A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #130-#121

The list goes on for a little bitty while.


Alan Jackson, “Little Bitty”

#1 | 1996

KJC:  An adorable novelty song that isn’t anywhere near this significant in Alan Jackson’s catalog, let alone the whole damn history of country music.  Too High

JK: How do you take stock of Alan Jackson’s career and think this is in any way superior to “Drive.” How. How do you do that. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: I really like this single and love seeing Tom T. Hall get some extra love, but even as a hardcore Alan Jackson fan, I’m not sure I’d have it here at all. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)



Lynn Anderson, “Rose Garden”

#1 | 1970

JK: I beg your fucking pardon, Sirius. Too Low

ZK: Along with the sunshine, you’ve given us a crap-ton of rain, Sirius. Too Low

KJC: Again, how is this not in the top 100?  I realize we’re getting close, but still… Too Low



Darius Rucker, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About it”

#1 | 2008

ZK: Awkward title is awkward. On historical significance, I’d have it in the 900s or 800s. That’s about it, though. Too High 

KJC: I wouldn’t put four songs from Hootie & The Blowfish in the top 200 records of the nineties, and I have no earthly idea how four Darius Rucker songs are in the top 200 country records of all time.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: The absurd overranking of Darius Rucker’s middling output seems like they were overcompensating for something. Can’t imagine what. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)



Marty Robbins, “Devil Woman”

#1 | 1962

KJC:  Swap this with “My Woman, My Woman, My Wife,” which is all the way down at #622, and both entries would be about right.  As is, “Wife” is too low and this is Too High

JK: Robbins’ rankings are an utter mess. This clearly belongs on the list, but this high? Come on. Too High

ZK: See, I like seeing the unexpected Marty Robbins love on this list. I expected them to only list “El Paso” and was delightfully wrong. I’d swap this with “Big Iron” and then proceed to drop it several hundred slots back. Good, because it’s Marty freakin’ Robbins, but not No. 127 good, you know? Too High 



George Strait, “Amarillo By Morning”

#4 | 1983

JK: Strait’s finest moment on record, and easily one of the best singles of the 80s. Yes, we’re knocking on the door of the top 100, but this is still far Too Low.

ZK: It’s hard to believe that despite Strait’s many, many No. 1 hits, this top five single is the one that rings as his best and most iconic moment. That drawn-out fiddle lick is immediate, and only Strait could make a simple statement like “I ain’t rich, but Lord, I’m free” sound so delightfully joyous. Too Low

KJC:  Signature Strait.  Swap it with his highest-ranked song at #41, please.  Too Low



Craig Morgan, “That’s What I Love About Sunday”

#1 | 2004

ZK: “Almost Home.” That’s the Craig Morgan song I really wouldn’t have minded seeing here, even this high. This … is free advertising for Cracker Barrel? Too High 

KJC:  Correctly ranked in the Craig Morgan scheme of things, but that’s about it.  Too High

JK: One of the more inoffensive radio hits of its era, I’m not mad that this was included. I am mad, however, that it’s ranked ahead of things like “Mama Tried” and “Coat of Many Colors.” Too High



The Highwaymen, “Highwayman”

#1 | 1985

KJC:  The ultimate supergroup collaboration, with a reincarnation lyric that fit perfectly with the personas and styles of these four legends.   About Right  

JK: Given this list’s hard-on for Cash, I’m surprised this isn’t ranked in the top 10. An absolute classic record, ranked About Right.

