A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #710-#701

Two of the very best songs from the eighties New Traditionalist movement make disappointingly low appearances.


Randy Travis, “Diggin’ Up Bones”

#1 | 1986

JK: To say that something is among the best of Travis’ 80s-era run is the highest praise. Too Low

KJC:  This is how you achieve immortality with just your debut album.  The one two punch of “On the Other Hand” and “Diggin’ Up Bones” changed the course of country music and opened the floodgates for the incredible boom of artistically and commercially successful music that followed.  Too Low


Blake Shelton, “Mine Would Be You”

#2 | 2013

KJC:  If I could require one Male Vocalist winner to return most of his trophies, mine would be you, Blake.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Shelton phones it in again. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton, “Just Someone I Used to Know”

#5 | 1969

JK: I mean, you could easily have 10 different versions of this song on this list, and they’d all be worthy inclusions. I don’t think this is my favorite rendition, but I’m not mad to see more Porter & Dolly. They should both be on here more, anyway. About Right

KJC:  Wagoner & Parton’s duets started out fresh, but even a year into their work together, their collaborations sound dated compared to her solo work being released at the same time.  This was sent to radio a month after “My Blue Ridge Mountain Boy.”  Too High


Keith Whitley, “I’m No Stranger to the Rain”

#1 | 1989

KJC:  The best single from one of the genre’s most influential talents.  This is startlingly undervalued in its placement here.  Too Low

JK: One of the finest country singles of the 80s, full stop. Too Low


Lee Brice, “I Don’t Dance”

#5 | 2014

JK: You also don’t sing all that well, yet here we are with you again. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  The truck song will suffice, thank you very much.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


Alabama, “I’m in a Hurry (and Don’t Know Why)”

#1 | 1992

KJC:  This sounded so fresh when it hit the radio in 1992.  Don’t be fooled into thinking they were treading water in the nineties.  Many of their best records came out in that decade.  This is one of them.  About Right

JK: One of their less obnoxious, campy hits. I wouldn’t cut it from the list. Too High


Kenny Chesney, “Live a Little”

#1 | 2011

JK: I have no recollection of this song whatsoever, even though I reviewed its parent album at the time. That’s about par for Chesney. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: The formula that had been wearing thin for years was now completely translucent.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


The Bellamy Brothers, “If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold it Against Me”

#1 | 1979

KJC: Corny as all get out, but as pick up lines go, it’s certainly more memorable than “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy.)”  Less likely to get you slapped, too.  About Right

JK: Perhaps the best illustration of how country’s treatment of women has shifted over the last 30 years: Even when the Bellamy Brothers are rolling out an all-time great/awful pick-up line, the woman they’re addressing still has her own agency to respond to it. That matters. About Right


Clay Walker, “She Won’t Be Lonely Long”

#4 | 2009

JK: A surprising late-career hit for Walker, and deservedly so. It’s over-ranked in relation to his singles, but he remains a terrific, underrated singles artist. Too High

KJC:  He had some good grooves toward the end of his hitmaking run.  Too High


Johnny Cash, “Understand Your Man”

#1 | 1964

KJC: Have you ever heard the Dwight Yoakam version of this? It’s even more viscerally angry than the original.  Too High

JK: Cash is over-represented on this list; this is one of the entries of his I would cut. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)


Previous: #720-#711| Next: #700-#691


  1. If you pick anything Randy Travis recorded during his heyday in the 80’s and early 90′ out of a hat, you’ll almost always end up with a winner. Like the Judds and Ricky Van Shelton, Randy’s music from that time period is like the soundtrack to my early childhood. “Diggin’ Up Bones” was always one my parents liked, as well. It’s a slap in the face to see such a classic song ranked below the mediocre songs from Lee Brice and Kenny Chesney.

    Same thing for Keith Whitely’s “I’m No Stranger To The Rain.” Seriously, they thought “Live A Little” was a better song than this? You could also pick out just about anything Keith put out during his late 80’s run and end up with something great.

    “I’m In A Hurry (And I Don’t Know Why)” was always one of my favorites of Alabama’s 90’s output. It’s aged amazingly well, and it still sounds great while cruising with the windows down. I actually think a lot of their 90’s stuff is underrated.

    Clay Walker’s “She Won’t Be Lonely Long” is another one of my favorites here. I was also pleasantly surprised when it ended up being a big hit for him, since he was already well past his commercial prime, and the song was a lot more traditional sounding compared to a lot of its competition. It just sounded so refreshing, and it took me back the late 90’s when more songs of its kind were still being recorded and released to radio.

  2. Funny, I was thinking the other day that “I Drive Your Truck” was the only song Lee Brice recorded that was worth a damn. Great minds, and all that.

    I never was a big fan of that particular Bellamys tune, but you guys made an excellent point. I do hope “Old Hippie” rants higher, though.

    Completely agreed on “Just Someone I Used To Know.” That is one of the finest country songs ever written. (Lee Ann Womack did a fine version of it as well.)

  3. Re. “Understand Your Man”: If I understand it right, this song was at least partly inspired by Bob Dylan’s classic “Don’t Think Twice (It’s Alright)”…and Johnny either had become or was about to become a very close friend of Dylan’s by that time.

    As for The Man In Black being “over-represented”–well, I’m afraid the Man In Black’s track record is far too big to ignore, country or otherwise (IMHO).

  4. If I recall correctly, “Just Someone I Used To Know” started out life as “A Girl I Used To Know”, a big hit for George Jones back in 1962 and still my favorite recording of the song.

  5. “I’m No Stranger to the Rain” is a country classic. at least 500 spots Too Low. Some of it is personal for me. This song is eerily foreboding, but also Keith’s death taught me somethin. I was 14 when he died, and due to health class in high schoolm I knew the dangers of alcohol, but I didn’t not realise you could consume alcohol pas the point of just passing out and puking a lot. My God, you can actually die from this stuff!

  6. The best version of “I Drive Your Truck” is the one its writer Jessi Alexander cut for her too-brief ‘Down Home’ album from 2014. Definitive.

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