This may be the oddest collection yet of entries, featuring lesser known versions of hit songs and novelty numbers that weren’t nearly as good as the artists who sang them.
Willie Nelson, “Funny How Time Slips Away”
LP Cut | 1962
JK: A brilliant song, delivered by an inimitable vocalist, and I have no idea how or why they chose this rendition to represent either the song or Nelson. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: A beautiful song that Nelson delivers effectively, but I’m surprised an album cut is on this list at all. Either pick a single version of the song or a different Nelson hit. So Wrong (This Song)
Jo Dee Messina, “Bye Bye”
#1 | 1998
KJC: It’s worth noting that this was released well before N*SYNC released “Bye Bye Bye.” Messina’s run of big hits kicks off in earnest with this catchy kiss off number. Too High
JK: Singles like this were Messina’s strength. I wouldn’t have it ranked ahead of “I’m Alright” or “Lesson in Leavin’,” though. Too High
Brad Paisley, “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song)”
#1 | 2002
JK: Netflix gave Paisley the reins to produce and host a stand-up comedy special a couple of years back, proving once and for all that, when he tries too hard to be funny, it’s just miserable. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: An early example of Paisley stretching bumper sticker jokes into overlong comedy numbers. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Alabama, “Dixieland Delight”
#1 | 1983
KJC: Some great harmonies here, and I love the “make a little lovin’/a little turtle dovin’” couplet. About Right
JK: In as much as I don’t think there’s much to Alabama beyond their desire to be a chicken-fried Eagles, this single somehow comes across as more authentic to who they are as a band. About Right
Don Williams, “Amanda”
#33 | 1973
JK: “If Hollywood Don’t Need You (I Still Do)” would like to have a word with you, “Amanda.” So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: I love Don Williams. This list needs more of him. But if you’re going to also include Waylon Jennings doing this same song and rank his versions more than 400 slots higher, free up some room for a different Williams hit that you left off, like “Lord, I Hope This Day is Good” or “I’m Just a Country Boy.” So Wrong (This Song)
Billy Currington, “Don’t It”
#4 | 2014
KJC: He’s as close as this generation has to Conway Twitty. Give him some better material to work with, please. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: Give me “Love Done Gone” or give me nothing at all from him. So Wrong (This Song)
Brooks & Dunn, “Rock My World (Little Country Girl)”
#2 | 1993
JK: Trade this one wholesale for BR5-49’s riotous “Little Ramona (Gone Hillbilly Nuts),” which actually pulls off the same concept they utterly fail to execute here. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: A blatant attempt to recreate the line dance fever of “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” with a colorless lead vocal from Kix Brooks. The first in a long line of female characters in their songs that could only exist in the fever dreams of men. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Johnny Russell, “Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer”
#4 | 1973
KJC: The only hit Russell would ever need, although his rich vocal here makes me wish he’d been more successful overall. Country radio’s loss was the Grand Ole Opry’s gain. About Right
JK: Man, how hipster was Johnny Russell to be talking about Blue Ribbon all the way back in 1973? Such a compelling voice, and a clever song. Too High
Alan Jackson, “It Must Be Love”
#1 | 2000
JK: Hold up. I just re-read that “Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good” isn’t on here at all, and I need to go check my blood pressure. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: Here’s another place to squeeze in some more Don Williams. Swap out this pretty good cover for the Williams original, which is better. So Wrong (This Song)
Clay Walker, “If I Could Make a Living”
#1 | 1994
KJC: Alan Jackson got in touch with his inner Dolly Parton in the mid-nineties, sharing his prolific songwriting talents by penning hits for Faith Hill, Randy Travis, and this big Walker hit. Excellent fiddle work on this record. About Right
JK: The wordplays are obviously Jackson’s handiwork, but Walker sells the song with panache. For all of the men who are over-represented on this list, I’m still pleased to see Walker’s quality singles catalogue reflected in these rankings. About Right
I wasn’t a big fan of “Bye Bye” when it was first released, but I thought it was OK later. Still like the other singles from that album more, though.
Oh, Brad Paisley. I remember when this album came out, and I thought it was pretty good, especially beyond the singles. I kinda miss the Paisley who did songs with George Jones & Bill Anderson instead of Demi Lovato. (Nothing against Demi. “Without A Fight” just wasn’t my thing.)
I do not have a problem with the same song showing up multiple times – I can imagine a list of the top 1000 classic pop songs having “Stardust” show up two or three times (Willie Nelson, Artie Shaw, Hoagy Carmichael) as long as each brought something interesting to the song. I much prefer Don Williams version of “Amanda”
I actually agree with the rest of your assessments other than that I think Brad Paisley’s “I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin’ Song)” does belong on this list
There are too many good songs that wee never singles to count. We can all easily count hundreds of them. But they just don’t belong on this list.
My favorite of these 10 is Dixieland Delight
Re. Johnny Russell: Here’s hoping Pabst made a few bucks off of “Rednecks, White Socks, And Blue Ribbon Beer”. But I don’t think he starved too much by being more of a songwriting success than a recording one. “Act Naturally”, anybody?
@JK re. Brad Paisley and comedy: He probably never heard the old saying “Dying is easy. Comedy is hard“.
Still like Messina’s “Bye Bye”.
Bought the Billy Walker version of “Funny How Time Slips Away”.
What happened to these features? Hope you guys finish the list, even though it might take a few months :)
Agree with the previous commenter. Just started reading through these today. I was inspired by SiriusXM doing another one of these on channel 30. Mostly the same thing, but a FEW of the songs seem to have swapped positions this year. As was true with their top 1000 Classic Rock countdown earlier this month, someone REALLY dropped the ball with both song selection and song placement on the country list. I’ll still take SXM over terrestrial radio any day, but most of this list is a bad joke. Loving your analysis.
Thanks for the encouragement! A new post is up.