Top 200 Country & Western Songs

 
Hank Williams #46 Country & Western Artist 1944-1988

Hank Williams #46 Country & Western Artist 1944-1988

If you are a fan of Country music like I am, maybe you would like to know which country music songs were the most popular. With so many great artists over the years, which song was the most popular and who had the most #1 songs would be something I would like to know. This is where the top 200 Country & Western songs can help.

I was intrigued by this and decided to do some research to find out. I decided to cover the period from 1944 through 2012 for the most popular Country & Western songs for all-time. With more than thousands of songs being released, a decision had to be made on how to rank these songs.

Was there a source that can be used to determine the best country music songs? Yes there was. It was Joel Whitburn’s “Hot Country Songs 1944-2012” book. This will be our resource to determine the top 200 Country & Western songs for this era.

Background of Country Music

Here is some background of country music before it became a music format that Billboard would eventually chart. During the period of 1944-2012, the following occurred:

  • Over 20,000 record titles charted
  • Close to 2,600 artists have charted singles
  • There were 1,690 records that peaked at the #1 position
  • 49 artists have charted 50 or more singles on the country charts
The Judds #128 Country & Western Artist 1944-1988

The Judds #128 Country & Western Artist 1944-1988

It all started in 1922, a radio station WSB in Atlanta was broadcasting a Barn Dance program, and local talent was heard on WBAP in Fort Worth. Also, at the same time, a radio station WLS in Chicago, began carrying the songs and storytelling of Bradley Kincaid, “The Original Authentic Folksong Singer.” Then, on April 19, 1924, the station began broadcasting the Chicago Barn Dance. This promoted such names as Gene Autry, Homer & Jethro, and Red Foley to a wide national audience.

Carried on the NBC network, the Barn Dance regularly achieved high Crossley ratings (an early forerunner of the Nielsen system), and those ratings were only taken in large cities. “Country” music had found a place in the urban centers.

After a year with the WLS program, George Hay moved to Nashville and started a rival Barn Dance show on WSM. At first strictly a local broadcast, the WSM Bran Dance usually followed a network program of grand opera and classics. The conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra declared: “While we do not believe there is a place in the classics for realism, this work so depicts the onrush of the locomotive that I have decided to include it in the program of grand opera.” From then on it was the The Grand Ole Opry, and it became the most popular and longest-lived of all the country shows.

Gene Autry Country & Western Artist #101 of Top 200

Gene Autry Country & Western Artist #101 of Top 200

During the twenties and thirties there were beginning substantial sales of records with this new format and could not be ignored. A search of backwoods for artists to put on their special “hillbilly” or “folk and western” record lines was in earnest. During the 30’s, the singing cowboy was rising and stars in the movies such as Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry added an additional ingredient to country music.

Billboard magazine began in earnest in 1944 to chart this popular music format. Beginning on January 8, 1944, they published their first chart of “folk” music and the rest is history.

Ranking Of The Songs

Now we have to establish how the songs will be ranked from 1-100. The ranking of the songs will be determined by the following criteria:

  • Highest peak position.
  • Total # of weeks at peak position.
  • Total weeks in the Top 10.
  • Total weeks in the Top 40.
  • Total weeks charted.

Interesting Facts

  • Every song on this list had to peak at #1, and stay at number 1 for a minimum of 3 weeks.
  • To make the top 10, each song had to spend 17 weeks at #1.
  • To make the top 40, each song had to spend 11 weeks at #1.
  • Three songs tied for spending the most weeks at #1 with 21.
  • The song “Bouquet Of Roses#6, by Eddy Arnold, was on the country charts for 54 weeks or over one full year. This is the only charted single to do this in history on the Country Charts.
  • The years of 1985 and 1986 tied for the most #1 singles with 51.
  • The year of 1960 had the fewest #1 songs with 4.
  • Eddy Arnold is the #1 artist for this period with 145 charted singles.

With this background and using our criteria above, we can safely compile a list of the most popular Country & Western songs for the years 1944-1988.

The listing will include the following: title, artist, year released and total weeks at #1 ().

So, let’s start and see which C&W songs were the most popular during this period.

