A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #410-#401

This time last year, we were still in the 700s.  Which means that we might still be doing this in 2022.  Lord help us.



George Jones, “Love Bug”

#6 | 1965

ZK: It might have the world all “shook up” at one point, but nearly 60 years later? Well, it’s fine, but hardly one of Jones’ best or top 500 worthy, for that matter. 

KJC: An adorable ditty that I dare say George Strait improved upon thirty years later.   Why on earth is it all the way up here, though?  Too High

JK: I do like this one, but there’s absolutely no way it should be knocking on the door of the genre’s 400 best singles. Too High



Kenny Chesney, “Come Over”

#1 | 2012

KJC:  I got dragged for my four word review of this single eight years ago.  I still don’t think it’s worth any more of my effort to write about, and its ranking on this list is ludicrous. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Chesney at his most banal, which is really saying something, given his catalogue. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: Kenny Chesney just doesn’t ooze sex appeal. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)



Merle Haggard, “The Bottle Let Me Down”

#3 | 1966

JK: I swear to God, there are two Jana Kramer songs ahead of this. Too Low

ZK: Another winner in the Haggard department. As one of his signature tunes, though, it should be much higher. Too Low 

KJC:  I realize that the list is pretty good with its recognition of Merle Haggard, but it’s still a miss to have this particular record ranked in the four hundreds.  Too Low



Alison Krauss & Union Station, “When You Say Nothing at All”

#3 | 1995

ZK: Krauss’ tender demeanor is just perfect for this. I’m so happy they included it. About Right

KJC:  Kudos to RCA for getting country radio to play this, which remains the only solo hit from Alison Krauss, with or without Union Station.  Am I allowed to say it’s better than the Keith Whitley original, or should I just stick to dissing the Ronan Keating cover?  Too Low

JK: Pretty sure we’re the only people in the US who remember that Keating cover, Kevin. I agree that, blasphemous as it may sound to some, Krauss improved on Whitley’s already-brilliant original. I’d have both ranked on this list, with this placement for AKUS being a bit Too Low.



Blake Shelton, “Ol’ Red”

#14 | 2002

KJC:  A great story song with an even better video.  But the only dog song I’d put this high is Pirate of the Mississippi’s “Feed Jake.”  Too High

JK: What Kevin said, especially about “Feed Jake.” So Wrong (This Song)

ZK: You know that old cliché: play a country song backwards and you’ll get your lover back, your truck back, and your dog will help you break out of prison because it’s a horny little thing. A wonderful story song, really. I’m serious. It’s only a bit Too High.



Buck Owens, “Love’s Gonna Live Here”

#1 | 1963

JK: Perhaps a controversial statement: Owens should have as many entries on this list as Merle Haggard or George Strait. That a single this iconic is maybe his fifth-or-sixth best is a testament to the unprecedented depth of his catalogue, and this placement is appalling. Too Goddamn Low

ZK: I agree with Kevin’s assessment below. It’s a better song to view in hindsight than to hold as one of Buck Owens’ absolute best, but because of its historical influence, I’d say it’s About Right.

KJC: If you’re having trouble fathoming how this track spent sixteen weeks at #1, go back to the other songs it shared the chart with and note how clean the sound is here.  The Bakersfield Sound personified.  About Right



Carrie Underwood, “Before He Cheats”

#1 | 2006

ZK: I like some of Carrie Underwood’s big, bombastic moments. “Blown Away” works because of the simmering rage an abused child finally lets out to fantastic degrees. This is just overblown for the sake of, especially when there’s never any actual evidence of infidelity. So Wrong (This Song)

KJC:  This is a fantastic single that still has an impact fourteen years later.  Bonus points for Carrie scoring a crossover hit without bothering to remix the record. That this isn’t her highest ranking entry (and that her flaccid duet with Brad Paisley is) makes me want to dig my key into the side of a Sirius programmer’s four wheel drive.  Too Low

JK: We’ve already seen the only other Underwood single I think truly belongs on this list. “Before He Cheats” is a triumph of production more than anything. The song has always been a problem, allegedly about revenge against a cheating man but spending an awful lot of time slut-shaming other women who aren’t established as knowing the dude’s a letch. No surprise there that it was originally pitched to Gretchen Wilson. Too High



