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Top 10 Best Country Songs of All Time (As of 2015)

Now here’s a particularly tough category. Country music has given rise to some of the most successful songwriters and artists. Here are a few contenders for this top 10 from throughout the decades.

Ring of Fire (1963)
Johnny Cash

The song was written by June Carter, along with Merle Kilgore, about Cash’s drug addiction. To many it represents the power of love. It has persisted over the years and has been covered by many artists, including The Animals in 1968.

The Dance (1989)
Garth Brooks

Brooks himself has said it could signify the end of a relationship or be about someone dying in a moment of glory. It’s often considered the singer’s signature song. This was the Academy of Country Music’s 1990 Song of the Year and Video of the Year.

I Will Always Love You (1974)
Dolly Parton

A single from Dolly’s “Jolene” album, the song resulted in her winning CMA Female Vocalist in 1975. She also re-recorded it in 1982 for the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Whitney Houston’s version was featured in The Bodyguard and charted again after her death in 2012.

Always on My Mind (1982)
Willy Nelson

It was the first country song to win a Grammy for Song of the Year. Originally recorded in 1971 by Brenda Lee, it was also recorded by Elvis Presely in 1972 and The Pet Shop Boys. The song tells a story of a man who didn’t always show his woman appreciation, but thought about her a lot.

The Gambler (1978)
Kenny Rogers

About handling life’s challenges rather than a poker game, this award-winning song written by Don Schlitz was used in The Muppet Show in 1979. It charted in the UK in 2007 during the Rugby World Cup and was part of a Geico commercial in 2014.

Stand by Your Man (1968)
Tammy Wynette

The singer’s signature tune, this is one of the most covered country songs. Wynette said she and Billy Sherrill wrote the song in 15 minutes. She often found herself defending its meaning which is still questioned, yet this hasn’t made the song any less impactful.

Crazy (1961)
Patsy Cline

Written by a then unknown Willie Nelson, this song has been covered by male and female artists including LeAnn Rhymes and Diana Krall. It was also on Nelson’s first album in 1962.

I Hope You Dance (2000)
Lee Ann Womack

About taking chances, this song was written by Tia Sillers and Mark Sanders. It topped the country and adult contemporary charts and won a Grammy and Country Music Award.

Jolene (1974)
Dolly Parton

From Reba McEntire to 10,000 Maniacs, this song has been covered by many. Parton said the song was inspired by meeting a fan. In 2014, the song entered the Grammy Hall of Fame.

It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (2003)
Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett

It’s hard not to include something recent. Country continues to dominate the charts; plus Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett are a great team. Aren’t we all waiting for that moment to kick up our shoes and relax?

Thus concludes a fulfilling top 10 country songs of all time. There are for sure others you might include. These are undoubtedly popular and influential selections you’re bound to hear for decades to come.

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