ZK: It was actually the alternative remake of this via the Highwomen that made me realize this song is about reincarnation and not four separate lives throughout time, as I once thought. So … yeah, cheesy-ass ’80s production aside, it’s a classic that, yes, perhaps is too predictable on premise alone to really be anything else. But when it’s right, it’s right. About Right 



Clint Black, “Desperado”

#54 | 1993

JK: Look, I think the Eagles are horrid, but I wouldn’t have batted an eye had their recording of this song somewhere back in the 800s. But ranking Black’s competent cover this high? I hope Sirius’ feet do get cold in the wintertime. This is fucking absurd. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: Why don’t we come to our senses and see that we’ve been out riding fences and being flabbergasted by some wack-ass rankings for so long and my brain hurts and I can’t keep up with the jokes anymore and ohmyGodmakeitstopahhhhh So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: They could’ve gotten away with the Eagles version here, to be honest.  But Black would be better represented by any given single from Killin’ Time, or later hits like “We Tell Ourselves” and “Burn One Down.”  And if we’re pulling Common Thread album cuts, Trisha Yearwood’s “New Kid in Town” and John Anderson’s “Heartache Tonight” are way better than this.  So Wrong (This Song)



Floyd Cramer, “Last Date”

#11 | 1960

ZK: Well, it brought me back down to Earth after that last ranking. I didn’t really expect this, but … hey, as long as we’re here and including instrumentals, can we push this back and get “Buckaroo” up in here? Too High 

KJC: I can’t believe, for all this list’s shortcomings, that they included this classic instrumental hit.  There must have been dartboards involved in the planning sessions for this.  About Right

JK: It’s an instrumental, y’all! I wouldn’t have it ranked here, but this makes my heart happy. Too High



Rodney Atkins, “Take a Back Road”

#1 | 2011

KJC:  I love the earnestness of Rodney Atkins more than the music of Rodney Atkins.  I think this list would’ve been fine with “If You’re Going Through Hell” and “Watching You.”  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: “If You’re Going Through Hell,” alone, for me. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: I wonder if they saw this and thought, “Yep, ‘Take a Back Road.’ That sums up the 2010s fairly well. Let’s slot it here as a momento.” I’d go with Too High, but then I remember that we’re going to see Jason Aldean in the top ten, so … So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

Previous: #140-#131 | Next: #120-#111


  1. Re. “Last Date”: Somehow I don’t know how this one ranked so low when it actually charted on the C&W singles chart in the fall of 1960–#11 for the premier session pianist on Music Row, for crying out loud?! It was kept out of the #1 spot on the pop chart only by one of the folks that Floyd sessioned with: Elvis and “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

    Re. “Desperado”: I know there are people here who hate the Eagles, and that’s their business–I’m not at all one of those, and I won’t go into any arguments as to why. But not only isn’t Clint Black’s version all that great to begin with, it doesn’t even come close to Linda Ronstadt’s version. In truth, Trisha’s version of “New Kid In Town”, where she sounds like a dead ringer for Linda, is the only track on Common Threads, that approaches the original (IMHO).

    Re. “Rose Garden”: This was such a huge crossover hit too; it got up to #3 (basically within spitting distance of the penthouse) on the Hot 100 in February 1971. Lynn managed to get herself played alongside Elton John (“Your Song”) and George Harrison (“My Sweet Lord”). And this was only three years out from Music Row veterans getting into a frigging tizzy about these crossover hits.

  2. Largely agree with the panel comments other than I think “Devil Woman” is slotted about right, perhaps a little too high but not by much

  3. I like Rose Garden. I have the song by its songwriter Joe South.

    I’m not a big Strait fan but I love Amarillo by Morning. I have it by Ronnie Dunn. One of the songwriters, Elvis sound a like Terry Stafford of Suspicion fame, also recorded it.

    Re Desperado, I’d go with Ronstadt or the Eagles. Agree that of the Common Thread covers, Trisha Yearwood’s New Kid in Town is the best.

  4. I’ve always really liked that Eagles tribute album, but Anderson’s cover of “Heartache Tonight” may actually be one of my least favorite songs on it. Vince Gill’s version of “I Can’t Tell You Why” is probably my favorite song from the album.

  5. “Little Bitty and “Rose Garden” both belong but are way too high.
    “Almost Home” belongs where “Love about Sundays” actually is.
    “Take a Back Road” is way too high. it just barely belongs on the list.

