The Top 5 Country Music Classics of All Time

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


A comprehensive list of the top 5 country music classics of all time.


Country music is one of the most popular genres of music in the United States, and has been for many years. There are many different sub-genres of country music, but the classics are the ones that have stood the test of time. Here are five of the greatest country music classics of all time.

1) “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash
2) “Copperhead Road” by Steve Earle
3) “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band
4) “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash
5) “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash

“I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston

One of the most classic love songs of all time, “I Will Always Love You” was originally written and recorded by country artist Dolly Parton in 1974. Whitney Houston’s version, recorded in 1992, became one of the best-selling singles of all time and helped propel the soundtrack of her film The Bodyguard to superstardom. The song won Whitney Houston numerous awards, including Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female.

“Stand by Me” by Ben E. King

“Stand by Me” is a song originally performed by Ben E. King and written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. The song was released in 1961 as a single from the album Don’t Play That Song!. The song has been covered by many artists and has become a country music standard. “Stand by Me” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

The song is built on an arrangement by Stoller featuring a simple piano accompaniment, embellished with string and horn sections, over which King sings in a soulful style. According to King, Leiber and Stoller wrote the song in about ten minutes at New York’s Atlantic Records studio. In an interview with Songfacts, King said that he was inspired to write the lyrics after hearing the stories of people who were searching for their lost loved ones after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.

The sentiment of the lyrics has resonated with many people over the years, including country music fans. In 2004, CMT named “Stand by Me” one of the top 100 country music songs of all time. In 2008, the Country Music Association included the song in their list of the 100 greatest songs in country music history. And in 2011, Rolling Stone ranked “Stand by Me” number 25 on their list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

“Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers

One of the most popular, and well-known, country songs of all time is “Unchained Melody.” The song was originally written for the 1955 film “Unchained,” but it was The Righteous Brothers’ cover version that propelled it to stardom. The Beatles also recorded a version of the song, which was included on the 1966 album “Rubber Soul.” “Unchained Melody” has been covered by numerous artists over the years, including LeAnn Rimes, who took the song to the top of the country charts in 1996.

“Don’t Close Your Eyes” by Keith Whitley

Keith Whitley’s “Don’t Close Your Eyes” is a sentimental ballad that has been covered by numerous artists over the years. The song was originally released in 1988 and spent two weeks at the top of the Billboard country charts.

The lyrics tell the story of a man who is begging his love not to fall asleep because he wants to spend every moment with her. The message is clear – even though time may pass, his love for her will never die.

The song has been covered by many artists, including Blake Shelton, who recorded a duet with Wife Miranda Lambert.

“I Swear” by John Michael Montgomery

“I Swear” is a song written by Frank J. Myers and Gary Baker, and recorded by American country music artist John Michael Montgomery. It was released in May 1994 as the lead single from his album Kickin’ It Up. The song reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart that September, becoming Montgomery’s third No. 1 hit and his first since “Life’s a Dance” in 1992. Internationally, the song peaked at number 7 on the Canadian RPM Country Tracks chart in 1994.


After much discussion and deliberation, we have come to our final decision for the top 5 country music classics of all time. In 5th place is “The Dance” by Garth Brooks. In 4th place is “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston. Coming in 3rd place is “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. In 2nd place is “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. And the number one country music classic of all time is “Tennessee Waltz” by Patti Page.

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