Top 200 Country & Western Songs 1944-2012
Rank Title Artist P. Weeks Top 10 Top 40 Charted Year
1 I’m Moving On Hank Snow 21 44 44 44 1950
2 I’ll Hold you In My Heart Eddy Arnold 21 41 46 46 1947
3 In The Jailhouse Now Webb Pierce 21 34 37 37 1955
4 Crazy Arms Ray Price 20 41 45 45 1956
5 I Don’t Hurt Anymore Hank Snow 20 40 41 41 1954
6 Bouquet Of Roses Eddy Arnold 19 53 54 54 1948
7 Walk On By leroy Van Dyke 19 30 37 37 1961
8 Slowly Webb Pierce 17 32 36 36 1954
9 Slipping Around Marget Whiting & Jimmy Wakely 17 27 28 28 1949
10 Heartbreak Hotel Elvis Presley 17 26 27 27 1956
11 Lovesick Blues Hank Williams 16 40 42 42 1949
12 Guitar Polka Al Dexter 16 29 29 29 1946
13 Love’s Gonna Live Here Buck Owens 16 24 30 30 1963
14 New Spanish Two Step Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys 16 23 23 23 1946
15 Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigerette) Tex Williams 16 23 23 23 1947
16 Slow Poke Pee Wee King 15 31 31 31 1951
17 The Wild Side Of Life Hank Thompson 15 30 30 30 1952
18 Please Help Me, I’m Falling Hank Locklin 14 30 36 36 1960
19 He’ll Have To Go Jim Reeves 14 29 34 34 1960
20 Jambalaya Hank Williams 14 29 29 29 1952
21 The Shot Gun Boogie “Tennessee” Ernie Ford 14 25 25 25 1951
22 Divorce Me C.O.D. Merle Travis 14 23 23 23 1946
23 So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed Merle Travis 14 22 22 22 1947
24 So Long, Pal Al Dexter 13 30 30 30 1944
25 Love, Love, Love Webb Pierce 13 28 32 32 1955
26 Singing The Blues Marty Robbins 13 28 30 30 1956
27 Smoke On The Water Red Foley 13 27 27 27 1944
28 City Lights Ray Price 13 25 34 34 1958
29 Alone With You Faron Young 13 20 29 29 1958
30 Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy Red Foley 13 20 20 20 1950
31 Kaw-Liga Hank Williams 13 19 19 19 1953
32 I Don’t Care Webb Pierce 12 28 32 32 1955
33 Always Late (With Your Kisses) Lefty Frizzell 12 28 28 28 1951
34 There Stands The Glass Webb Pierce 12 27 27 27 1953
35 Alabam Cowboy Copas 12 26 34 34 1960
36 Don’t Rob Another Man’s Castle Eddy Arnold 12 26 31 31 1949
37 One Has My Name Jimmy Wakely 11 31 32 32 1948
38 I Want To Be With You Always Lefty Frizzell 11 27 27 27 1951
39 Wanna Play House With You Eddy Arnold 11 24 24 24 1951
40 There’s Been A Change In Me Eddy Arnold 11 23 23 23 1951
41 Don’t Let Me Cross Over Carl Butler & Pearl 11 22 24 24 1962
42 You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often Tex Ritter 11 20 20 20 1945
43 Wings Of A Dove Ferlin Husky 10 30 36 36 1960
44 More And More Webb Pierce 10 27 29 29 1954
45 Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog Elvis Presley 10 25 25 28 1956
46 Why Don’t You Love Me Hank Williams 10 25 25 25 1950
47 Gone Ferlin Husky 10 21 27 27 1957
48 Ballad Of A Teenage Queen Johnny Cash 10 19 23 23 1958
49 Sixteen Tons “Tennessee” Ernie Ford 10 18 21 22 1955
50 The Battle Of New Orleans Johnny Horton 10 18 21 21 1959
51 Don’t Worry Marty Robbins 10 18 19 19 1961
52 The Three Bells The Browns 10 17 19 19 1959
53 We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together Taylor Swift 10 15 22 22 2012
54 Anytime Eddy Arnold 9 37 39 39 1948
55 Shame On You Spade Cooley 9 31 31 31 1945
56 Mexican Joe Jim Reeves 9 26 26 26 1953
57 Wolverton Mountain Claude King 9 21 26 26 1962
58 Young Love Sonny James 9 20 24 24 1957
59 Hello Walls Faron Young 9 18 23 23 1961
60 Almost Persuaded David Houston 9 13 24 24 1968
61 Let Old Mother Nature Have Her Way Carl Smith 8 33 33 33 1952
62 Just A Little Lovin’ Eddy Arnold 8 27 32 32 1948
63 Rhumba Boogie Hank Snow 8 27 27 27 1951
64 Oh Lonesome Me Don Dibson 8 26 34 34 1958
65 Hey Joe! Carl Smith 8 26 26 26 1953
