Post #68 is here, and #69 is on the way. (Gee, I hope it ain’t bro country again.)
Randy Travis, “I Told You So”
#1 | 1988
JK: I wouldn’t have included the Underwood duet version, which just does not work as a duet at all, and I’d have bumped this well down the list for Travis. Too High
ZK: So … they really included both the original version and Carrie Underwood remake of this song, which could have worked as a duet, had they slightly altered the framing. Which is to say I probably prefer the stripped-down original, but I wouldn’t say it’s among my favorite Travis cuts. Too High
KJC: Randy Travis has so much charisma in his voice that he can barely sing during the verses and it still sounds powerful. I like this one a lot. Too High
Chris Young, “Aw Naw”
#4 | 2013
ZK: Hot take: This is a smart take on bro-country. The poor guy here wants to just get home so he can get ready for work in the morning, when all of a sudden he stays for a few too many drinks and enjoys the moment. It happens? It’s probably best that it contains itself within the bar setting and not what happens afterwards. I just wish it hadn’t started a downward artistic slope for one of the most disappointing examples of wasted potential within country music. Too High
KJC: At least the song acknowledges adulthood, which puts it a few steps above most bro-country. But this still isn’t a particularly good song. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: I actually don’t disagree with Zack’s take here that this attempts to be a slightly smarter variant on bro-country. But it still would never occur to me to include this. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Loretta Lynn, “One’s On the Way”
#1 | 1971
KJC: Dated as the pop culture references might be, this is what a song about “Fly Over Country” should sound like. One of Loretta’s best. About Right
JK: Genre-defining in the best possible ways, Lynn wrote stories like this without ever once condescending to her audience. I’m frankly stunned that they included this one so high. About Right
ZK: Pushed the boundaries at a time when very few country artists had the guts to do so. Yes, you could say that about a number of Lynn’s hits – think about what that means for women in country music in general, though, and what it’s always meant, really. About Right
Lady A, “I Run to You”
#1 | 2009
JK: They peaked with their debut album and have descended ever further into nothing ever since. I have no idea why this was a Single Of The Year winner. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
ZK: It’s a shame; I actually thought the group’s last album was a relatively solid listen. At this point, though, I run away from them. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: This won Single of the Year somehow, so I guess it belongs on this list? At like #999? Too High
Conway Twitty, “That’s My Job”
#6 | 1987
ZK: Concession: I’ve never been a huge Twitty fan, but I agree with Kevin’s statement below. Sometimes their odd picks end up being for the better. About Right
KJC: This one’s a heartbreaker, and I’m very impressed that they included it. It would’ve been so much easier to just pick from his dozens of #1 hits. About Right
JK: I don’t remember hearing this one in ages before listening to it for this feature, and what a welcome reminder of a killer record. Love this inclusion. About Right
Tim McGraw, “I Like it, I Love it”
#1 | 1995
KJC: A great novelty song that’s still a bit Too High.
JK: Look. I get it. This was massively overplayed at the time and then has never died because it still gets played at every rural sporting and stadium event to this day. But if you’re going to include this song for that reason, then I’m going to insist that “Cotton Eyed Joe” needs to be on here, too. Too High
ZK: In a pre-Covid world, this was the song that played in between sets at concerts. A great little live cut for McGraw’s own shows, but one of his most essential cuts, let alone one of the genre’s most essential cuts? Well, I like it, but I don’t love it. Too High
Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”
#2 | 2013
JK: Among her ten best singles and thirty-best album tracks; her entries on this list are kind of a wreck, but, in the grand scheme of things, I’d say this ranking is About Right.
ZK: Never a personal favorite of mine, but a case where it’s hard not to recognize the quality, or that it makes a valid case for being one of Lambert’s signature hits. Plus, it was an early sign of Kacey Musgraves’ talent within mainstream country music. Hard not to love that. About Right
KJC: Perhaps her best single. Not only is it relentlessly entertaining, but when you compare to the Kacey Musgraves demo, you get a full sense of the scope of Lambert’s creativity as a recording artist. About Right
Hank Snow, “I’m Moving On”
#1 | 1950
ZK: That I was introduced to this by countless cover versions before I ever heard the original is a testament to its appeal. A standard that’s far Too Low.
KJC: A hundred years from now, this should still be in the top hundred. Too Low
JK: Oh, come on. Too Low
Rodney Atkins, “Farmer’s Daughter”
#5 | 2010
KJC: Cringeworthy, even by Rodney Atkins standards. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: Absolute garbage. This barely tries to hide its contempt for the country audience. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
ZK: They gonna go grab a soda-pop before the picture show, too? Man, this is corny. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Dwight Yoakam, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”
#12 | 1999
JK: I love this cover… But Dwight’s rendition of “Suspicious Minds” belongs about right here. So Wrong (This Song)
ZK: This was Yoakam’s last top 20 hit, and he deserved so much better throughout the course of his career than to go out with this … which is to say, it’s a fine cover, but I’d swap it out for one of the tracks Kevin lists below. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: I mean, I love this record. I’d even say he improved on the Queen original. But it got to the top fifteen because of an omnipresent Gap commercial. This isn’t essential Yoakam. Swap it out for “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” or “Things Change.” So Wrong (This Song)
Previous: #430-#421 | Next: #410-#401
Re. “I’m Movin’ On”: Yes, how this Hank Snow mega-classic is not in the Top 100 boggles the mind. This is easily one of the one hundred best examples of a perfect country-and-western song, and has been covered by tons of folks, country and otherwise, including the Rolling Stones and no less than Elvis. And, if I read it right, this was the longest-running #1 C&W single in history (at 22 weeks) from 1950, until the dreaded “Cruise” by bro-country chuckle nuts Florida-Georgia Line in 2013.
