A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #720-#711

A remarkably inessential run of hits, despite the presence of so many essential artists.

#720

Mark Chesnutt, “Goin’ Through the Big D”

#2 | 1994

JK: This single has just one real joke to tell; Chesnutt tells it well, but this was never my favorite single of his. Give me “I’ll Think of Something” or “Your Love is a Miracle,” instead. So Wrong (This Song)

KJC: It’s a far less clever rewrite of “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)”. Chesnutt has another half dozen hits that would better serve this list. So Wrong (This Song)

#719

George Jones, “Who’s Gonna Fill Your Shoes”

#3 | 1985

KJC:  Putting this song right before a Thomas Rhett hit is practically gaslighting, Sirius XM.   About Right

JK: They clearly have no grasp of even the most basic ironies. About Right

#718

Thomas Rhett, “Make Me Wanna”

#2 | 2014

JK: Throw it into the fires of Mount Doom, Samwise. This emetic bit of shameless trend-hopping should have ended his career rather than kickstarting it. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  Complete the title with the appropriate bodily reaction, because this works better as a Mad Libs exercise than it does as a country song.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#717

Trace Adkins, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk”

#2 | 2005

KJC:  Jamey Johnson’s demo of this song is way better than the recording, but I’ll forever give it a pass for the line, “We hate to see her go but love to watch her leave.” Too High

JK: The slang was outdated by a good two years by the time they tried it. But they tried it. It isn’t even Adkins’ worst single, though. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#716

Faith Hill, “Piece of My Heart”

#1 | 1994

JK: Even if you aren’t a fan of Janis Joplin’s definitive reading— which, different strokes and all— Hill’s chipper delivery of these lyrics completely misses the point. She’d improve as an interpreter on her next couple of albums, thankfully. Bump this for  “Let Me Let Go.” So Wrong (This Song)

KJC:  Hill had never heard the Janis Joplin original when she recorded her hit cover of it.  As much of a better singer she was as time went on, her re-recording of it after hearing the Joplin version was much worse.  If they wanted to include more of her earlier hits, I’d have chosen “Someone Else’s Dream” or “I Can’t Do That Anymore.”  So Wrong (This Song)

#715

Merle Haggard, “Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man)”

#1 | 1971

KJC: I’m not going to argue about the inclusion of anything by Merle Haggard, but I’d put this one a little lower and some of his other entries a little higher.  Too High

JK: Another Haggard hit that hasn’t necessarily had the same staying power as some others, but a worthy inclusion. About Right

#714

Jerrod Niemann, “Lover, Lover”

#1 | 2010

JK: Catchy enough, but I never understood why this was pushed as a country single instead of rubbing elbows with Maroon 5 and Katy Perry at Hot AC. Too High

KJC: A decent cover of the big Australian pop hit by Sonia Dada. Their version is so much better.  But as Jonathan notes above, it sounds like Hot AC, which somehow has gone in a more acoustic direction than country over the past ten years.  I’d put this in the bottom 100 and make it his only representation on the list.  Too High

#713

Conway Twitty, “Tight Fittin’ Jeans”

#1 | 1981

KJC: How did Conway Twitty always stay on the right side of the Doug Stone sappiness line?  He always threw in some songs for the guys, too.  Notice how even his male fantasy records still respect women?  “In my mind, she’s still a lady. That’s all I’m gonna say.”  One of his very best.  Too Low

JK: A perfect counterexample to “Lonely Women Make Good Lovers” from a few entries back, in that it is nowhere near as sleazy as it should be, thanks to Twitty. But it’s not better than a lot of what has come before. Too High

#712

Steve Holy, “Good Morning Beautiful”

#1 | 2001

JK: From the era of radio when all of the C-list men were trying to sound like Lonestar. It’s competent enough, I suppose. Too High

KJC:  Some eras are weaker than others, which is why even the biggest hits from around this time should be toward the bottom of the list.  Too High

#711

Hank Williams, “Honky Tonkin’”

#14 | 1948

KJC: I give them credit for including the original over Junior’s cover, which was somehow a #1 hit.  Pam Tillis did a great version of this in her live show back in the day, which is how I first heard it.  About Right

JK: Not Williams’ finest record or most impactful song, but, in the grand scheme of things, this placement feels About Right

Previous: #730-#721 | Next: #710-#701

8 Comments

  1. Sigh..I had a feeling that this list would focus more on Mark Chesnutt’s popular ditties like “Going Through The Big D” and “Bubba Shot The Jukebox” instead of his more superior (imho) ballads like “Ol Country,” “I’ll Think Of Something,” “Broken Promise Land,” “Thank God For Believers,” etc. If they had to include more of his faster numbers I would’ve included “Your Love Is A Miracle,” “Old Flames Have New Names,” or “It Wouldn’t Hurt To Have Wings.”

