A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #830-#821

Hall of Famers Alabama, Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris are among the many veteran artists on this part of the list.


The Band Perry, “All Your Life”

#1 | 2011

JK: I’m partial to some of the singles that came after this one, but, had The Band Perry continued in this vein, they would’ve carved out a worthwhile career as a pop-country outfit. Too High

KJC:  I can get on board with the roots arrangement, but not the substandard lead vocal.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

BF: I tend to consider this one of the less-essential Band Perry hits, though it does showcase what a cool sound they had in their early days. May their potential rest in peace. So Wrong (This Song)


Patsy Cline, “Faded Love”

#7 | 1963

KJC: A good take on a classic song that takes flight in its final moments.  About Right 

JK: Not one of The Cline’s hits that gets a ton of action these days, but it’s a stunner nonetheless. I’m happy it’s here. About Right

BF: A perfect example of Cline’s unique combination of jaw-dropping vocal power and genuine emotional resonance. The plaintive crack in her voice on the final note reflects just how deeply she felt the songs she was singing. Too Low


John Anderson, “Swingin’”

#1 | 1983

JK: My pick for the most underrated artist in country music, Anderson’s deeply weird voice made the genre so much more interesting. One of my favorite songs as a kid, the iconic “Swingin’” still holds up today– The Mavericks just released a cool cover of it, too. Too Low

KJC:  I will always enjoy the backup singers correctly pronouncing the title in response to Anderson’s sheer twang as he wails that he’s “Swaangin.”  It’s the sound of the burgeoning New Tradionalist movement pushing back against the Urban Cowboy style it was about to replace. Too Low

BF: The sound of the record is unmistakably early eighties, but the charm and personality of the performance never get old. About Right


Randy Houser, “We Went”

#7 | 2015

KJC:  It isn’t a great song, but at least he can sing.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Like Chris Young, Houser is a tremendous singer forever in search of better material. He found it on 2019’s Magnolia, making the limitations of this forgettable single all the more evident. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


Emmylou Harris, “Two More Bottles of Wine”

#1 | 1978

JK: The best of Harris’ uptempo hits; the influence of this song is all over the work of Rosanne Cash, Trisha Tearwood, and Pam Tillis. Entirely Too Low

KJC:  I think that Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town is the Emmylou Harris album most unjustly overlooked from her early years.  This is the least accomplished of its three singles, and it’s still a classic.  Too Low


Toby Keith, “He Ain’t Worth Missing”

#5 | 1993

KJC:  The songwriting is a bit clunky but the vocal performance is solid.  He was a great artist right out of the gate. Too High

JK: This early hit was one of the first pieces of evidence that Keith is a sneaky great singer. It isn’t better than some of what’s already been listed, but it’s a good single. Too High


Kenny Chesney, “Keg in the Closet”

#6 | 2005

JK: I’d have, at most, three Chesney singles on this list, so for me to say something is beneath him… Hoo, boy. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  This was one single too many in the nostalgia vein, coming so soon after “Young.”  I remember it also sounding like a huge step backward after “Anything But Mine.” So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

BF: I remember hearing Kenny Chesney all over the radio as a teen and wondering what all the fuss over him was about. I’m still wondering that today. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


Rhett Akins, “That Ain’t My Truck”

#3 | 1995

KJC:  Rhett Akins is a great example of the tail end of the early nineties gold rush, when labels were signing acts too young and not giving them enough time to develop.  This single worked because it was at least age appropriate, and he didn’t sound like he was trying on his father’s boots. About Right 

JK: I try not to hold it against this legitimately solid single that, had it not been a hit, we wouldn’t have to put up with Thomas Rhett today. About Right


Jerry Lee Lewis, “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)”

#2 | 1968

JK: Lewis’ legacy is a whole lot of yikes, but this single is terrific on its own merits and avoids content that intersects with what’s problematic about him. Too High

KJC:  His country comeback didn’t have the same longevity of his fifties peers Conway Twitty and Brenda Lee, but it did have this one classic hit.  About Right


Alabama, “Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler)”

#1 | 1984

KJC:  Very campy and melodramatic, but it’s not hard to imagine it becoming a trucker family favorite.  At its best, Alabama was able to make invisible Americans feel seen. About Right

JK: God, Randy Owen’s delivery on this is unbearably campy. I just can’t deal with this one. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

Previous: #840-#831 | Next: #820-#811


  1. I think the Patsy Cline and Jerry Lee Lewis entries are placed too low by about 400 places and the Emmylou Harris number belongs about 200 places higher. I m pretty much in tune with the rest of the staff’s comments

  2. Re. “Faded Love”: Like with many a song she did, Patsy helped make that particular one such a standard that so many others, country and otherwise, followed her path. It’s one of the reasons why she’s a legend, and why her tragic passing at too young an age remains painful.

    Re. “All Your Life”: I know folks would have wanted more of The Band Perry had they remained more traditional, like they more or less were here. But like Kevin says, the lead vocal by Kimberly Perry isn’t all that great.

    Re. “Two More Bottles Of Wine”: I believe Delbert McClinton (who had his own big hit in 1980 with “Giving It Up For Your Love”) wrote this one, which shows just how cagey Emmylou was with knowing what songs work for her, and how they work for her.

    Re. “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous”: Yes, Jerry Lee isn’t the most stable figure that’s ever been in the music business (one of the many reasons he’s called The Killer), but this is one of the high points of his C&W career. And I don’t think he lost too much of his rock and roll audience by going in this direction, because anything the man does you really wouldn’t mistake for anybody else (IMHO).

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