The Strangest Choices On Rolling Stone's '200 Greatest Country Songs' List

May 30, 2024 - News

Last week, Rolling Stone published its list of the 200 Greatest Country Songs of All Time. What’s most remarkable about it is just how pleasing it is, how it pays homage to icons of the genre, and that, overall, it’s pretty difficult to argue with the artists and songs on there.

Once the list hits the Top 100, it really hits its stride.

For example, we couldn’t argue with some of these choices: Carrie Underwood’s classic Before He Cheats at #67, Eric Church’s Springsteen at #58, Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison Blues at #54, Hank WilliamsLost Highway at #43, the reappearance of Cash with Ring Of Fire at #25, Kenny RogersThe Gambler at #21, or the third and final Johnny Cash song, I Walk The Line, at #2.

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Other parts of the list will please: Fast Car, rightly attributed to Tracy Chapman, sits at #113. Rolling Stone didn’t forget that Taylor Swift used to be country (her song Tim McGraw is at #126), and it’s good to see Elvis Presley make the cut with Blue Moon Of Kentucky at #49.

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While there’s plenty to praise about Rolling Stone’s list, there are some truly baffling decisions, beginning with Brad Paisley’s Welcome To The Future at #200. The shocks don’t stop there.

Brandi Carlile’s all-time classic, The Joke, is only at #195, Luke Combs Beer Never Broke My Heart is at #188, Keith Urban is too low at #185 with You’ll Think Of Me, Johnny and June’s Jackson is all the way down at #112, and surely, Islands In The Stream should be higher than #104?

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Those moments don’t hit as hard as The ChicksTravelin’ Soldier at #150 – a song that’s top 50 material. However, what’s most puzzling of all is the recency bias.

We love Zach Bryan at Countrytown, but Something In The Orange is barely two years old; how is that already on Rolling Stone’s list of the 200 Greatest Country Songs of All Time (at #194)? How is TEXAS HOLD ‘EM at 192? The inclusion of Lil Nas X’s country crossover with Billy Ray Cyrus, Old Town Road (#138) and Kacey MusgravesFollow Your Arrow (#36), might draw some controversy, as will entering the top 30 with Shania Twain’s Man! I Feel A Woman and Taylor Swift’s Mean at #20.

By the end, though, Rolling Stone couldn’t get it more right by having Dolly Parton’s Jolene crowned the #1 Greatest Country Song of All Time. Coat Of Many Colors got to #46. Can’t argue against that.

You can read through the list in its entirety here.

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