100 Best Country Songs of All-Time: Part Two (79–60)

Let’s dive right back in.

79.) “I Just Got Back From Hell”
Artist: Gary Allan
Writers: Gary Allan and Harley Allen

Tough All Over is one of the greatest country albums ever recorded, and “I Just Got Back From Hell” is a direct look at where Gary Allan was in his life after his wife ended her own life.

78.) “Me and Paul”
Artist: Willie Nelson
Writer: Willie Nelson

“Me and Paul” was a look at where the outlaw movement was headed. It’s another brilliant Willie recording about life on the road.

77.) “Still Doin’ Time”
Artist: George Jones
Writer: Michael P. Heeney and John Moffatt

It’s still utterly amazing to me that George was able to record and release material like this while his personal life was in such turmoil.

76.) “The Cowboy Rides Away”
Artist: George Strait
Writers: Sonny Throckmorton and Casey Kelley

If I was introducing someone to George Strait, I’d play “The Cowboy Rides Away.” Western and traditional but with just enough of a modern twist. George built a legendary career thanks to material like this.

75.) “Mountain Music”
Artist: Alabama
Writer: Randy Owen

Alabama are one of the most influential bands in country music history. “Mountain Music” is the band at its absolute best.

74.) “Best of All Possible Worlds”
Artist: Kris Kristofferson
Writer: Kris Kristofferson

Kristofferson is the greatest songwriter in music history, bar none. He was highly influential in changing the trajectory of country music in the 70s thanks to songs like “Best of All Possible Worlds,” which was something completely different than what the industry was accustomed to.

73.) “Gone Country”
Artist: Alan Jackson
Writer: Bob McDill

Country music was all the rage in the 1990s, with people embracing the genre despite vastly different backgrounds. It’s a brilliant commentary on both making home for listeners and performers of all backgrounds but also a slight protest at the shifting winds of the genre that would be more evident over the coming years.

72.) “The Last Letter”
Artist: Waylon Jennings (Live recording off Waylon Live)
Writer: Rex Griffin

“The Last Letter” became something of a country standard in the middle of the 20th Century. It’s a painful song to begin with, but Ralph Mooney’s steel guitar solo on the live recording takes “The Last Letter” to new levels of anguish.

71.) “So You Don’t Have to Love Me Anymore”
Artist: Alan Jackson
Writer: Jay Knowles and Adam Wright

It says a lot about the Country Music Hall of Famer that he’s still recording phenomenal material over twenty years into his legendary career.

70.) “I Will Always Love You”
Artist: Dolly Parton
Writer: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is a country music treasure.

69.) “I Still Miss Someone”
Artist: Johnny Cash
Writer: Johnny Cash and Roy Cash

“I Still Miss Someone” is such a lonesome, haunting lament. It’s drenched in heartbreak.

68.) “East Bound and Down”
Artist: Jerry Reed
Writers: Jerry Reed and Dick Feller

Truck driving songs are an essential part of the culture and history of country music. And there’s none better than Country Music Hall of Famer Jerry Reed’s “East Bound and Down.”

67.) “Moanin’ the Blues”
Artist: Hank Williams
Writer: Hank Williams

Hank’s recordings defy description or words. Just put on any of his songs, and you’ll be left in awe.

66.) “Hello Walls”
Artist: Faron Young
Writer: Willie Nelson

A young Willie Nelson couldn’t find anyone to record this strange, quirky song. He offered to sell Faron Young the publishing rights, but Faron generously gave Willie a loan and promised to record the song. He did, and Willie’s career was kick-started.

65.) “Guitar Man”
Artist: Kip Moore
Writers: Kip Moore, Dan Couch, and Westin Davis

Kip has an uncanny knack of making scenes and characters come alive in just a few minutes of a song. “Guitar Man” details the life of a struggling musician who isn’t going to give up his dream.

64.) “Rose Colored Glasses”
Artist: John Conlee
Writers: John Conlee and George Baber

By the late 1970s, country music was at a crossroads. Waylon and Willie were finding themselves burned out from the outlaw movement, country pop was dominating the radio, and Urban Cowboy was right around the corner. But there were still artists like John Conlee recording solid country gold that lives on today.

63.) “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”
Artist: Alan Jackson
Writer: Alan Jackson

This is a true, unforgettable moment in the annals of country music history. Alan managed to sum up how everyone in the country was feeling after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

62.) “Take Me Home, Country Roads”
Artist: John Denver
Writers: Bill Danoff, Taffy Nivert, and John Denver

A true country classic that even fans of the genre are usually familiar with. “Take Me Home, Country Roads” can vividly bring back memories.

61.) “Guitar Town”
Artist: Steve Earle
Writer: Steve Earle

Steve Earle is an incredibly underrated figure in the history of not only country music, but music as a whole. “Guitar Town” signaled the beginning of a truly troubadour-like career.

60.) “Lucille”
Artist: Kenny Rogers
Writers: Roger Bowling and Hal Bynum

“Lucille” is an incredible story song. Not only is the chorus one of the most instantly-catchy in country music, the last few verses of the song provide a fantastic ending to the tale.

Next Time: 59–40