Rolling Stone's Ridiculous Top 100 Country Songs: The Second Half
25. Johnny Paycheck, "Take This Job and Shove It": Another one of those tossups from a monster artist. Flip it over to "Colorado Kool-Aid" and I'd be just as happy. And then there's "A-11," "Someone to Give My Love to," "Pardon Me, I've Got Someone To Kill," "The Only Hell My Mama Ever Raised" and "Slide Off Your Satin Sheets." Hell, Paycheck probably should just have his own separate list.
24. Taylor Swift, "Mean": This is about as country as Mumford or Lumineers. Kiddie candy. The juxtaposition of this between Paycheck and Frizzell should be cause for a hillbilly jihad on Rolling Stone.
23. Lefty Frizzell, "If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time": Pure gold. The essence of all things country music.
22. Ernest Tubb, Walkin' the Floor Over You": More pure essence. As Texas as rattlesnakes and mesquite.
21. Carter Family, "Will the Circle Be Unbroken": Iconic, full of Appalachian purity and hard-scrabble. I'd still bet the computer said to put this one in.
20. Kenny Rogers, "The Gambler": Massive popularity, and "know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em" is one of the all-time country witticisms, but I don't think this even makes my Top 100. If I start including this, I'm opening this up for the Gatlin Brothers. Ain't gonna happen.
19. Loretta Lynn, "Don't Come Home a-Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind)": The motherlode.
18. George Strait, "All My Exes Live In Texas": I know, I know, every person who's ever been taken a two-step lesson at Broken Spoke knows this one by heart. Personally, I always thought it was trite and a bit contrived; I'll take George's Jim Lauderdale cuts over this one. "King of Broken Hearts," anyone?
17. Bob Wills, "New San Antonio Rose": Can't argue against this one, but for my money I'd pick "Faded Love," "Big Ball's in Cowtown," "The Yellow Rose of Texas" or "Deep In the Heart of Texas."
16. Glen Campbell, "Wichita Lineman": Okay, I'm one of those people who objected to calling Glen Campbell's poppy hits "country." And I'll take "By the Time I Get To Phoenix" over "Wichita Lineman" every time. (Note to Rolling Stone editors: It's Wichita, not Witchita).
Rolling Stone likes some Man In Black.
15. Kitty Wells, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels": Should be in the Bible of country music.
14. Hank Williams, "Settin' the Woods on Fire": This is ridiculous. Hank has dozens of tunes that top this one. "Kaw-Liga," anyone? "Jambalya," "Move It On Over," "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It," "You Win Again"? This is one they got very, very wrong.
13. Bill Monroe, "Blue Moon of Kentucky": Another tossup, Monroe had so many great cuts. We can live with this pick, since Elvis could too.
12. Buck Owens, "I've Got a Tiger By the Tail": Another egregious screw-up. "Under Your Spell Again," "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke," "Together Again," "Buckaroo"...
11. Stanley Brothers, "Man of Constant Sorrow": Someone saw O Brother, Where Art Thou?. Great.
10. Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, "Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys": Tragically uninformed pick. Versus either man's output, this one doesn't even belong in the Top 100.
9. Dolly Parton, "Jolene": Kind of obvious, but can't quibble about it.
8. Merle Haggard, "Mama Tried": Merle has been so prolific, picking his best is impossible. I can't quibble with this pick, either, but there are at least a dozen Merle's qualified to be near or at the top of this list. Any of his prison-related tunes -- "Lonesome Fugitive," "Branded Man," "Sing Me Back Home," and the universally revered "Today I Started Loving You Again." But there are dozens.
7. Ray Charles, "You Don't Know Me": Glad that Brother Ray is included here, but it's hard to rate these heavily orchestrated, almost jazzy pieces up against the stone-cold country of Merle, Ray Price and Willie. This one wouldn't make my list.
6. Tammy Wynette, "Stand By Your Man": I probably wouldn't rate this one this highly, but it's fine by me anyway.
5. Jimmie Rodgers, "Standing on the Corner (Blue Yodel No. 9)": I seriously doubt Rolling Stone hipsters are sitting around the Victrola listening to Jimmie Rodgers on raspy 78s. I'm glad that it's in the last and rated highly, but I'd bet the computer gets credit for this placement.
4. George Jones, "He Stopped Loving Her Today": This tune has been so overplayed, I never want to hear it again. Seriously. I'll take "Take Me" or "Things Have Gone to Pieces" or "Why, Baby Why."
3. Hank Williams, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry": -- My favorite song as a child. The hillbilly Shakespeare.
2. Patsy Cline, "Crazy": The most played jukebox song of all time. Willie, you done us proud.
1. Johnny Cash, "I Walk the Line": As I wrote in the first half of this exercise, I'd probably pick a different No. 1, but this one is hard to argue against. But for me, it is somewhere behind Hank, "Crazy," and Ray Price.
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