Country Songs The Best Classic Country Songs  

Ranker Music
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35.6k votes 5.1k voters 285.2k 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

1,108 420
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Classic and heartbreaking song by George Jones

819 267
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No one does starker love songs than Johnny Cash and perhaps this is the ultimate of his to June Carter.

584 229
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Patsy Cline - This heart-breaking and flagellating song by Patsy Cline has always been a country classic. 

383 79
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Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson -

The name is pretty self-explanatory on this one. 

444 156
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Tammy Wynette - This wailing tune from Tammy Wynette is an ode to being faithful that is quintessentially country.

454 138
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George Strait -

George Straight sings about the understated woes of a rodeo cowboy. 

572 197
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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.

420 129
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Willie Nelson - This WIllie Nelson song about eternal love is so classic its practically been covered to death.

419 131
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Conway Twitty -

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

596 190
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As Merle Haggard says, "mamma tried" to raise her boy right, but it just didn't work out that way.

377 132
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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.

482 148
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This sad sack Hank Williams song was made even more famous when Elvis re-recorded it.

635 176
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This song about bringing love is both romantic and epically brutal.

408 140
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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

302 76
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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." 

362 105
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Patsy Cline - Nobody quite does self pity like Cline, another classic and cry-worthy tune from her makes the list.

403 110
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John Denver -

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

330 125
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Kenny Rogers -

A veteran gambler teaches a young man when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. 

343 116
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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

501 162
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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.

332 89
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The Charlie Daniels Band

367 112
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A 1969 Waylon Jennings hit that was reportedly inspired by Ike and Tina Turner

358 131
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This Hank Williams tune was inducted tot he Grammy Hall of Fame

277 79
On the Road Again is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

210 51
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227 70
Ring of Fire is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

256 89
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Hank Williams, Jr.

259 111
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A classic folksy tune about the life and sorrows of a coal miner.

233 71
Kiss an Angle Good Mornin is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

300 113
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Another country song about hard drikning and that tough Sundway morning hangover.

240 107
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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.

197 68
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June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash

339 138
Friends in Low Places is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs
Garth Brooks

251 103
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This song is an ode to the white lightening aka moonshine that George Jones' father used to bootleg

134 20
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196 75
A Boy Named Sue is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

184 60
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James Englebert added Hank Williams

244 98
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Song about the 1815 Battle of New Orleans as written from the perspective of an aAmerican soldier.

137 55
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Lynn Anderson

197 77
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Dwight Yoakam

155 60
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lrmawg added Townes Van Zandt

230 113
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This Merle Haggard 

177 67
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iddiotmittens added Merle Haggard -

Merle Haggard

221 107
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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.

138 51
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The Statler Brothers

167 62
King of the Road is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

150 61
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Johnny Paycheck

161 68
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130 59
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iddiotmittens added Don Williams

130 59
Harper Valley P.t.a. is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs