Signature hits from Bill Anderson, Restless Heart, and Hank Williams are featured here.
Tracy Lawrence, “Paint Me a Birmingham”
#4 | 2003
JK: This lovely single definitely belongs here, but not above many things we’ve already seen. Too High
KJC: It’s a pretty song, but you can hear that Tracy Lawrence’s voice has started to deteriorate. There isn’t much from him on this list, and he would be better served through his earlier hits. Perhaps “I See it Now” or “If the Good Die Young.” So Wrong (This Song)
George Strait, “The Fireman”
#5 | 1985
KJC: I remember Tracy Byrd offering this up as his favorite George Strait song ever. It’s interesting that a man with more #1 country hits than anyone else also has some signature songs that didn’t top the charts. About Right
JK: It’s not his biggest hit by chart position, but it’s one of his most enduring singles, and for good reason. Too Low
Miranda Lambert, “Heart Like Mine”
#1 | 2011
JK: So, in the grand scheme of things, I think this is an “about right” placement for one of Lambert’s catchiest hits. But there’s so much wrong with how she’s represented on this list and with the list as a whole that it’s hard to say exactly where this song fits in overall. About Right?
KJC: Her best records haven’t been her biggest chart hits, with a small handful of exceptions. This does well enough to represent her at her most radio friendly. About Right
Bill Anderson, “Still”
#1 | 1963
KJC: Bill Anderson is such a great songwriter that he managed to have a long career as a singer on the strength of his true talent. This is about as good as he gets on record. Have you heard his disco album? About Right
JK: On one hand, I’m happy they remembered to include Anderson at all. But, while so many hits of its era sound like classics even today, “Still” sounds badly dated, with the backing vocalists’ track so prominent in the mix and Anderson’s spoken-word verses verging on camp. I’d keep it on the list on reputation alone, but I’m going to risk hellfire and damnation from the traditionalist contingent and say Too High.
Brad Paisley, “The World”
#1 | 2006
JK: Sometimes, Paisley’s wordplays feel organic to a song’s construction; at other times, it sounds like he came up with a lyrical hook and then struggled to build an entire song around it. I’ve always felt this single fell into that latter group. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: He missed his true calling as an inspirational quote writer for home goods artwork. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Restless Heart, “I’ll Still Be Loving You”
#1 | 1986
KJC: A classic pop hit that would’ve topped the Hot 100 if it came out during the Urban Cowboy era. Reba McEntire does a beautiful version of this song, too. About Right
JK: An enduring wedding song that sounds exactly like the REO Speedwagon hits of the mid-80s; pop-country production at its most banal, but at least Larry Stewart has a solid voice. Too High
Hank Williams, “Lovesick Blues”
#1 | 1949
JK: When I read this list for the first time, this was the placement that literally made me throw my phone onto the couch. It isn’t just that it’s too low, it’s that the placement is flat-out ignorant. TOO LOW
KJC: It’s “Lovesick Blues.” I wouldn’t have argued with the Red Kirk or Sonny James versions being #774. But the Hank Williams classic that spent 16 weeks at #1 and sold a million copies? #774? Too Low
Tim McGraw, “Southern Voice”
#1 | 2009
KJC: Southern Voice was an interesting project for me from McGraw, in that this song went to #1, and it was the only single from the album that I didn’t like. I’d trade it out for “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You” or “Still” in a heartbeat. So Wrong (This Song)
JK: Really? This is the lamb you led to slaughter by putting it one spot above “Lovesick Blues?” So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Lonestar, “My Front Porch Looking In”
#1 | 2003
JK: They released some truly dreadful material during their commercial heyday, but this is one of their better singles. I don’t object to its inclusion here. Too High
KJC: I’d trade the bro country era for the family man era any day. About Right
Hank Williams Jr., “Born to Boogie”
#1 | 1987
KJC: This was Hank Jr. for the music video age, where he became as much of a personality as he was a singer. About Right
JK: One of his rambunctious best; it’s not better or more significant than “Lovesick Blues,” but it belongs on the list, for sure. About Right
Their whole list is just baffling. It’s like Sirius just randomly picked 1000 songs. I’m enjoying these posts though.
