A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #950-#941

These ten entries are dominated by big hits from the 1980s.

#950

The Judds, “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain”

#1 | 1986

KJC: This entertaining track was a big hit back in the day, and I wouldn’t argue against its inclusion. I wouldn’t put it any higher though.  About Right

JK: I love The Judds. I like this fun but inessential single. How in the world do you think this is better than “The Long Black Veil”? So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#949

Carrie Underwood, “See You Again”

#7 | 2013

JK: There’s no struggle here. No weight. No wrestling with faith… None of the ways country music has done gospel music right. This is just loud for the sake of being loud and it’s produced like a Def Leppard B-side. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  I love this song and its certainty that another world awaits beyond this one. It does have its brief moment of doubt and vulnerability during the bridge, where her voice drops almost to a whisper, but her faith soon overwhelms that doubt. My own doubts return once the song is over, but I great comfort from the record while it’s still playing.  About Right

#948

Barbara Mandrell, “(If Loving You is Wrong) I Don’t Want to Be Right”

#1 | 1979

JK: Mandrell’s a dynamite, one-of-a-kind live performer who has very few singles that I would go to bat for. I really can’t justify the inclusion of this cover on a list like this when there’s so much else that’s missing. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: This is a great R&B song that Mandrell sings adequately.  For such a legendary performer, I’d still struggle finding songs in her catalog that I’d place in a Top 1000.  I guess this would be one of them? About Right

#947

Lee Brice, “Drinking Class”

#3 | 2013

KJC: There are about three or four too many Lee Brice songs on this list. This one is warmed over Springsteen.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Did Curb Records bribe someone to get Lee Brice on this list so many times? So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#946

Ray Charles, “Together Again”

#19 (Pop) | 1966

JK: “Together Again” absolutely belongs on this list… Emmylou’s version of it, and far higher up. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: There are better Ray Charles songs higher on the list. This cover is rather pedestrian compared to his revelatory takes on other country music standards.  The Emmylou Harris cover would’ve been a better inclusion. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#945

Dwight Yoakam & Buck Owens, “Streets of Bakersfield”

#1 | 1988

KJC:  A superstar pairing up with the legend who was his biggest influence resulted in one of the best collaborations in country music history.  Too Low

JK: This is the kind of single I think about when discussing true superstar collaborations. Give me 100 of these any day over one forgettable Aldean / Bryan / Church non-event. Too Low

#944

Tyler Farr, “A Guy Walks Into a Bar”

#7 | 2014

JK: The issue with so many of these mid-aughts guys is that they are completely interchangeable. If, five years ago, you’d told me this was a Lee Brice single or a comeback attempt by James Otto, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it. That I didn’t recall this single from just five years ago speaks volumes, too. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: A great lyric without a melody. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#943

Merle Haggard, “Misery and Gin”

#3 | 1980

KJC:  I love the Back to the Barrooms album and this might be my favorite track on it. For a man with so many #1 hits, it would be easy to overlook the singles that fell a bit short of that mark, even if they are among his best releases. We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this list got some things right. About Right

JK: Haggard has double-digit entries on this list and is still under-represented; he has better singles yet to come and better singles (“The Way I Am” being my personal favorite) that are MIA. Remember how Eric Paslay’s “Friday Night” was listed a while back?  “If We Make It Through December” isn’t on here at all. About Right

#942

Shenandoah, “Church On Cumberland Road”

#1 | 1989

JK: A band that never really received their proper due in their own era, Shenandoah had some terrific singles. This one actually still scores a decent amount of recurrent play, and it holds up well almost two decades later. Too Low

KJC: I’m surprised this is the lowest ranked of their three entries on the list.  It’s a classic from its era. Too Low

#941

Miranda Lambert, “Kerosene”

#15 | 2005

KJC: This was the first Lambert track that made me sit up and take notice.  I’m happy that they included it. About Right

JK: The hook, the fiery guitars, and the wry delivery are all essential to why it works, but it really all comes down to that completely unexpected slant rhyme used to emphasize a point and take the song in an unexpected direction because Miranda Lambert has been a next-level songwriter from the very beginning of her career. “Kerosene” remains her best single– by a hair over “Vice,” which isn’t on this list, and I’m furious about that– and one of the best singles of the aughts from any genre. Too Low

Previous: #960-#951  | Next: #940-#931

2 Comments

  1. Shenandoah is my favorite in this group. Love Marty Raybon’s vocals. (Love his duet with Alison Krauss, “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart”) I see that “Next to You, Next to Me” and “Two Dozen Roses” are ahead of “Church on Cumberland Road”. I would drop the “Next” song and replace it with Hugh Prestwood’s “Ghost in This House”. I also like the goofus dance song “If Bubba Can Dance”.

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