66 I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know The Davis Sisters 8 26 26 27 1953
67 Four Walls Jim Reeves 8 25 26 26 1957
68 Hey, Good Lookin’ Hank Williams 8 25 25 25 1951
69 Don’t Just Stand There Carl Smith 8 24 24 24 1952
70 At Mail Call Today Gene Autry 8 22 22 22 1945
71 It’s Been So Long Webb Pierce 8 22 22 23 1953
72 Amazed Lonestar 8 21 37 41 1999
73 Long Gone Lonesome Blues Hank Williams 8 21 21 21 1950
74 Guess Things Happen That Way Johnny Cash 8 18 24 24 1958
75 Wake Up Little Susie The Everly Brothers 8 22 22 22 1957
76 Once A Day Connie Smith 8 22 27 27 1964
77 It’s Five O’Clock somewhere Alan Jackson & Jimmy Buffett 8 17 27 27 2003
78 Devil Woman Marty Robbins 8 16 21 21 1962
79 Loose Talk Carl Smith 7 30 32 32 1955
80 Tender Years George Jones 7 28 32 32 1961
81 My Heart Skips A Beat Buck Owens 7 22 26 26 1964
82 El Paso Marty Robbins 7 20 23 26 1959
83 Mama Sang A Song Bill Anderson 7 21 27 27 1962
84 Bye Bye Love The Everly Brothers 7 21 26 26 1957
85 I’m Losing My Mind Over You Al Dexter 7 21 21 21 1945
86 Still Bill Anderson 7 20 27 27 1963
87 Ring Of Fire Johnny Cash 7 19 26 26 1963
88 I Guess I’m Crazy Jim Reeves 7 18 24 26 1964
89 Live Like You Were Dying Tim McGraw 7 18 21 21 2004
90 The Good Stuff Kenny Chesney 7 17 29 31 2002
91 There Goes My Everything Jack Greene 7 15 21 23 1966
92 There Goes My Life Kenny Chesney 7 14 19 20 2003
93 Waitin’ In your Welfare Line Buck Owens 7 13 18 19 1966
94 Have You Forgotten? Darryl Worley 7 12 19 20 2003
95 I Walk The Line Johnny Cash 6 37 43 43 1956
96 A Dear John Letter Jean Shepard & Ferlin Huskey 6 23 23 23 1953
97 Your Cheatin’ Heart Hank Williams 6 23 23 23 1953
98 Somebody Like You Keith Urban 6 20 40 41 2002
99 I’m Wastin’ My Tears On You Tex Ritter 6 20 20 20 1944
100 19 Somethin’ Mark Wills 6 19 33 34 2003
101 She Thinks I Still Care George Jones 6 19 23 23 1962
102 Oklahoma Hills Jack Guthrie 6 19 19 19 1945
103 I Don’t Care Buck Owens 6 18 27 27 1964
104 As Good As I Once Was Toby Keith 6 18 22 22 2005
105 It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels Kitty Wells 6 18 18 18 1952
106 Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You Brooks & Dunn 6 17 28 28 2001
107 Understand Your Man Johnny Cash 6 17 22 22 1964
108 Beer For My Horses Toby Keith w/ Willie Nelson 6 15 27 39 2003
109 I’m Already There Lonestar 6 15 25 26 2001
110 Jesus, Take The Wheel Carrie Underwood 6 15 23 23 2006
111 Dang Me Roger Miller 6 15 22 25 1964
112 Giddyup Go Red Sovine 6 15 21 22 1966
113 Don’t Take Your Guns To Town Johnny Cash 6 15 20 21 1959
114 Before You Go Buck Owens 6 15 20 20 1965
115 Straighten Up And Fly Right The King Cole Trio 6 15 15 15 1944
116 Think Of Me Buck Owens 6 13 20 21 1966
117 My Hang-Up Is You Freddie Hart 6 12 18 19 1972
118 I Want To Go With You Eddy Arnold 6 12 17 19 1966
119 Daddy Sang Bass Johnny Cash 6 11 19 20 1969
120 Luckenbach, Texas Waylon Jennings 6 10 14 18 1977
121 Bird Dog The Everly Brothers 6 9 12 13 1958
122 Convoy C.W. McCall 6 8 13 15 1975
123 It’s A Sin Eddy Arnold 5 38 38 38 1947
124 I Forgot To Remember To Forget Elvis Presley 5 30 39 39 1955
125 I Love You So Much It Hurts Jimmy Wakely 5 26 28 28 1949
126 There You Go Johnny Cash 5 25 28 28 1957
127 White Lightning George Jones 5 20 22 22 1959
128 Billy Bayou Jim Reeves 5 19 23 25 1959
129 A White Sport Coat Marty Robbins 5 18 20 22 1957
130 How Do You Like Me Now?! Toby Keith 5 17 41 42 2000
131 Something Like That Tim McGraw 5 17 25 39 1999
132 North To Alaska Johnny Horton 5 17 22 22 1961
133 Before He Cheats Carrie Underwood 5 16 24 46 2006
134 I Love You Martina McBride 5 16 24 33 1999
135 Need You Now Lady Antebellum 5 16 22 23 2009