    Sorry guys, but I’ve always loved Faith’s version of “Piece Of My Heart.” I’ll admit that it was her version that I always heard long before I got around to hearing Janis Joplin’s. I just love the 90’s neo-traditional sound of Faith’s rendition, and it seems like it was always a popular recurrent on the radio throughout my childhood. I do second the mentions of “Let Me Let Go,” “Someone Else’s Dream,” and “I Can’t Do That Anymore.” It’s too bad that those weren’t included here, as well.

    Also, I’ve always liked Steve Holy’s “Good Morning Beautiful,” though I agree that it was probably placed a little too high. I actually think his first album is quite underrated. He sort of had that Roy Orbison/Chris Isaak sound going on in many of the cuts. Some of other my favorites from him are “The Hunger,” “Don’t Make Me Beg,” and “I’m Not Breakin’.”

    I would’ve left “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” off completely simply because it had a hand in influencing the rise of bro-country, imo. Same with Thomas Rhett’s “Make Me Wanna” with it helping the rise of metro-bro.

    Personally, I can’t think of one thing by Jerrod Niemann that’s worthy of this list, “Lover, Lover” included.

    “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” being placed just right below Thomas Rhett, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” and Jerrod Niemann has to be some kind of sick joke, though sadly, It probably isn’t at all.

  2. I saw Steve Holy in concert about 15 years ago. I thought he was great as a vocalist. With better material … Favorite Holy songs are “Good Morning Beautiful” and “Put Your Best Dress On”.

    Favorite Chesnutt songs: “When You Lover Her Like Crazy”, “Too Cold at Home”, “Things to Do in Wichita” and “Oughta Miss Me By Now”.

  3. Re. “Piece Of My Heart”: I won’t say that the pitchforks and torches were out for Faith, but a lot of classic rock fans were fairly furious with her for the fiddle/two-step arrangement. And it’s not only because of Janis’ career-defining 1968 version: both Erma Franklin (Aretha’s sister) and Dusty Springfield had versions out even before that. Faith may have gotten a #1 country hit from it, but overall she was fighting a battle against not only a legend, but also against 1960s rock history; and it wasn’t one where she could have ever won over a non-country audience (IMHO).

  4. I agree with Erik only I would say that the pitchforks and torches WERE out for Faith – it wasn’t a battle Faith could ever win. Personally, I always felt that Joplin was overrated, and I still feel that the original recorded of version of “Me and Bobbie McGee” by Roger Miller was the best recording of the song and I would bet that most of the readers of this blog have never heard it.

    I would have “Honky-Tonkin”, Tight Fittin’ Jeans” and Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes” a little higher – maybe in the 500-600 range

  5. @ Paul W. Dennis:

    Yes, it’s true that not many have heard “Me And Bobby McGee” in Roger Miller’s version, or anybody else’s (Grateful Dead; Jerry Lee Lewis, etc.), due to the publicity surrounding Janis’ untimely death. But such is the way of the music business; and as said by the newspaper editor in the 1962 John Ford classic THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE: “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.” And when it comes to “Piece Of My Heart”, Janis’ status as a figure of the late 1960s counterculture would have made it difficult for almost anybody else to match her. But in trying to “Nashville-ize” it, Faith really stepped on a mine (IMHO).

    As for “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?”: Well, I think the title says it all, as did The Possum himself. With a few exceptions, nobody’s stepping up to the plate. And that is going to be a terrible thing for country music,

  6. Regardless of Joplin’s version, can fans of Faith’s version explain what they think Faith brings to the song vocally? I can’t tell what (if any) emotion she’s going for on it. “Let Me Let Go” would have been a much better inclusion. Is “Stealing Kisses” on this list? It’s far superior, too. Or even “It Matters to Me.”

  7. If there was gonna be a single from that Mark Chesnutt album on this list, it should have been “Down in Tennessee.” The fact that song peaked at No. 23 is just shameful; I rank it right up there with “I’ll Think of Something.”

    Who’s gonna fill their shoes? Certainly not Thomas Rhett Akins, I know that much.

    I still feel that the original recorded of version of “Me and Bobbie McGee” by Roger Miller was the best recording of the song

    Yes! Oh my Lord, YES! Nothing against the others, but Roger Miller’s version of this was absolutely spectacular.

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