A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #620-#611

Signature songs from Kitty Wells and Lee Ann Womack appear way too early in this countdown.



Kitty Wells, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”

#1 | 1952

JK: The placement of this landmark single is perhaps the most egregious example of historical genre ignorance on this entire list. My God. Too Low

KJC: Top 100 classic. Maybe top 50. Too Low



Mark Chesnutt, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing”

#1 | 1998

KJC: Mark Chesnutt was among the finest traditionalists of the nineties, and there were many of them.  This was his last big hit, and it wasn’t very good. Jonathan’s pick below is my favorite Chesnutt single, and I’d also have made room for “Almost Goodbye” and “Thank God For Believers,” just for starters.  So Wrong (This Song)

JK: Where even to begin. One of the best male artists of his era barely figures on this list at all, but they made room for a cover of a just awful pop power ballad that he’s on record as hating. “I’ll Think Of Something” isn’t on here. Let’s go with that one as just one hit of many that should replace this. So Wrong (This Song)



Rascal Flatts, “Prayin’ For Daylight”

#3 | 2000

JK: I couldn’t stand them from the shrill, nasal opening notes of their debut hit. The first cut is the deepest, indeed. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  The correct answer for early Rascal Flatts is “I’m Movin’ On,” which I would rank well above #618.  It’s not on the list at all. So Wrong (This Song)



Lee Ann Womack featuring Sons of the Desert, “I Hope You Dance”

#1 | 2000

KJC:  This is a modern country music standard that belongs in the upper quarter of the list.  Too Low. 

JK: One of the few songs of this type that avoids being overly maudlin. Its success hinges on the sweetness and sincerity of Womack’s delivery and the soulful backing vocals by (the underrated) Sons of the Desert. Not Womack’s best single, but it’s a classic that earns its place here, and I’d even say it’s a bit Too Low.



Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black, “When I Said I Do”

#1 | 1999

JK: Whereas “I Hope You Dance” avoids mawkish sentimentality, “When I Said I Do” drowns in it. The hook at the time was the surprise that Lisa Hartman Black was a competent singer. There’s little to latch onto two decades later, especially when Black has songs like “No Time to Kill” and “We Tell Ourselves” that didn’t make the cut. So Wrong (This Song)

KJC:  Clint Black made his best music before he got married and went all Doug Stone on us. He was the biggest artist in the genre during his debut album cycle. I’d replace this entry with “Nobody’s Home,” his longest running #1 hit.  So Wrong (This Song)



Dierks Bentley, “5-1-5-0”

#1 | 2012

KJC: A novelty record that wore out its novelty before it finished its run on radio.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: I think Bentley is represented by the correct quantity of singles on this list, but not the correct quality. Swap this for “Say You Do,” “Up on the Ridge,” or “Bourbon in Kentucky.” So Wrong (This Song)



Waylon Jennings, “This Time”

#1 | 1974

JK: Six entries into this batch, and I’ll give my first About Right.

KJC: It’s hard to go wrong with Waylon Jennings, and this is one of his underrated hits.  About Right



Jason Aldean, “The Truth”

#1 | 2009

KJC: The embodiment of mediocrity. Aldean’s hits aren’t as awful as the hat acts that followed him, but they don’t hold a candle to the ones who came before him.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: The chasm between Aldean’s talent and his commercial success remains an unknowable void. So Wrong (This Song)



Mark Wills, “I Do (Cherish You)”

#2 | 1998

JK: Ah, yes, that late 90s run when pretty well every woman with a major label deal was knocking it out of the park on song after song, and the B-list men were doing tepid covers of R&B ballads. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  At least they didn’t include his Brandy cover.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)



Miranda Lambert, “Gunpowder & Lead”

#7 | 2008

KJC: Lambert’s much deserved breakthrough single, and still one of the best things she’s ever recorded.  Too Low

JK: God, how I miss when she would use slant rhyme to emphasize a point in her songwriting. A triumph of detail, performance, and production, and one of the best country singles of the aughts. Too Low.

Previous: #630-#621 | Next:  #610-#601


  1. For once I agree with all of the staffer’s comments, and I don’t even differ by degree – I think the Kitty Wells entry is much too low, but the Lee Ann Womack and Miranda Lambert entries (not among either’s best efforts) are only a little too low

  2. Re. “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”: Too Low is right. It should at least be in the Top 50, hell, maybe even in the Top 10 (IMHO).

    Re. “Gunpowder And Lead”: It’s probably in the right place, although I know that Miranda has fans on here who will disagree (e.g., the Too Low designation). I have to say that Miranda is not someone I have ever been wild about, though I won’t attack those who are.

  3. Wow! This list is so maddening? What the heck is the Kitty Wells song doing so low? Why the heck would this Mark Chesnutt song be on the list. He has so many good songs and this one isn’t even close to a good song! and I’m floored that “I’m Moving On” isn’t on the list at all!

