Country Music The Best Classic Country Songs  

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32.6k votes 4.9k voters 273.5k views 192 items

List Rules Good old classic country - as opposed to the more pop/rock "contemporary country" sound that dominates the airwaves today.

Country music is one of the most popular genres of music in the United States, and old country songs are appreciated by fans of all ages. No list of the top country songs of all time would be complete without the classic country music of legendary artists like Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline.

Sometimes called country western, or country and western music, classic country songs are steeped in Americana and tell the story of ordinary, loving, hard working, often hard drinking, and sometimes long-suffering people, just like many of us. Sometimes the best country songs are deceptively simple sounding in their portraits of American life, but that's what makes classic country so endearing - and so relatable. 

Out of all the classic country western singers, Johnny Cash had some of the biggest crossover success. The singer/songwriter eventually tapped into rock, gospel, folk, and other genres, but is best remembered for classic country songs like "Ring of Fire," "Folsom Prison Blues," and "I Walk the Line." He and wife June Carter Cash - classic country music royalty in her own right - were together best known for their duet of "Jackson," a No. 2 hit on the Country Music charts in 1967. 

Patsy Cline may now be remembered as one of the women in classic country, but she fought her for it, particularly in era that didn't accord female country western singers the same advantages of their male counterparts. Though she didn't live to fully appreciate her legacy (Cline was killed in a plane crash at age 30), her old country songs like "Crazy" and "I Fall to Pieces" are counted along with the best country songs of all time.

Hank Williams, considered by some to be the godfather of 20th century country music, performed popular country songs of his era that still influence musicians to this day. "Your Cheatin' Heart" and "Hey, Good Lookin'" are but two examples. Those old radio hits are as ingrained into American culture as apple pie. 

What are your favorite country music songs that are considered classics? Vote up good country songs from the best of old country music, or add one that makes you cherish the best classic country songs. If you like both older and newer country music, vote on the best country artists of all time


list ordered by

1,047 396
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Classic and heartbreaking song by George Jones

765 246
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No one does starker love songs than Johnny Cash and perhaps this is the ultimate of his to June Carter.

556 210
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Patsy Cline - This heart-breaking and flagellating song by Patsy Cline has always been a country classic. 

538 185
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This sad Hank Williams song is one to which your can drown your sorrows in a tall glass of wine or beer.

386 117
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Conway Twitty - An ode to a lost love that Conway Twitty done wrong. 

409 146
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Tammy Wynette - This wailing tune from Tammy Wynette is an ode to being faithful that is quintessentially country.

391 119
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Willie Nelson - This WIllie Nelson song about eternal love is so classic its practically been covered to death.

566 181
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As Merle Haggard says, "mamma tried" to raise her boy right, but it just didn't work out that way.

414 129
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George Strait - George Straight sings about the understated woes of a rodeo cowboy. 

337 73
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Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson - The name is pretty self-explanatory on this one. 

454 140
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This sad sack Hank Williams song was made even more famous when Elvis re-recorded it.

351 127
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Another ode to the occupations of the south and the lives lived by the hard-driving coal workers and their family. This Loretta Lynn song is a classic.

599 171
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This song about bringing love is both romantic and epically brutal.

386 132
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This Dolly Parton love song is a country classic that was made a mainstream hit when it was re-recorded by Whitney Houston

276 69
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Johnny Cash - Johnny Cash's signature song with the famous line, "I shot a ran in Reno, just to watch him die." 

336 97
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Patsy Cline - Nobody quite does self pity like Cline, another classic and cry-worthy tune from her makes the list.

365 97
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John Denver - John Denver's ode to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River.

317 104
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Marty Robbins - Beuatiful song that's an ode to the city which includes a the wonderful music of a Spanish guitar. Song won a grammy in 1961

305 113
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Kenny Rogers - A veteran gambler teaches a young man when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. 

302 82
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The Charlie Daniels Band

468 158
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Another Dolly Parton hit to make the list, this song is about the pleas on one woman to Jolene to stop cheating with her husband.

341 104
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A 1969 Waylon Jennings hit that was reportedly inspired by Ike and Tina Turner

339 117
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This Hank Williams tune was inducted tot he Grammy Hall of Fame

251 73
On the Road Again is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

184 44
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206 61
Ring of Fire is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

232 80
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Hank Williams, Jr.

243 99
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A classic folksy tune about the life and sorrows of a coal miner.

284 102
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Another country song about hard drikning and that tough Sundway morning hangover.

215 64
Kiss an Angle Good Mornin is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

238 92
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This song is an ode to the white lightening aka moonshine that George Jones' father used to bootleg

179 59
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June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash

310 125
Friends in Low Places is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs
Garth Brooks

222 99
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Dolly Parton - An homage song to Parton's childhood in a poor family, the song tells the tale about a patchwork coat made from whatever mama could find.

169 49
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James Englebert added Hank Williams

231 87
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Song about the 1815 Battle of New Orleans as written from the perspective of an aAmerican soldier.

172 70
A Boy Named Sue is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

183 68
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Dwight Yoakam

165 58
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iddiotmittens added Merle Haggard - Merle Haggard

220 104
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This Merle Haggard 

129 43
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The Statler Brothers

141 51
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lrmawg added Townes Van Zandt

106 16
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123 51
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Lynn Anderson

206 98
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Classic country wouldn't be classic without those sad drikning songs. This Merle Haggard classic is another one that makes the list.

149 60
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154 58
King of the Road is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

120 53
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iddiotmittens added Don Williams

132 55
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Johnny Paycheck

112 52
Harper Valley P.t.a. is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs