on July 11, 1987 (>> Video)
#20 "Ain't Goin Down Till The Sun Comes Up" Garth Brooks (1993): The song was written by Brooks, Kent Blazy and Kim Williams. Trisha Yearwood sings harmony vocals. It was released by Liberty on July 26, 1993 as the lead single from his album, IN PIECES. The song reached No.1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week of September 18, 1993 and peaked at #13 on the U.K. Singles Chart.
#21 "Buy Me A Rose" Kenny Rogers (1999): Written by Jim Funk and Erik Hickenlooper it was released on October 13, 1999 by for his personal label, Dreamcatcher Records.as the third single from his album SHE RIDES WILD HORSES. It reached number One on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in May 2000 making Kenny (who was 61 years old at the time) the oldest country singer to have a Number One hit.
#22 "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett (2003): Written by Jim "Moose" Brown and Don Rollins and performed by Alan Jackson with Jimmy Buffett, it was released on June 2, 2003 as the lead single from Jackson's 2003 compilation album GREATEST HITS VOLUME II. It spent eight non-consecutive weeks at Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in summer of 2003. On November 5, 2003, it also won the Country Music Association (CMA) Award for Vocal Event of the Year.
#23 "If You're Going Through Hell (Before the Devil Even Knows)" Rodney Atkins (2006): Written by Dave Berg, Sam Tate and Annie Tate it was released by Curb Records on January 9, 2006 as the lead-off single to his album IF YOU'RE GOING THROUGH HELL. The song became a number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, spending four weeks at the top.
#24 "The House That Built Me" Miranda Lambert (2010): Written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin it was released in March 8, 2010 as the third single from her third studio album, REVOLUTION. For the chart week of June 12, 2010, the song became Lambert's first Number One hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and held its place at the top for four consecutive weeks. At the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards on February 13, 2011, she won a Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. The song won Song of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards in 2010.
#25 "Hello World" Lady Antebellum (2010): It was written by Tom Douglas, Tony Lane and David Lee and was released in October 2010 as the fourth single from their album NEED YOU NOW. "Hello World" which received mixed reviews from critics was performed at the 2010 CMA Awards. Kevin John Coyne of Country Universe calling it "a running narration of the most boring drive through town ever. It peaked at #6 on US Hot Country Songs.
#26 "I'm Moving On" Hank Snow (1950): Written by Hank Snow it was recorded on March 28, 1950 and reached #1 on the Billboard country singles chart and stayed there for 21 weeks. Until August 2013, the jointly held the record for most weeks at No. 1 on the country chart, until being surpassed by "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line.
#27 "Hey, Good Lookin'" Hank Williams (1951): The song was created and recorded by as a variation of a song of the same name, similar lyrics, and similar melody written by Cole Porter in 1942. Williams' version was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001 and it topped the Hot Country Songs chart.
#28 "There Stands The Glass" Webb Pierce (1953): Written by Russ Hull, Mary Jean Shurtz and Audrey Greisham it was Pierce's fifth release to hit number one on the country charts. Pierce's recording spent 27 weeks on the country charts, and was at #1 for 12 weeks
#29 "I Walk The Line" Johnny Cash (1956): Written by Johnny Cash it was recorded on April 2, and became the first number one Billboard hit for Cash. The single remained on the record charts for over 43 weeks, and sold over 2 million copies. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked the song at #30 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
#30 "El Paso" Marty Robbins (1959): The country and western ballad was first released on “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” in September 1959. It was released as a single the following month, and became a major hit on both the country and pop music charts, reaching number one in both at the start of 1960. It won the Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Recording in 1961, and remains Robbins' best-known song.