  4. …starts to feel like that ol’ monkey with the darts is making the choices there. still, there’s hope that sam hunt includes kitty wells’ “it wasn’t god who made honky tonk angels” in one of his next efforts. aldean’s “the truth” still sounds great on the radio or on one of those “sad bastard mixed tape” sort of playlists. you’re a litte harsh there, gentlemen. it’s that doug stone thing all over again – a nice dose of self pity. how much does one have to drink to pick that one out of clint black’s catalogue?

  5. By the way, Lisa Hartman had recorded at least five albums and released a bunch of singles prior to this duet, starting in 1976. She always could sing, but I did not much like the music she recorded. I don’t think she had any hits, but she did receive scattered airplay on pop stations

  6. The Truth co-written by Ashley Monroe isn’t a good song bc Jason Aldean sings it? That is a little unfair. I’m not the biggest fan of Aldean especially post 2010 but come on that’s probably his best single.

  7. It’s surprising how much the late 90’s and early 00’s are represented in this batch. Not really some of the best selections from that era, either.

    It’s definitely maddening that out of all the excellent ballads Mark Chesnutt has in his catalogue, they chose THIS. The one song Mark himself has publicly stated that he hates and was forced by the label to record. Welp, so much for hoping that “Ol’ Country” would make it. I also second the mentions for “I’ll Think Of Something” and “Thank God For Believers.”

    Totally agree that “When I Said I Do” is not one of Clint’s best, either, but I must admit that I kinda enjoy it today, mostly for nostalgic reasons. Still, I’d rather see “Loving Blind,” “Where Are You Now,” “Burn One Down,” or “When My Ship Comes In” here instead.

    Now this is where I might get some tomatoes thrown at me, but I’ve always enjoyed the Mark Wills song. As I’ve said a million times before though, I’ve always been a sucker for most 90’s country love ballads. Mark Wills was actually one of my favorite artists back in the late 90’s/early 00’s, and I still enjoy most of his music from that time period. I always thought he released “I Do (Cherish You)” before 98 Degrees did it, though. BTW, I totally agree that the women were definitely killing it during that time period.

    The Lee Ann Womack song belongs here, since it’s pretty much her signature song. However, because it was so overplayed when it came out and never really let up for a few years, I quickly burned out on it, and hadn’t revisited it in quite a while. If it came on the radio today, though, it would probably be a breath of fresh air. That said, I also hope to see some of her more underrated singles like “The Fool,” “A Little Past Little Rock,” “Ashes By Now,” “Why They Call It Falling,” etc.

    Wasn’t expecting to see Rascal Flatts again so soon, but again, at least it’s one of their more tolerable (for me, at least) early singles. I agree with everyone else though, that “I’m Moving On” is the best choice to represent them.

    And yes, Kitty Wells is ranked too friggin low!

  8. Gosh. All the great songs Mark Chesnutt released in his heyday and they went with this? I got nothin’. I am a very big fan of “I’ll Think of Something” as well; it absolutely would have been my pick to go in the slot here, and it would have been too low.

    I remember Rascal Flatts’ debut single and thinking it couldn’t get worse than that; I had no idea whatsoever how wrong I was to be proven.

    I agree that LAW’s “I Hope You Dance” is a classic (if only in the strictest sense of the word) and deserves to be here for its success and impact if nothing else, but I still have a huge problem with it. As I have put it elsewhere:

    The worst thing about “I Hope You Dance” was not that it was too pop-sounding, nor that it was dreadfully overrated, though the latter is definitely true. No, the worst thing about that song was that it wasn’t even close to an accurate reflection of who Lee Ann Womack was and is as an artist. It wasn’t even typical of the songs on the album that shared its title. I remember people falling all over themselves praising that song, people who didn’t normally pay that much if any attention to country music in general, and I thought, “You people have no idea…”

    I have said before that beyond the title track, I Hope You Dance was a pretty typical Lee Ann Womack album, and that I regretted holding off on buying it for so long, and the inverse of that is likely true to some extent. What do I mean, you ask?

    Well, let’s put it like this: I would be interested to know how many pop music fans bought that album and were turned off by “The Healing Kind,” “Lonely Too,” and “Does My Ring Burn Your Finger,” i.e., “what is this twangy crap?”

  9. Oh, and in re: Jason Aldean’s “The Truth”:

    While I’m not so sure anything from Aldean belongs in the Top 1000, I actually liked “The Truth” quite a bit; it’s one of the two best singles he’s ever released, IMO, with the other being “Amarillo Sky.” I think both of those songs were pretty good on their own merits, and not just in comparison to the dreck that comprises the majority of his catalog. I dearly wish he recorded and released more songs like that.

  10. I agree with the pistolero on Lee Ann Womack and “I Hope You Dance.” It’s sad to think that a lot of people only know her for that one song (since it also received crossover airplay) and are not familiar with much of her other work, which is much more traditional leaning. I think Lee Ann herself has expressed frustration with this in the past, as well. I love the I Hope You Dance album, btw. Lots of great album cuts on there that deserve to be more known. I also always wondered how many of the pop/AC fans who bought it for the title track actually enjoyed the album as a whole.

  11. Forgot to add, besides the cuts pistolero mentioned above, some of my other favorites on I Hope You Dance are “Stronger Than I Am,” “After I Fall,” and “Thinking With My Heart Again.”

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