Re. “Aw Naw”: Well…I think the title says it all.
Re. “Mama’s Broken Heart”: It almost seems like Miranda, not only here but also on “Little Red Wagon” later on, is trying for something along the lines of what Maria McKee did back in the mid-1980s with her band Lone Justice. But to be totally honest, I’m not at all wild about her voice, which I find very abrasive and wiry.
Wow, wasn’t expecting another one of these so soon, but I’m not complaining!
For “I Told You So,” I’m definitely in agreement that the original by Randy Travis belongs here, but I would’ve left Carrie’s version off simply because I just think Randy sings it better and puts more emotion into it. Also in agreement that there’s several other Travis cuts I’d rank above this one. Still a great song, though.
Pleasantly surprised to see “That’s My Job” here, though at the same time I’m not too surprised, as it seems to be the most remembered of all the hits Conway had during the second half of the 80’s. This one still never fails to make my eyes watery, I’ll admit, and Conway, as usual, gives it an excellent performance. Speaking of his late 80’s run of hits, I actually love a lot of the songs he released in that period, such as “Goodbye Time,” “House On Old Lonesome Road,” “Julia,” “I Wish I Was Still In Your Dreams,” “Saturday Night Special,” and my biggest favorite of all, “She’s Got A Single Thing In Mind.” Basically, I love the entire Greatest Hits Volume III album, lol.
Again, “I Like It, I Love It” is not exactly one of my top favorite 90’s Tim McGraw songs, and it’s been played to death, but it’s still fun, and for me, it’s held up better than “Down On The Farm.” I really like most of the All I Want album, actually. I still think “I Didn’t Ask, And She Didn’t Say” would’ve been a great single.
“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is another one I’m pleasantly surprised to see here. Like Kevin, I actually like it more than the original (I remember that Gap commercial, too), but yes there are several other Dwight songs that should be here instead. “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” is the one I’m most disappointed in not making the list, but also thank you so much for mentioning “Things Change.” I just friggin’ love that song!
Love most anything by Hank Snow, and this standard should be WAY higher than this.
I actually thought Lady A had a solid, enjoyable adult contemporary style from from their debut up to around 2012 with only a few occasional misfires (ex: American Honey). Still, “Need You Now” is the only one I would actually consider for this list. I never minded “I Run To You,” but top 500? No way.
“Mama’s Broken Heart” is not one of my personal favorites by Miranda, either, but it’s definitely grown on me over time. It’s a pretty cool sounding track, and I guess it’s about right.
Ahh, the song that officially started Chris Young’s downhill slide finally shows itself. Zackary actually makes a pretty good point in his comment, but it’s still nowhere near worthy of being on this list, imo. I remember Chris making a comment saying that his hero, Keith Whitley, probably wouldn’t have liked “Aw Naw” if he was still alive. Sadly, it appears that Keith has been even lesser of an influence on him as time went on, judging by a lot of what he’s recorded since then.
In total agreement with you guys on “Farmer’s Daughter.” Yet another overrated Rodney Atkins song, and yes, it’s corny as heck. And seeing it right in front of Hank Snow is a slap in the face.
I loved “I Like It, I Love It” as a kid but I definitely didn’t think it aged well and has never been one of Tim’s older songs that I revisit – and I’m a big fan.
I saw him and Faith on the 2017 Soul2Soul tour and for the first few songs they sang together on each other’s songs. He did “ILI, ILI” and “It Felt Good On My Lips” and she did “The Way You Love Me” and “The Lucky One”. I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed “ILI, ILI” after not listening to it in ages. It is without a doubt much better live – maybe benefited from Faith singing along – and a huge nostalgia trip.
favorites in this group:
Conway Twitty – That’s My Job.
The song was solely written by Gary Burr about his father. I’ve heard Gary sing this song many times, at the Bluebird Cafe and on his Middleman-Burr shows currently on Facebook Sunday afternoons and Stage-It Wednesday evenings. It’s on his 1997 CD “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One …”
I lost track of Conway shortly after “It’s Only Make Believe” hit #1 on pop charts in 1958. I heard it on NYC rock stations.
“I Told You So” – Randy Travis (written solely by RT)
“Mama’s Broken Heart” – I have it by Miranda and by Brandy Clark – prefer BC’s version
I like Lady A’s “I Run to You” but I wouldn’t argue that it belongs anywhere on this list. The line “when lies become the truth” seems especially relevant for the last 4 years.
“I’m Moving On” is among my top ten personal favorites – I do not expect the folks at Sirius-XM to have it that high, but I would expect it to be in the top 100 on any rational listing of greatest country songs
I pretty much agree with the panels’ comments on these songs, although I would have “One’s On the Way” a hundred slots higher – unless you were listening to country radio in 1971, you really do not have a sense of what an electrifying song this was.
“I Told You so’ (The solo version is a little ttoo low)
“That’s My Job” should be in the top 100-150.
While I like the original version of “I Told You So” (I haven’t heard the Carrie Underwood version), I think there are better Randy Travis songs that could have been included in its place.
“That’s My Job” was an always an emotional listen, and that was before I had kids (I haven’t listened to it in a number of years).
I’ve always thought that Dwight Yoakam is one of the best at performing cover songs without simply redoing the song but putting his own mark on it (see “Locomotion,” “Suspicious Minds,” his entire “Dwight’s Used Records” album) and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” is no exception. That being said, I would have included another one of his originals in place of this song.
“Mama’s Broken Heart” is a fine song, but certainly not one of my favourite Miranda Lambert songs.
As others have noted, “I’m Moving On” and “One’s on the Way” belong much higher on the list.