Weak early efforts from great artists weigh down this section of the list.
George Jones, “The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song)”
#3 | 1985
JK: Not Jones’ best single, but certainly a far sight better than a lot of its competition from that era. Too High
KJC: If that title isn’t enough to jog your memory, this is the “hotter than a two dollar pistol” song. It’s a throwback to the sound of his early records, and must’ve sounded so refreshing alongside the final days of the wan pop crossover era. Too High
Carrie Underwood, “Don’t Forget to Remember Me”
#2 | 2006
KJC: I will go to bat for all three of the #1 country singles from Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood’s debut album. This, however, was the forgettable filler single between “Jesus, Take the Wheel” and “Before He Cheats.” It’s a fine performance, but with so many better Underwood records on the list, its presence is completely unnecessary and bewilderingly high. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: And I’ll say “Some Hearts” was the best single off her debut. Even finding out a few years ago that Morgane Stapleton co-wrote this dreck wasn’t enough to change my mind about it. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
George Strait, “Fool Hearted Memory”
#1 | 1982
JK: Like far too much of Strait’s material, this settles for being one standard deviation above the mean when it comes to radio fodder, but it’s hardly great on its own merit. He’s over-represented on this list, so this one’s an easy cut. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: George Strait’s first #1 single is pleasant enough, but it’s really only a notable record because it’s his first #1 single. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Ray Charles with Willie Nelson, “Seven Spanish Angels”
#1 | 1984
KJC: Willie Nelson had so many great collaborative records in the eighties, and this might be the coolest of all of them. About Right
JK: I just love this record. Would love to see Charles mentioned at least a couple more times on this countdown, but this inclusion made my heart happy. About Right
Easton Corbin, “All Over the Road”
#3 | 2013
JK: Distracted driving ain’t cute, pal. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: Dude tries to talk his way out of a ticket by blaming the “pretty little mess” in the passenger seat. It’s a testament to Corbin’s charm as a singer that this doesn’t come off as terrible as it could have, but it has no business on this list. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Brooks & Dunn, “Lost and Found”
#6 | 1992
KJC: They didn’t need to include all five singles from Brand New Man. This should be replaced by the best Kix Brooks lead vocal hit, “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” which was left off entirely. So Wrong (This Song)
JK: What Kevin said, verbatim. So Wrong (This Song)
Rascal Flatts, “Life is a Highway”
#18 | 2006
JK: Look, it’s not like Tom Cochrane’s original rendition of this song is some untouchable classic; it was a slightly edgier variation on Bryan Adams’ MOR pop. But my God, is this cover just wretched and shrill and soulless. My favorite film critic, Walter Chaw, likes to point out how baffling it is that people use, “it’s just for kids,” as a defense for something of shitty quality that’s marketed toward children. Here’s Exhibit A. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: A Kids Bop cover. Nothing more, nothing less. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Travis Tritt, “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)”
#2 | 1991
KJC: I’m trying to think of a better country kiss off line than this one. Like, a single one in the history of country music. I can’t name one. They got it right by ranking “Anymore” even higher than this, but I’d still bump this one up a few notches. Too Low
JK: Oh, I’d have this one in the top 200 or so, and there really isn’t a better kiss-off line in country music. Pity that references to pay phones make so little sense now. Too Low
Brennen Leigh, “Saginaw, Michigan”
LP Cut | 2015
JK: I really like Brennen Leigh’s album of Lefty Frizzell covers: I even had it on my ballot for our year-end feature. And I love the idea that a woman with limited name recognition made this list. But to quote the late, great Amy Winehouse: What kind of fuckery is this? So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: I’m not even passing judgment on the worth of Brennen Leigh’s cover of “Saginaw, Michigan.” There’s simply no excuse for this version being in the top 600 and the Lefty Frizzell classic not being on the list at all. So Wrong (This Song)
LeAnn Rimes, “I Need You”
#8 | 2000
KJC: If nothing else, “I Need You” demonstrated how Rimes had grown as a vocalist. It’s not nearly as good a song as “How Do I Live,” but it’s a much better record than the Rimes version of “Live” from three years earlier. But I still wouldn’t put it “I Need You” on this list. Swap it out for “What I Cannot Change” or “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way.” So Wrong (This Song)
JK: Rimes emerged as one of my favorite artists of this century… starting with the album she released after this one. This is a caterwauled mess of a song. “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way” would be my first choice to replace this one, but most any single she released from 2003 onward would be better. So Wrong (This Song)
You really hit the nail on the head with these – can’t disagree with any of your comments other than I think George Jones’ “The One I Loved Back Then (The Corvette Song)” is place about right
I think this is the first time Jonathan and I gave the same marks to all ten entries!
I do love the Strait and B&D songs though.
Fool Hearted Memory was the first Strait song I ever heard. Love the song and became an immediate fan right then and there.
While I agree that Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way should’ve made this list for sure (what an amazing song), I do like I Need You. But I pretty much like anything Rimes sings.
I like All Over The Road. It’s a nice song. Not sure if it belongs here, but like Rimes, I like pretty much anything Corbin sings.
The Strait, B&D, and Rimes selections are my favorites out of this batch.
Unlike “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” I’ve never gotten tired of hearing “Lost And Found,” and I still find it so catchy and irresistible after all of these years. I’m totally with you guys on “You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone,” though. I always thought Kix was pretty underrated as the lead vocalist, overall. Another one of my favorites he sang lead on is “Why Would I Say Goodbye.”
There are a few Strait entries I’ve seen so far that I would trim out of the list, but I think I would keep “Fool Hearted Memory.” It’s one of my favorites of his early singles. It sounds so early 80’s, but for me that was always part of it’s charm.
I actually wasn’t too big on “I Need You” when it first came out, but it grew on me over the years, and now it’s one of my many favorite female pop country singles from the late 90’s/early 00’s.
When I mentioned that I enjoy Easton Corbin’s first two albums, well..I wasn’t exactly talking about this song. Totally agree with the comments on this one. I consider it to be the weakest cut on his otherwise pretty good second album. Too bad the gems on that album (“Tulsa Texas,” “I Think Of You,” etc.) had to remain hidden as album cuts.
The fact that RF’s “Life Is A Highway” became as popular as it did and continued to be overplayed as a recurrent is one of my many pet peeves about mid-late 00’s country. Yeah, I’m fine with not seeing any more RF entries from here on out.
While I’m also pleasantly surprised to see Brennan Leigh on this list at all, I’m also shocked that this version of “Saginaw Michigan” made it, but not Lefty’s.
Re. “Seven Spanish Angels”: In my humble opinion, that song is what one would expect from two titans who, by the time of that recording, already had close to eighty years of recording experience combined. Willie and “Brother” Ray were never the kind who’d risk their collective reputations on mediocrity, which is why both have universal appeal.
Favorite songs in this group: 7 Spanish Angels and TT’s Here’s a Quarter
re Rimes – favorites are Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way and On the Side of Angels
7 Spanish Angels is way low, and Here’s a Quarter should be top 50.
Kevin its very fitting you mentioned the George Jones subtitle: I actually thought for a long time (I turned 11 in 1985) that “Hotter than a $2 pistol” was the title of the song! My second favorite GJ song ( behind only Who’s Gonna fill their Shoes?) is Too Low
Seven Spanish Angels is Way too Low.
I like all these songs, except the cover of Saginaw Michigan,” which I haven’t heard.
“Seven Spanish Angels” should be a lot higher. As in at least the top 50.
“Life Is A Highway” shouldn’t be on this list at all.