A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #510-#501

We’re officially halfway through this list.  There are still another 500 to go.  “Thanks a Lot,” Sirius.



Ernest Tubb and His Texas Troubadours, “Thanks a Lot”

#3 | 1963

JK: God, I love this record, one of the genre’s finest examples of upbeat bitterness. Too Low

KJC:  This record is far too essential to be in the bottom half of this list, even if it’s just barely. Too Low

ZK: Blunt and bitter in the right way, I don’t have much to add other than this is way Too Low.



George Strait, “Love Without End, Amen”

#1 | 1990

KJC:  One of the best father-son songs of his career, and he had a few great ones. I love the pure songcraft on display here: “When I became a father in the spring of ‘81, there was no doubt that stubborn boy was just like my father’s son.”  One of Strait’s very best singles.  About Right

JK: Because he’s King George, he could get away with such a bald-faced attempt to replicate the impact of “Forever And Ever, Amen.” A lesser artist may have scraped the top 20 with this. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: It’s strange; I feel like this is the umpteenth Strait single I’ve felt hasn’t belonged here. A discography as vast as his is bound to have some misses, and like Jonathan says, it’s impossible not to think about this without thinking of the superior Travis song. So Wrong (This Song)



Montgomery Gentry, “Hell Yeah”

#4 | 2003

JK: I’ll go to bat for several of their hits as being among the best-produced and most rowdily performed of their era, but this one never clicked for me. They have better picks elsewhere on this list, so I’d cut this one. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: This helped kick their career into a higher gear at radio, but there were bigger and better singles to follow.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: A novelty cut that’s way more fun and clever than it has any right to be. Though, maybe a bit Too High. 



Sammy Kershaw, “Third Rate Romance”

#2 | 1994

KJC: I’ll lump this in with “My Maria” and “We Just Disagree” among nineties covers of seventies AM radio hits that were better in their new incarnations.  Too High

JK: A fine enough cover that works well with Kershaw’s idiosyncratic singing, but this would have made sense like 450 entries ago. Too High

ZK: Kershaw’s cornball humor was always on display, whether it was on his upbeat ditties, the self-deprecation of his downbeat material or in his choice of covers. Still, there’s no place for “pretty good” at almost the halfway point. Too High 



Willie Nelson, “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”

#1 | 1981

JK: Oh my God, this isn’t even in their top half. Too Low

KJC:  This is a really beautiful song. Nelson is all over the top 500, so I’d drop the lesser entries from the 400 range and move this one up.  Too Low

ZK: One of my favorite introductions to a song ever, so why is this only here when friggin’ “Dirt Road Anthem” is in the top ten?!? Too Low



Tim McGraw, “She’s My Kind of Rain”

#2 | 2002

KJC: I remember McGraw saying at the time that this was the best song he’d ever recorded, and I was like, “Really?”   So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Aims for poetry and comes nowhere close to the target, and these are not the kinds of songs McGraw can elevate. Swap this for Gary Allan’s “Songs About Rain.” So Wrong (This Song)

ZK: I still don’t know what a drunken sky is. So Wrong (This Song)



Garth Brooks, “Shameless”

#1 | 1991

JK: I could write 1000 words about how unlistenable and overwrought this trainwreck of a single is. Instead, a less obvious talking point: This single is the worst thing Trisha Yearwood has ever recorded by a country mile. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: I remember him performing this song with a single red rose in his hand and thinking for the first time, “This guy is a bit over the top.”  Echoing Jonathan’s comment, the highlight of this record is Yearwood’s stunning harmony vocal. Too High

ZK: Garth Brooks’ greatest asset as a performer is his knack for subtlety, hence why his ballads are among his best work. He even underplays “Friends In Low Places” to slyly effective degrees. This, however, is emblematic of why he’s nearly insufferable now – an overblown, overwrought performance (of a cover song, no less) that’s no fun to listen to – not even in the concert atmosphere in which he thrives. So Wrong (This Song)



Jessica Andrews, “Who I Am”

#1 | 2000

KJC: I personally enjoy “There’s More to Me Than You” more than this, but “Who I Am” is the appropriate representation of Andrews.  Too High

JK: A well-constructed pop-country hit about a young woman’s learning how to craft her own self-definition, and Andrews sings it well. The only time it all really came together for Andrews; I’d have had this far lower, but it makes sense that it’s included. Too High

ZK: A record where you can hear Andrews’ determination to “make it” on her own terms through her passionate performance. I’m happy they included it, even if I personally would have it placed a few hundred entries ago. Too High 



Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers Band, “All the Gold in California”

#1 | 1979

JK: I’m not a huge fan of this particular group, but this is a great choice to represent them. About Right

KJC:  Their signature song, placed About Right. 