Kenny Rogers, “You Decorated My Life”

#1 | 1979

KJC:  They went a little overboard with the Kenny Rogers love songs in the upper half of this list.  I like this song, but it’s way Too High

JK: I’ll go to bat for Kenny Rogers when the time is right, like defending the biscuits at Kenny Rogers’ Roasters or “Lucille,” but this is not the time. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: And continuing on with overblown moments that don’t belong this high … So Wrong (This Song)



Dolly Parton, “Here You Come Again”

#1 | 1977

JK: If you’re going to lean into pop-country, you’d better know how to construct a pop song. That Dolly knows exactly how to do that should surprise no one. Overranked in her catalogue here, but in an absolute sense, this is About Right.

ZK: It’s known as the divisive crossover hit that split her between country and pop, when the real discussion point should have been how she was great enough to transcend either genre … at least for a little while. This selection’s placement is fine; “Jolene” is still far too low. About Right 

KJC:  Parton’s insistence that there be a steel guitar bridge, just so she could point to it when detractors said the record wasn’t country, is what ultimately makes “Here You Come Again” a perfect slice of country pop.  A classic.  About Right



Thomas Rhett, “Get Me Some of That”

#4 | 2013

ZK: Proof that you can, in fact, judge some books by their covers … and titles. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  If chlamydia could sing, it would sound like this.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Tricksy False Hobbit’s attempts at dancing in his live performances of this are the most embarrassing thing in all of country music in the last 10 years. That the song is just utter trash is incidental to Rhett’s utter lack of any discernible talent. There is not one thing he does competently. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

Previous: #420-#411 | Next:  #400-#391



  1. Another not very good selection of songs.

    As much as I love George Jones, “Love Bug” is maybe the 100th best song he ever recorded and does not belong on the top 1000 list

    “When You say Nothing At All” is a great song – I would have Alison’s version somewhere around #200, and Keith’s version at maybe 175

    “Love’s Gonna Live Here” is a little too low but I cannot really complain about this placement. What I can complain about is that there are many too few Buck Owens entries on this list

    I am not a big fan of Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again” – it surely belongs on this list but it is about 500 places too high – ditto for the Kenny Rogers entry.

    Hag’s “The Bottle Let Me Down” isn’t one of his very best songs, but it is still a couple of hundred slots too low.

    I do not have any strong feelings about the remaining songs songs one way or the other. I found the diversity of opinion on “Before He Cheats” interesting. The song always struck me as a little paranoid. I largely agree with Zackary’s comments on the song but Jonathan’s placement

  2. Re. “Here You Come Again”: It is indeed the one that made Dolly a household name well beyond Nashville from this point forward, and it is a well-constructed case of pop and country co-mingling. I would point out, however, that it was the great husband/wife songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, the same couple responsible for “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” (The Righteous Brothers) and “Somewhere Out There” (Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram) who wrote it.

    Re. “The Bottle Let Me Down”: One of those records that defined Mr. Haggard and the Bakersfield Sound of that era. Strangely, for all the talk about him being a hippie basher (talk largely based only on “Okie From Muskogee” and “The Fightin’ Side Of Me”), he didn’t seem to mind that a lot of those “longhairs” covered “Bottle” and many others of that kind in his catalog.

  3. The Alison Krauss, Buck Owens, George Jones, Kenny Rogers, and Dolly Parton songs are my favorites here.

    I love “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” and while it may not be Buck’s most essential song, it’s still a fine example of the Bakersfield sound as any of his other big hits. I completely agree with Jonathan that he deserves to be represented here as much as Strait and Haggard. I absolutely love the sound that he and the Buckaroos had going throughout the late 50’s and first half of the 60’s.

    Speaking of 60’s country, I also love much of what George Jones put out in that decade, as well as the 50’s. “Love Bug” is such a fun little ditty, but even I must agree that it shouldn’t be quite this high up the list. Always did like George Strait’s cover, as well, and I actually always thought there was a bit more of a Buck Owens influence in his performance than George Jones.

