Country Songs The Best Classic Country Songs  

Ranker Music
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33.8k votes 5k voters 276.9k 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

1,060 405
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Classic and heartbreaking song by George Jones

780 252
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No one does starker love songs than Johnny Cash and perhaps this is the ultimate of his to June Carter.

564 217
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Patsy Cline - This heart-breaking and flagellating song by Patsy Cline has always been a country classic. 

544 189
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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.

349 75
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Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson -

The name is pretty self-explanatory on this one. 

419 151
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Tammy Wynette - This wailing tune from Tammy Wynette is an ode to being faithful that is quintessentially country.

398 124
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Conway Twitty -

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

402 125
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Willie Nelson - This WIllie Nelson song about eternal love is so classic its practically been covered to death.

575 185
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As Merle Haggard says, "mamma tried" to raise her boy right, but it just didn't work out that way.

425 134
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George Strait -

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

463 143
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This sad sack Hank Williams song was made even more famous when Elvis re-recorded it.

359 130
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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.

610 173
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This song about bringing love is both romantic and epically brutal.

285 72
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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." 

392 138
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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

344 102
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Patsy Cline - Nobody quite does self pity like Cline, another classic and cry-worthy tune from her makes the list.

379 102
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John Denver -

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

314 118
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Kenny Rogers -

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

326 110
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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

479 161
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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.

314 87
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The Charlie Daniels Band

350 109
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A 1969 Waylon Jennings hit that was reportedly inspired by Ike and Tina Turner

346 123
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This Hank Williams tune was inducted tot he Grammy Hall of Fame

261 76
On the Road Again is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

192 49
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214 65
Ring of Fire is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

241 84
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Hank Williams, Jr.

248 105
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A classic folksy tune about the life and sorrows of a coal miner.

290 107
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Another country song about hard drikning and that tough Sundway morning hangover.

220 70
Kiss an Angle Good Mornin is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

322 132
Friends in Low Places is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs
Garth Brooks

242 99
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This song is an ode to the white lightening aka moonshine that George Jones' father used to bootleg

184 64
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June Carter Cash, Johnny Cash

228 105
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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.

174 54
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James Englebert added Hank Williams

237 93
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Song about the 1815 Battle of New Orleans as written from the perspective of an aAmerican soldier.

183 71
A Boy Named Sue is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

117 18
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171 61
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iddiotmittens added Merle Haggard -

Merle Haggard

189 72
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Dwight Yoakam

224 109
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This Merle Haggard 

146 55
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lrmawg added Townes Van Zandt

129 54
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Lynn Anderson

133 47
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The Statler Brothers

213 102
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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.

142 57
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Johnny Paycheck

159 60
King of the Road is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs

152 64
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123 56
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iddiotmittens added Don Williams

117 56
Harper Valley P.t.a. is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Classic Country Songs