country music The Best Classic Country Songs  

Ranker Music
Originally by
28.1k votes 4.4k voters 258.1k 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

 

1
926 360
Ranker Video
He Stopped Loving Her Today Classic and heartbreaking song by George Jones

2
673 222
Ranker Video
I Walk the Line No one does starker love songs than Johnny Cash and perhaps this is the ultimate of his to June Carter.

3
496 189
Ranker Video
Crazy Patsy Cline - This heart-breaking and flagellating song by Patsy Cline has always been a country classic. 

4
472 162
Ranker Video
Your Cheatin' Heart This sad Hank Williams song is one to which your can drown your sorrows in a tall glass of wine or beer.

5
506 163
Ranker Video
Mama Tried As Merle Haggard says, "mamma tried" to raise her boy right, but it just didn't work out that way.

6
326 99
Ranker Video
Hello Darlin Conway Twitty - An ode to a lost love that Conway Twitty done wrong. 

7
351 109
Ranker Video
Amarillo by Morning George Strait - George Straight sings about the understated woes of a rodeo cowboy. 

8
329 102
Ranker Video
Always on My Mind Willie Nelson - This WIllie Nelson song about eternal love is so classic its practically been covered to death.

9
355 132
Ranker Video
Stand By Your Man Tammy Wynette - This wailing tune from Tammy Wynette is an ode to being faithful that is quintessentially country.

10
404 127
Ranker Video
I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry This sad sack Hank Williams song was made even more famous when Elvis re-recorded it.

11
310 112
Ranker Video
Coal Miner's Daughter 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.

12
547 156
Ranker Video
Ring Of Fire This song about bringing love is both romantic and epically brutal.

13
348 117
Ranker Video
I Will Always Love You (Original) This Dolly Parton love song is a country classic that was made a mainstream hit when it was re-recorded by Whitney Houston

14
277 62
Ranker Video
Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson - The name is pretty self-explanatory on this one. 

Celebrities With Heterochromia Iridis

15
266 93
Ranker Video
The Gambler Kenny Rogers - A veteran gambler teaches a young man when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. 

16
233 58
Ranker Video
Folsom Prison Blues Johnny Cash - Johnny Cash's signature song with the famous line, "I shot a ran in Reno, just to watch him die." 

17
301 90
Ranker Video
I Fall to Pieces Patsy Cline - Nobody quite does self pity like Cline, another classic and cry-worthy tune from her makes the list.

18
302 83
Ranker Video
Take Me Home Country Roads John Denver - John Denver's ode to the Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah River.

19
430 143
Ranker Video
Jolene 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.

20
272 96
Ranker Video
El Paso 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

21
263 71
Ranker Video
The Devil Went Down to Georgia The Charlie Daniels Band

The Best Country Songs About Gambling

22
307 97
Ranker Video
Good-Hearted Woman A 1969 Waylon Jennings hit that was reportedly inspired by Ike and Tina Turner

23
298 106
Ranker Video
Hey Good Lookin This Hank Williams tune was inducted tot he Grammy Hall of Fame

24
213 62
On the Road Again is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

25
173 49
Ring of Fire is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

26
212 87
Ranker Video
Sixteen Tons A classic folksy tune about the life and sorrows of a coal miner.

27
143 40
Ranker Video

28
254 95
Ranker Video
Sunday Morning Comin' Down Another country song about hard drikning and that tough Sundway morning hangover.

The Best Country Songs About Food

29
193 72
Ranker Video
A Country Boy Can Survive Hank Williams, Jr.

30
212 84
Ranker Video
White Lightning This song is an ode to the white lightening aka moonshine that George Jones' father used to bootleg

31
149 48
Ranker Video
Jackson June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash

32
267 109
Friends in Low Places is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs
Friends in Low Places Garth Brooks

33
205 75
Ranker Video
The Battle of New Orleans Song about the 1815 Battle of New Orleans as written from the perspective of an aAmerican soldier.

34
194 89
Ranker Video
Coat of Many Colors 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.

35
174 56
Kiss an Angle Good Mornin is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

The Best Rappers of the 2000s

36
157 55
Ranker Video
Guitars, Cadillacs Dwight Yoakam

37
147 60
A Boy Named Sue is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

38
137 46
Ranker Video
James Englebert added I Saw the Light Hank Williams

39
139 51
Ranker Video
iddiotmittens added If We Make It Through December Merle Haggard - Merle Haggard

40
105 35
Ranker Video
Flowers on the Wall The Statler Brothers

41
119 45
Ranker Video
lrmawg added Pancho & Lefty Townes Van Zandt

42
127 51
Ranker Video

Every Song in Godspell, Ranked by Singability

43
193 99
Ranker Video
Today I Started Loving You Again This Merle Haggard 

44
184 92
Ranker Video
I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink Classic country wouldn't be classic without those sad drikning songs. This Merle Haggard classic is another one that makes the list.

45
98 42
Ranker Video
Rose Garden Lynn Anderson

46
97 46
Ranker Video
iddiotmittens added Good Ole Boys Like Me Don Williams

47
125 51
King of the Road is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

48
181 93
Ranker Video
Suspicious Minds Elvis Presley - Song by Mark James whose recording of it failed until Elvis Preseley re-released the song.

49
109 50
Ranker Video
Take This Job an' Shove It Johnny Paycheck

50
190 83
Ranker Video