A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #790-#781

Some big crossover hits meet up with successful country covers of big pop records.

#790

Gary Allan, “Best I Ever Had”

#7 | 2005

JK: He’s had bigger radio hits with lesser songs and performances, and lesser radio hits with even better songs and performances; this cover splits the difference when it comes to Allan’s career. About Right

KJC:  Allan’s mournful cover in the wake of his wife’s suicide is raw and vulnerable. It really packs a punch.  About Right

 

#789

John Anderson, “Seminole Wind”

#2 | 1992

KJC:  Arguably Anderson’s signature song, he keeps his righteous anger in check and opts for an emotional appeal for conservation.  Too Low

JK: I’ve always appreciated the sentiment of the song, but I don’t think it plays to Anderson’s peculiar strengths as a vocalist. Give me “Wild And Blue” or “When It Comes to You” over this one any day, though I respect its overall impact and quality. About Right

 

#788

Blake Shelton, “Home”

#1 | 2008

JK: Perfectly competent in every way. Too High

KJC:  This works as a ballad for the road weary. One of Shelton’s stronger performances.  About Right

 

#787

Eddie Rabbitt, “Step By Step”

#1 | 1981

 

KJC: Charming and endearing, this is an Eddie Rabbitt hit worth revisiting.  About Right

JK: A single I remember loving as a kid that holds up particularly well for its era. About Right

 

#786

Gloriana, “(Kissed You) Goodnight”

#2 | 2011

 

JK: Gloriana were never very good nor even the slightest bit interesting; this single clears the low bar of being their best, but I wouldn’t have it anywhere near my top 1000 of all-time. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  Going by my loose rule that there is room for C-listers on an 1000-cut list, I’m fine with Gloriana’s signature hit being here.  It’s about 200 places above its proper place, though. Too High

 

#785

Jerry Lee Lewis, “Chantilly Lace”

#1 | 1972

KJC: The Big Bopper original was earnest and innocent.  This Jerry Lee Lewis cover…Well, they didn’t have state registries for people like this in 1972, but if they did, this record would be enough to land him on one.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: I mentioned at the last Lewis entry that it eschewed the more problematic aspects of his legacy. This one, not so much, and I don’t see it as an impactful country record, besides. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

 

#784

Sugarland, “Want To”

#1 | 2006

JK: There was a brief period when Jennifer Nettles’ was the most compelling voice you’d hear regularly on country radio. But this is not better than “When I Call Your Name” or “Drive.” Too High

KJC:  Sugarland made their debut as a duo with this single, and it’s one of their best. Jennifer Nettles sings the fire out of it.  About Right

 

#783

Shenandoah, “Next to You, Next to Me”

#1 | 1990

KJC: One of the best singles from a fairly good band overall, and they lean into bluegrass territory with their relentlessly catchy harmonies.  Does it get any better than a good old boy singing about the virtues of “barbecue chicken and TV Guide?” Too Low

JK: All of their entries should be bumped up this list. Marty Raybon was such a terrific singer. Too Low

 

#782

Kenny Chesney, “I Lost it”

#3 | 2000

JK: Man, imagine if this had been a Lucinda Williams cover. I might have a totally different opinion of Chesney’s career arc. As is… So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: I’m so hungry for any Pam Tillis at this point that I’m tempted to give this one a pass simply for her harmony vocal.  But this would be a better list if at least a half dozen of these Chesney leads were traded out for Pam Tillis ones. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

 

#781

“Little” Jimmy Dickens, “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose”

#1 | 1965

KJC:  Unlike Gloriana, Little Jimmy Dickens has a rich legacy in country music.  If you’re only going to put his biggest hit on the list, which is a genuine classic, at least give him the respect of a proper ranking.  Too Low

JK: The rare example of turning a novelty song into a straight-up classic. Too Low

Previous: #800-#791 | Next: #780-#771

8 Comments

  1. Marty Raybon’s voice falls like an irritant on my ears, and I never understand why, because I like Shenandoah.

    “Seminole Wind” has the fantastic couplet: “Progress came and took its toll, And in the name of flood control …..” The song is too low.