ZK: Another odd inclusion for a group I don’t often think of, but I must admit I had more fun revisiting this song than I thought I would. About Right



Kenny Chesney & Uncle Kracker, “When the Sun Goes Down”

#1 | 2004

KJC: This may be the whitest thing that’s ever been recorded. Oh, the caucasity. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Kid Rock’s talentless drummer or DJ or merch dude or whatever the hell he was has no place in the discussion of the 1000 greatest songs in country music, and it’s a testament to Chesney’s utter lack of taste that we have to talk about him at all. Gross. Just gross. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: I’d prefer my beach song without the Uncle Kracker, thank you very much. Heck, most of the time I’d prefer it without Chesney. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

Previous: #520-#511 | Next:  #500-#491


  1. Angels Flying Too Close To The Ground behind several forgettable songs on just this grouping plus another 500 songs to go?

  2. Re. “Thanks A Lot”: Unquestionably, this is a contender for Best C&W Song ever, from one of the genre’s giants.

    Re. “Shameless”: Well, I guess Garth proved that, in this day and age, subtlety just isn’t really his strong point. And while he may have helped to cause country music to explode so much in popularity in the 1990s, not everything he has done has necessarily been for the better (IMHO).

    Re. “Hell Yeah”: I heard this only once on the radio; and it was so in-one’s-face that my response to it has been (pardon the pun and the obvious cliche), “Hell No!”

  3. Really not sure if “Hell Yeah” belongs here, but just the same it’s a lot of fun. I think it’s probably my favorite MG single.

    SMKOR was the best song Tim ever recorded up to that point? Haha, no. Pretty sure that honor goes to the title track of Everywhere.

    Much as I love George Strait, I have to agree with Zackary that his entry here is not really top-1000 worthy. It has a nice sentiment and is well performed, but, meh.

  4. Hmmm – I cannot come up with 500+ songs better than “Thanks A Lot”. this would be in my top 200 for sure. The Kenny Chesney/Uncle Kracker, Garth Brooks and Montgomery Gentry entries do not belong on this list. I’m okay with the other songs

  5. Ehh…save for the Ernest Tubb selection, this is kind of a weak group, overall.

    “Thanks A Lot” is another great early 60’s country classic that belongs nowhere near most of these other songs on a “best country songs of all time” list.

    Yeah, “Shameless” probably did help to do more harm than good for mainstream country in the long run. But still, I’ll always have a soft spot for it since Ropin’ The Wind was an early addition to my cd collection when I was very young, and my step dad liked that song (I even remember him singing it on karaoke, lol). My favorite single off that album is “What She’s Doing Now,” which I’m hoping will show up here, too.

    “All The Gold In California” is a solid pick for the Gatlin Brothers, and is still an enjoyable listen today. They’re another group who’s singles I’d been exploring when it comes to late 70’s and 80’s country, and found quite a few songs I’ve enjoyed.

    I actually like the George Strait song, but like most of you guys, I don’t rank it as one of my top favorites from him, though I do like the sentiment. Doesn’t help either that it was pretty overplayed for a long time on one of my stations. I would’ve rather seen some of his more underappreciated 90’s singles on here like “Meanwhile,” “Round About Way,” “Lead On,” “Chill Of An Early Fall,” etc.

    It’s too bad “Who I Am” ended up being Jessica Andrews’ only big hit. It’s a nice song, and it brings back some good early 00’s memories, but I also don’t think it belongs this high on the list. I personally consider “Unbreakable Heart” her best single and still wish that was a bigger hit for her. Also love “I Will Be There For You,” “You Go First,” and “Helplessly, Hopelessly.”

    The Sammy Kershaw song is ok, but again, not one of my favorites from him. I personally rank “Matches,” “Meant To Be,” “Love Of My Life,” “One Day Left To Live,” “Maybe Not Tonight,” “Haunted Heart,” and even “Cadillac Style” higher.

    Yeah, this was definitely not one of Tim’s strongest singles from the late 90’s/early 00’s period. Like the pistolero, I much prefer “Everywhere,” or heck, any other single off of that album.

    “When The Sun Goes Down” is yet another reminder of why I started listening to the radio much less during the mid 00’s. The fact that they were even shoving that thing down our throats during the friggin’ winter was one of the last straws for me. And yes, Uncle frickin Cracker belongs nowhere near this list.

  6. I like Willie’s “Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground”. I also like Raul Malo’ take on it from his “You’re Only Lonely” album

  7. “Who I Am” is a great song, but maybe a little too high.
    I’m not a big Willie Nelson fan, but this song is Too Low

  8. Ernest and Willie are too low. Most the rest I don’t care about enough to really think about it. By the way, am I the only person in the world who cringes at nearly every Tim McGraw song?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.