Wednesday Open Thread

Usually I link to a news article or feature to get the discussion going, but I’m going to use today’s open thread to thank all of the readers here, old and new, who took such an interest in the 100 Greatest Women feature.  Early on in the process, I felt I had bit off more than I could chew, but the frequent comments and spirited debates kept me on track.  I couldn’t get too active on the comment threads because there was always another entry to write, but boy, did I enjoy reading them!

I understand how the countdown element of it led to more negative comments than I would’ve liked, as people focused sometimes on reasons why an artist shouldn’t be as high as they were.   That’s an unavoidable byproduct of a list like this.   For the most part, though, there seemed to be a real appreciation for the amount of work that went into the feature.   The rankings are meaningless in the end, I think, and the value is that there’s now one place to learn a lot about the women in country music and their individual contributions.

Yes, for those who have asked, there will be a 100 Greatest Men feature, but it won’t be starting today or tomorrow.   Perhaps not even in July.   But I hope all of you stick around and keep talking about country music.  I’m quite happy with the community element that the site has taken on over the past few months!

In the meantime, here’s a clip of three of the top five ladies, for your afternoon pleasure:


  1. Kevin,

    The most important thing is that your selections – which you supported with solid background information on each lady – inspired lively debate. At least three friends of mine who had never visited your site were “held captive” on a daily basis as your list unfolded.

    Thank you for the time and effort you put into this list.

    Jim Bagley

  2. Personally, I think it’s disgusting that Shania Twain wasn’t No 1…

    Not really, just thought this post was missing something ;)

    Seriously, I really enjoyed the countdown. I’m from the UK, and a recent convert to country music, so I have to admit to being a bit ignorant about country music history, so I really learned a lot and discovered a lot of great songs! Thanks :))

  3. I loved the list of 100 greatest women — stellar job, Kevin.

    That said, is anyone else less excited about a list of 100 greatest male singers? For me, female country singers have always been more interesting. Especially in the last decade, many of the male singers all seem to run together — they’re so homogenous. Female singers, on the other hand, seem to have more distinctive personalities and voices, as well as a greater desire to find quality songs, which is probably why they aren’t represented on country radio as much.

  4. A male list will have a different feel to it, since the genre has been dominated by male voices. I chose 100 women rather than 40 or 50 so I’d be able to tell the stories of some of those women who time might forget (or have already forgotten.) Even with 100 slots for men, there are so many successful male artists that there won’t be much room for the B-listers.

    I’ve only just begun the research process for the male list. so we’ll see what happens. If I can make a list that tells a larger story, I’ll go for it.

  5. Actually, it’s only in recent imes that the male voices (and personalities) of country music became so much less distinctive (and homogenized) than the female voices. There was a time I could tell who the singer was from the first uttered note.

    Singers such as Webb Pierce, Carl Smith, George Jones, Lefy Frizzell, Hank Locklin, Ernest Tubb, Buck Owens , Ferlin Husky, Faron Young, Moon Mullican, Johnnny Cash, Ray Price, Roger Miller, Johnny Paycheck, Red Foley, Lester Flatt, Roy Acuff, Hank Thompson, Tennessee Erie Ford and Stonewall Jackson probably were even more distinctive than Dolly and Loretta were later.

    In today’s country music the female singers are ofter (not always) the more interesting. You certainly could not make that assertion forty years ago. In fact if you took today’s females and mixed them in with the males of the 50s and 60s, you’d find today’s women bland in comparison

  6. This was definitely an exhaustive list, and it must have taken a good long time to compile all the statistics on each of the 100 entries. We can argue from now until Doomsday over who should have been where on the list and for what reason, and even if certain artists should even have been on the list at all, but it sparked a lot of debate for sure.

    What I hope it’ll also do is to spark a discussion about how important women have historically been to the country music genre, and how important they’ll continue to be.

  7. Your list was very well thought out and full of information, and I really enjoyed it (I admit, I didn’t read every one, but I want to someday!). I couldn’t do my own since your knowledge of country music history is so much more advanced than mine, so I liked learning new things and getting accurate info.

    Oh man, 100 Greatest Men? That’d be too damn hard for me lol.

    I’m gonna go ahead and guess that Johnny Cash is your #1 lol (Hey, he’d be mine too)

  8. If nothing else, the 100 Greatest Men will be more likely (if that is possible) to have arguments (or stronger debate) on past versus present. Just like a good old baseball or basketballs greatest players list–I expect most people will lean towards older or newer (though I expect Kevin, you will try to balance both and get arguments from everyone).

  9. Kevin

    I think in doing a 100 Greatest Men list, you should take a group like Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Bill Monroe, Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, Gene Autry, AP Carter, Ralph Peer, Ernest Tubb and Fred Rose , designate them as Pioneers/Immortals/Mount Olympians (or whatever) acknowledging their extreme importance to the genre and then LEAVE THEM OUT OF THE DISCUSSION. Otherwise you will find yourself lambasted by many when your top ten omits any or all of these names.

    I certainly would be one of those doing the lambasting should you have Jimmie Rodgers and Hank Williams outside of your top three

  10. Kevin,

    I appreciated all the work you did on this list. I may not have agreed with all your rankings, but I think you have a good feel for who these artists are and what they have accomplished.

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