A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #970-#961

Reigning Entertainer of the Year Keith Urban kicks off the next ten entries.


Keith Urban, “I Told You So”

#2 | 2007

KJC:  For my money, this is the best single of his career.  I’d have it much higher (and remove a good chunk of his other entries on the list.) Too Low

JK: After a nearly peerless run in the early aughts, Urban’s been hit-or-mostly-miss in terms of quality. This one falls into the former category, though I think he has far better material still to come. Too High.

BF: It doesn’t carry as much weight for me as it does with others, but it definitely has a solid hook and an interesting arrangement. About Right


Garth Brooks, “To Make You Feel My Love”

#1 | 1998

JK: Brooks turns in a quite capable Bob Dylan cover here: It’s one of the very few performances of his career that can be described as understated. Though I like this single just fine, it isn’t one that I think belongs in the discussion of essential country music. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

BF: This is one Garth Brooks record I could do without. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  I get that it was a #1 hit and all, but he didn’t even have the best version of this song on the Hope Floats soundtrack, as his future wife Trisha Yearwood did it much better.  So did Adele, a few years later. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


Taylor Swift, “Mine”

#2 | 2010

BF: Not even a highlight of Swift’s country catalog, let alone of the genre overall. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: She’s a better pop artist than she ever was a country artist, as this forgettable single demonstrates. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Though I’ve warmed to her music over the years, I wouldn’t dare make the argument that “Mine” is one of her best songs. Just sticking to her proper singles– which, sadly, excludes “All Too Well” and “Enchanted” and “Treacherous” and “Holy Ground”– “Sparks Fly” should be here, instead. So Wrong (This Song)


Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash, “If I Were a Carpenter”

#2 | 1970

KJC: Three of their duets make the list, and “It Ain’t Me, Babe” isn’t one of them? For shame. So Wrong (This Song)

JK: What Kevin said, verbatim. So Wrong (This Song)

BF: As much fun as they always are to hear together, this is just one of those songs that never really goes anywhere. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


Reba McEntire, “Why Haven’t I Heard From You”

#5 | 1994

JK: A baffling choice both for Reba, specifically, and for the overall scope of this list. “One Promise Too Late” would be my pick for the obvious replacement for this fun but horribly dated hit. So Wrong (This Song)

BF: I used to love this song, but it’s worn thin over the years. I rarely revisit it now. Also, it turns out that singing about telephone technology for three and a half minutes is a great way to make your record sound super dated after 25 years. So Wrong (This Song)

KJC: So many great Reba tunes missing from this list, yet this overlong novelty record is on it? So Wrong (This Song)


Diamond Rio, “One More Day”

#1 | 2000

BF: A beautiful, widely-relatable portrayal of grief and loss. About Right

KJC:  They whiffed on two of their four Diamond Rio choices, but this is one of the good ones. About Right

JK: I bailed on Diamond Rio when they moved in this ungodly dull Adult Contemporary direction at the expense of their Bluegrass influences. This is a lovely enough record for what it is, but I’d go with another one of the singles from their debut album to represent them. So Wrong (This Song)


Webb Pierce, “I Ain’t Never”

#2 | 1959


KJC: If you’re only going to have one Webb Pierce song, shouldn’t you at least try to bump it up a few slots? Too Low

JK: This is a top 100 record, easily. Too Low


Randy Travis, “He Walked On Water”

#2 | 1990


JK: For whatever reason, Travis’ output from the 1990s is often overlooked, and this is a fine single that would have been maudlin in the hands of a lesser artist. About Right

KJC: Grandpas are awesome, and so are Randy Travis records.  That doesn’t make the two of them together a pairing for the ages. Where on earth is “Three Wooden Crosses,” folks? So Wrong (This Song)


Eric Paslay, “Friday Night”

#6 | 2013

KJC: A world full of no. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Completely indistinguishable in form, content, and performance from countless other singles and “artists” of the current radio era and a wasted spot on this list. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

BF: I’ll give it credit for being one of the less-obnoxious summer hits of the past decade, but that’s about all I’ve got to say for this song. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


Dwight Yoakam, “Little Sister”

#7 | 1987

JK: This list should have included both of the Yoakam singles Kevin mentions below, plus at least a half dozen others. I do love this cover, but it’s expendable for the context of the overall list. So Wrong (This Song)

KJC: Sirius XM’s Prime Country station plays this song all of the time.  I don’t get it. It’s not anywhere near as good as his much better Elvis Presley cover of “Suspicious Minds,” and the list is missing some of his best original hits, too. (Ahem, “Ain’t That Lonely Yet.”) So Wrong (This Song)

Previous: #980-#971  | Next: #960-#951


  1. I’ve never really been a Dwight Yoakam fa, with the esception of “I Sang Dixie.” The Johnny and June duet is a little too low. I’d put a few Taylor Swift songs in, but not this one. And I agree that ‘Why Havent I..” Is obsolete and not one of her best anyway.

  2. “One More Day” is my favorite Diamond Rio song. Somehow I missed Urban’s “I Told You So” – not bad though. For Paslay, I’d prefer “She Don’t Love You”.

  3. Hard to believe the list has only one Webb Pierce song on it. This song is way too low but it is far from Webb’s best number p

  4. I think my favorite part of reading your commentary on this list is going to be watching you folks get angrier as you go further along, and seeing it displayed via your comments. We haven’t even gotten to the really insane stuff yet, and I already sense some irritation on some of these choices.

    As for my thoughts, I completely agree that the Swift, Reba, and Paslay songs don’t belong anywhere near this list. The sad part is, each of them has better material that I would go to bat for which was omitted. I would absolutely support “She Don’t Love You” making this list for Paslay, despite it not being a huge commercial success for him.

    I also see the point for the Garth/Dwight songs being dropped, even though I genuinely enjoy each song. A few other Dwight songs I would’ve loved to have seen considered are “You’re the One”, “The Heart that you Own”, and even though not a hit, “The Back of Your Hand”. I don’t feel his ballads were incorporated enough on this list at all, and it’s one of his greatest strengths as an artist.

    I will actually give them credit for including “He Walked on Water” for Randy Travis. I love the imagery in the song, and always thought it was sentimental without being “over the top”. I do agree that some of his late 90s/Aughts material (Out of My Bones, Three Wooden Crosses) should be represented more, but I’d sooner axe some of Randy’s other songs, or better yet, much of the post 2010’s dreck from other artists that will appear later on in this countdown.

  5. “Friday Night” is such an odd choice to make this list, I’m sure most of the country audience forgot it not long after it fell from the charts.

  6. Reba has 8 (8.5 including her feature on Brooks & Dunn’s “Cowgirls Don’t Cry”) songs on this list. That feels about right until you compare it to the number of songs that represent some other artists (more than twice that for Jason Aldean, etc.). I have never cared for “Why Haven’t I Heard from You” and have always preferred her ballads. Maybe as a male fan I’m missing something though since it seems a lot of younger female artists choose to cover this song in concerts, on competition shows, etc. Even still, I find it hard to believe they’d argue it warrants placement over “You Lie”, “Fallin’ Out of Love” or “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”.

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