  2. Re. “Chantilly Lace”–I suppose some of the things JLL did, even after he made his comeback in the late 60s doing country, were still going to rattle people’s nerves. The ironic thing is that this record was, I believe, his longest-charting #1 hit on any chart (five weeks at #1 on the country chart), and it just narrowly missed going Top 40 on the pop chart as well. The Killer was then, and still is, his own man.

  3. Home was first recorded by Michael Buble (who co-wrote the song with Alan Chang & Amy Foster) in 2005. I think that Blake Shelton’s cover in 2008 was every bit as great as Buble’s.

    Love Eddie Rabbitt’s “Step by Step” and Sugarland’s “Want To” . I generally like Marty Raybon’s voice and his hits with Shenandoah but I don’t care much for the “Next to You” song. My favorite Shenandoah song is “Ghost in This House”, a Hugh Prestwood song.

  4. Glad to see Gary Allan make the list. I’ve always liked his cover of “Best I’ve Ever Had,” but hopefully we’ll also see “Smoke Rings In The Dark” make an appearance. Seeing how this list has gone so far, I’m not exactly holding my breath, though.

    “Seminole Wind” is a classic from John Anderson’s 1992 comeback era that I still enjoy today. Gotta love that great fiddle work! Always liked the video for it, too. “Let Go Of The Stone” is actually my most favorite single from that album, but sadly it seems to be the least remembered of them all. Therefore, I’m sure this list overlooked it.

    I really wish Blake would go back to singing songs like “Home,” “Austin,” “All Over Me,” “Nobody But Me,” “I Don’t Care,” “I’ll Just Hold On,” “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking,” etc.

    “Want To” is one of the very few Sugarland songs that I really like, so I’m glad to see it make the list. Usually, I’m not a fan of Jennifer’s vocals, but I like her performance on this one.

    “Next To You, Next To Me” is another classic from Shenandoah for sure! I love just about anything they put out in the 80’s and early 90’s when they were on Columbia records and worked with producer Robert Byrne.

    “I Lost It” is actually one of my favorite Kenny songs that was released before he entered the beach bum/frat boy part of his career . And actually I didn’t know that was Pam Tillis singing harmony, so thanks for that info! I really wish he still recorded songs like this, “That’s Why I’m Here,” “You Had Me From Hello,” “She’s Got It All,” “A Chance,” “When I Close My Eyes,” “The Tin Man,” “What I Need To Do,” etc.

  5. Was there a problem with my comment?

    October 16, 2019 at 11:02 am

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Home was first recorded by Michael Buble (who co-wrote the song with Alan Chang & Amy Foster) in 2005. I think that Blake Shelton’s cover in 2008 was every bit as great as Buble’s.

    Love Eddie Rabbitt’s “Step by Step” and Sugarland’s “Want To” . I generally like Marty Raybon’s voice and his hits with Shenandoah but I don’t care much for the “Next to You” song. My favorite Shenandoah song is “Ghost in This House”, a Hugh Prestwood song.

  6. Chesney has way too much representation on this list, and they didn’t pick anywhere close to his best material. For god’s sake, “She’s Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” is in the top 100 of this list, which is an embarrassment and a half…it’s like a parody of a country song. That being said, I do believe he can be a pretty solid chooser of material, particularly with his ballads. “I Lost It” isn’t Chesney at his best, but it’s a solid song, and deserving of being on the list (albeit maybe a bit too high).

    This section is actually pretty darn good, to be honest. Regardless of rank, the only one I would completely boot is Jerry Lee. I’m not as huge on Gary Allen and Sugarland as many on this website, but I think those choices are among the best choices in their respective catalogues, so I’m cool with them being here. Additionally, there’s at least four songs that I’d have much higher on the list (Blake, Shenandoah, John Anderson, and Little Jimmy Dickens). But, as far as consistency of music goes…there’s not much here I’d completely skip. And with this list…you gotta take the little victories.

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