136 Good Morning Beautiful Steve Holy 5 15 36 41 2002
137 My Next Thirty Years Tim McGraw 5 15 28 46 2000
138 I Love This Bar Toby Keith 5 15 24 24 2003
139 She’s Got You Patsy Cline 5 15 19 19 1962
140 I Hope You Dance Lee Ann Womack 5 14 29 32 2000
141 My List Toby Keith 5 14 26 31 2002
142 I Wanna Talk About Me Toby Keith 5 14 26 28 2001
143 Austin Blake Shelton 5 14 25 27 2001
144 Bless The Broken Road Rascal Flatts 5 14 25 26 2005
145 Please Remember Me Tim McGraw 5 14 19 24 1999
146 Making Memories Of Us Keith Urban 5 13 19 23 2005
147 Summertime Kenny Chesney 5 13 18 23 2006
148 Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’ Charley Pride 5 13 18 19 1971
149 All The Time Jack Greene 5 13 17 20 1967
150 Waterloo Stonewall Jackson 5 13 17 19 1959
151 Where Were You (When The World Stopped Turning) Alan Jackson 5 13 16 20 2001
152 Never Wanted Nothing More Kenny Chesney 5 13 15 20 2007
153 Wine, Women And Song Al Dexter 5 13 13 13 1946
154 King Of The Road Roger Miller 5 12 20 20 1965
155 I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail Buck Owens 5 12 19 20 1965
156 Rose Garden Lynn Anderson 5 12 19 20 1970
157 When The Sun Goes Down Kenny Chesney & Uncle Kracker 5 12 18 22 2004
158 Redneck Woman Gretchen Wilson 5 12 17 22 2004
159 Love Gets Me Everytime Shania Twain 5 11 16 20 1997
160 Skip A Rope Henson Cargill 5 11 16 19 1968
161 I’ve Come To Expect It From You George Strait 5 11 15 20 1990
162 I Like It, I Love It Tim McGraw 5 11 14 20 1995
163 Pistol Packin’ Mama Bing Crosby & Andrews Sisters 5 11 11 11 1944
164 Achy Breaky Heart Billy Ray Cyrus 5 10 15 20 1992
165 One Night At A Time George Strait 5 10 14 20 1997
166 Here You Come Again Dolly Parton 5 10 14 19 1977
167 It’s The Little Things Sonny James 5 10 14 18 1967
168 When You’re Hot, You’re Hot Jerry Reed 5 10 13 15 1971
169 Is you Is Or Is you Aint Louis Jordan 5 9 9 9 1944
170 A Boy Named Sue Johnny Cash 5 8 12 14 1969
171 Fraulein Bobby Helms 4 46 52 52 1957
172 I’ll Sail My Ship Alone Moon Mullican 4 36 36 36 1950
173 A Satisfied Mind Porter Wagoner 4 33 33 33 1955
174 My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You Ray Price 4 32 37 37 1957
175 Soldier’s Last Letter Ernest Tubb 4 29 29 29 1944
176 Wondering Webb Pierce 4 27 27 27 1952
177 Country Girl Faron Young 4 26 32 32 1959
178 Why Baby Why Red Sovine & Webb Pierce 4 25 25 25 1956
179 My Special Angel Bobby Helms 4 24 26 26 1957
180 No Help Wanted The Carlisles 4 24 24 24 1953
181 Sioux City Sue Dick Thomas 4 23 23 23 1945
182 Back Street Affair Webb Pierce 4 23 23 23 1952
183 I’m Throwing Rice Eddy Arnold 4 21 22 22 1949
184 Act Naturally Buck Owens 4 19 28 28 1963
185 The Way You Love Me Faith Hill 4 19 27 38 2000
186 Abilene George Hamilton IV 4 19 24 24 1963
187 A Story Of My Life Marty Robbins 4 19 22 23 1958
188 Write This Down George Strait 4 18 29 37 1999
189 What About Now Lonestar 4 18 28 36 2000
190 That’s What I Love About Sunday Craig Morgan 4 18 26 36 2005
191 A Full Time Job Eddy Arnold 4 18 18 18 1952
192 If You’re Going Through Hell Rodney Atkins 4 16 29 43 2006
193 Where The Green Grass Grows Tim McGraw 4 16 27 32 1998
194 You’re The Only World I Know Sonny James 4 16 25 25 1965
195 Heartbreak USA Kitty Wells 4 16 23 23 1961
196 Why Don’t We Just Dance Josh Turner 4 15 27 32 2010
197 Drive Alan Jackson 4 15 23 31 2002
198 Saginaw Michigan Lefty Frizzell 4 15 22 26 1964
199 Birmingham Bounce Red Foley 4 15 15 15 1950
200 Lonesome 7-7203 Hawkshaw Hawkins 4 14 19 25 1963

Excerpts for this article were taken from my published article in Squidoo.com/top100cwhits.

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 Posted by at 11:09 pm