    “When You Say Nothing At All” is just a great song, period, and a fine example of the many quality songs Paul Overstreet was churning out during the second half of the 80’s and early 90’s. As much as I really like Alison Krauss’s version, though, I have to agree with Paul that I would personally still rank Keith Whitley’s version higher, simply because it’s the version I fell in love with first, and I just love how Keith sings it. Other versions I enjoy are by Paul Overstreet, in which there are several videos on Youtube of him performing it, as well as former Nashville Star contestant John Arthur Martinez, who recorded a great bilingual version of it on the first Nashville Star compilation cd.

    On the other side of the coin, “Here You Come Again,” and “You Decorated My Life,” are examples of that smooth, late 70’s pop country style that I also enjoy. Even though she surely got some accusations of selling out during that time, I really like a lot of Dolly’s contemporary country from the late 70’s and early 80’s and I think she pulled off that style just as well as her traditional country stuff. Agree that “Jolene” should still be higher, though. As for Kenny Rogers, many of his love ballads from the same time period are definitely guilty pleasures for me, “YDML” being one of them. He was certainly an example of pop country done with class. Not sure I’d have it this high, though.

    While “The Bottle Let Me Down” is not one of my top favorite Haggard songs, it’s still no doubt a classic and deserves to be higher than this (are you actually serious on the Jana Kramer thing?!). I do really like George Jones’ cover of it on his Walls Can Fall, album, though.

    “Ol Red” is one of Blake’s better songs from the pre Voice era, but I much prefer George Jones’ earlier version of it on his overlooked You Oughta Be Here With Me album. He sings it with much more personality, imo. BTW, totally agree with you guys on “Feed Jake.” Talk about another great early 90’s song that brings back some great childhood memories….

    Ahh, the good ol’ days when Thomas Rhett was doing bro-country instead of metro-bro/boyfriend country….NOT! Just what the heck is “Get Me Some Of That” doing here and ahead of the rest of these songs, no less?

    I’m seriously surprised that they even remembered “Come Over,” let alone bother to put it this high on the list.

  4. “If chlamydia could sing it would sound like this”

    That might be the best takedown of a song I have ever seen and I’ve seen a fair amount of good ones

  5. I agree with many of the reviewers here, esp on the Kenny and Blacke songs. As far as AKUS song goes, I just cannot judge it fairly either way. I grew up on the Keith Whitley version (Literally, as i was born in 1974) and nothing else sounds really “right.” Sorry Allison.

  6. There are a lot of great, slow ballads from the perspective of the cheated-on woman (“Jolene”; “Rumor Has It”). And sometimes you get a great, slow ballad from the perspective of the cheating woman (e.g., “Stay”; “Midnight Oil”).

    But there’s still a place for the full-throated, pissed off, burn-them-all-down song that pours rage in all directions: him, the woman he was with, his car.

    I like “You Ain’t Woman Enough”. And I like “Fist City”. And I like “Before He Cheats”, which is Too Low here.

  7. “Love’s Gonna Live Here” is my favorite Buck Owens single. I was glad to see it here.

    Thomas Rhett, really? Said it before and I’ll say it again: if it weren’t for his dad, he’d be running a cash register in Valdosta.

    “Ol’ Red” is a good song, but is “Feed Jake” anywhere on this list? If it ain’t, it oughta be.

  8. me too on “feed jake” and i only heard it for the first time a few years ago after someone on the CU staff highly recommended it. I see on wiki that the song was released in 1991.

  9. I think Red is a novelty song that fails. AK has a great remake here. Forgive me, but, ummmm, I really don’t think Keith Whitley is all that.

  10. I’ve always loved AKUS’ version of “When you Say Nothing at All,” so I’m glad to see it on the list. If we’re comparing versions, I’d say I slightly prefer Keith Whitley’s version, but it’s close.

    I agree on the “Feed Jake” discussion.

    “The Bottle Let Me Down” is much too low. I’m not surprised that “Before He Cheats” is on the list but I’ve never enjoyed it much and I wouldn’t have included it.

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