  6. I was guessing top 50 slots for Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden” and George Strait’s ” Amarillo by Morning” (which I agree is his very best!). Guess I was wrong. Oh well.

  7. In general I am no fan of Eagles or their songs; however, I did like the version recorded by Johnny Rodriguez back in 1976. Johnny’s single reached #5 on both the American (Billboard / Record World) and Canadian Country Charts. It remains my favorite recording of the song and while i don’t really think it belongs in the top 500, it could easily have been slotted somewhere north of 500

  8. Argh as usual. Desperado doesn’t belong obviously and especially this high. It’s like “let’s just pick a random song and put it on the list”.

    As for Rose Garden, way too low. I’m sure others will disagree but I still say it is one of the best if not the best pop country song ever.

  9. George, Alan, The Highwaymen, and Floyd Cramer are my favorites here.

    “Amarillo By Morning” definitely belongs somewhere in the top 50, and now I’m wondering what #41 is (I haven’t peeked at any spoilers like others here have). That haunting fiddle alone make this one such a classic, and despite the early 80’s production, it still sounds great today. I remember getting it on tape when it came on the radio around late 1991, and then hearing it again in 1998 after not having heard it in a long time. That fiddle just sticks to your brain even long after hearing it, which was the case while my parents and I were watching the movie The Horse Whisperer in the theater that year.

    Despite the extremely dated 80’s production, “Highwayman” is still a pretty cool song in melody, the reincarnation theme, and the fact that it’s four of the genre’s biggest legends singing together. This one was also still a recurrent for us around late 1991, and I remember loving it again when I heard it on a compilation album in the car while we were taking one of our many trips to Pennsylvania in the late 90’s/early 00’s.

    “Last Date” has a special place for me, since it’s also one of my mom’s personal favorites. But even without that connection, it’s such a lovely piece, and I absolutely love Cramer’s piano playing. Instrumentals definitely don’t get enough love and recognition these days. Btw, Floyd’s grandson, Jason Coleman, who my mom has been following, is also quite the talented piano player himself and plays just like his granddaddy.

    “Little Bitty” has always been one of my all time favorite ditties from AJ, because it’s just so lighthearted and fun, and it bring on some serious late 90’s nostalgia. No way does it belong this high, though.

    For some reason “Desperado” is one of those songs from the Common Thread album that continued to be a steady recurrent on the radio up to the early-mid 00’s. While I actually do like this version, I agree that Clint Black is much better off being represented by his many great singles from his first few albums. As for my favorite songs off that album, besides the Trisha Yearwood cut, I also really like Travis Tritt’s “Take It Easy” (I think it’s better than the original), Alan Jackson’s “Tequila Sunrise,” “Little Texas’ “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and Tanya Tucker’s “Already Gone.”

    “That’s What I Love About Sunday” is pleasant enough I suppose, but I just never got what the big deal was about it. To be honest, the melody in the chorus got to be a bit grating to the ears for me after radio started playing it a lot. I prefer just about anything on Craig’s self-titled debut album on Atlantic over this one. I also prefer the much less known “Somethin’ Bout A Sunday” sung by Michael Peterson.

    I’ll take just about anything Darius did as Hootie over much of what he’s done in his country career. That being said, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” is one of the very few country singles of his I actually kind of liked. It still has no business being anywhere near this high though, and yes, the title is awkward as hell.

    Even the title of “Take A Backroad” is such a cliche, and it tells you just about all you need to know about the song (besides it being sung by Rodney Atkins). It also features that annoying trend in which it namedrops an artist or song that’s much better than the actual song you’re hearing. I’d much rather hear that 1982 George Strait song than this clunker anytime. Yeah, they should’ve stopped at “If You’re Going Through Hell” and “Watching You.”

  10. Rose Garden? Meh. I don’t get it. Me and Scott are apparently the only two. The Highwaymen? Put four greats together with mediocre material and it belongs in the top 100? C’mon man.

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