Take the first 7 off of “Lovesick Blues” placement, and It might still be a little too low! 774?! OMG!
Still” is probably my favorite Bill Anderson song.
“The Fireman” is a little too low, but not bad.
Tim deserves o have several songs on this list, but this isn’t one of them.
Favorites here: Lonestar’s “My Front Porch Looking In” (agree with KJC regarding trading bro country era for the family man era) and Tracy Lawrence’s “Paint Me a Birmingham”.
Re. “Still”: To be fair to Mr. Anderson, it was part of that Nashville Sound thing, which, compared to the Bromeisters, actually sounds more or less traditional. And it not only topped the country chart, it also hit #8 on the Hot 100 (just a little chart info for archaic purposes).
Re. “Lovesick Blues”: Yes, that one is ranked way too low by any reasonable standard, given not only Hank Sr.’s 1949 classic, but the number of times it’s been covered over the last seventy years, and not just by country artists. Linda Ronstadt covered it in a straight country fashion on her 1970 album Silk Purse, but did a more harder-edged rock version in concerts.
I also echo that “Lovesick Blues” is ranked far too low for such an iconic song. It’s also always been one of my favorites by Hank, Sr. Also really like George Strait’s cover of it.
As a big fan of Tracy Lawrence, I agree that “Paint Me A Birmingham” is a good song, but not one of his absolute best, imho. I don’t agree with it being ranked higher than “Sticks And Stones,” especially, and I agree that I’d rather see more of his 90’s classics on the list. I’ve also noticed the change in his voice since the 2000’s, though I still enjoy his music, for the most part.
I have similar feelings to George Strait’s “The Fireman.” It’s pretty much considered to be one of his classics, but it’s never been one of my personal favorites from him. Still, I guess it belongs on here, since it seems to be one of his most remembered hits and is covered countless times by other artists and on TV talent shows.
The Paisley and McGraw songs don’t belong on here. I consider both to be an example of some of the more forgettable songs from the mid/late 00’s. I especially always disliked the checklist style of “Southern Voice,” and it’s easily one of Tim’s most boring singles, imo.
I’m totally guilty of loving Restless Heart’s brand of contemporary country from the 80’s and early 90’s. Those harmonies are simply irresistible, and “I’ll Still Be Loving You” was always one of my favorites of theirs.
“Born To Boogie” is a pure fun song that I still enjoy today, and is one of my favorites by Hank Jr. I agree that it shouldn’t be ranked above his father’s “Lovesick Blues,” though.
While I agree that the Family Man/Soccer Mom era of country is better than the Bro Country era, I personally don’t like either. I’ll take neo-traditional country or the pop country of Shania and Faith over either one of those trends any day. Heck, I’ll take early 80’s Urban Cowboy over those, though I may be in the minority on that one.
So, I took your advice on the Bill Anderson “disco” album…I literally thought that was a joke. Then, I found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOMEJ82SaAk. It’s…absolutely worth a listen for camp value. (And for the record, I think Bill Anderson is a national treasure, and have no issue with “Still”, although I begrudgingly get the point John makes).
I’ll also throw support behind Restless Heart. I know they were a studio creation, and I know a lot of critics probably didn’t approve of the pop production. But, to me…most of their stuff with Larry Stewart holds up really well. The harmonies were beautiful, the production worked well for them, and I think a lot of their singles were sharper/more interesting than some folks gave them credit for. I’m absolutely fine with this song, and two of their other three choices being here (there is one of their songs on this list that I truly despise, but we’ll get to that later).
Finally, “Lovesick Blues” is probably top 50 caliber, and that placement is hilarious. Apparently it didn’t meet the same caliber of quality that Luke Bryan’s “Play it Again” met…but, then again…what can?