Johnny Horton Tops List of Most Popular Country Songs From Past 50 Years

Brody Vercher | September 12th, 2008

  1. Matt C.
    September 12, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Billboard’s list was based on objective chart measures, right?

    Because, with a couple of notable exceptions, it looks like a playlist of the worst, least genre-relevant songs in the history of country music.

  2. northtexas
    September 12, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Interesting quotes about Carrie from the interview:

    (Country Universe)
    Obviously, country radio has changed in the last 10-15 years, and you’ve enjoyed a number of successes in the format. To which artists of this new generation do you gravitate?

    (Patty Loveless)
    (pauses) I think Carrie Underwood has an amazing voice. She can do some hard-core country. I saw her at the Opry sing a real traditional country song, and I think that’s something she can do. She did a wonderful job.

    (Country Universe)
    Back to Carrie Underwood, you’ve obviously gained the respect of the younger generation of artists, because she sent a personal message on her website that she’d be buying the record in the store even though she had the opportunity, of course, to receive an advance copy.

    (Patty Loveless)
    That’s really nice of her. She has a lot of talent. I love that experience, too. One thing I’ve always done is go out and buy my own record in the stores. Of course, I didn’t make it out on Tuesday with everything going on, but I always like to go buy the record and then maybe buy something else from some other artists I’m interested in.

  3. John Maglite
    September 12, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Wow, yeah, that Billboard list is embarrassing. Those are apparently the biggest country hits on the Hot 100 Chart (not the country chart), which explains why so few of the songs have anything to do with country music.

  4. Razor X
    September 12, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Absent from the Billboard list: Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, and Merle Haggard, just to name a few. Something is very wrong with this list. Did Vicki Lawrence’s “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” even make the country chart??

  5. Brody Vercher
    September 12, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Here’s how it was explained for the Hot 100, so I would assume it’d be similar for the country songs, too.

    The Billboard Hot 100 chart measures airplay and sales information (and more recently digital downloads) in determining the nation’s most popular songs. To determine the most popular song of the Hot 100 era, Billboard used a formula to determine the top song — not always relying on weeks at No. 1 since the data was reported differently in its early days.

    Initially, Billboard relied on stations to report the most popular songs, and got sales surveys from record stores. But Mayfield said stations often stopped reporting on a song’s popularity if it was no longer a priority for record labels. And in 1991, Billboard began relying on sales data from Nielsen SoundScan and airplay data from Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems. So Billboard weighted certain songs from different eras to make sure all songs were on an even playing field.

    “We went through each era, and we looked through the rate of turnover. The rate of turnover was very high in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and we had to put a weight on that to make the chart runs of that era equal to the chart runs that can be accomplished since 1991,” he said.

  6. Razor X
    September 12, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    In other words they have no idea what the most popular songs of the last 50 years are.

  7. Sam G.
    September 12, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    When I think of country music, Ray Stevens, Sgt. Barry Sadler and Vicki Lawrence are not three names that come immediately to mind. And apparently, Faith Hill is the most successful of the last 10-15 years.

  8. Rick
    September 12, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    The Photocrap album titles are a scream as usual. My favorites are Kristy Lee Cook and Julianne Hough. Great job Trailer……

    The article on Joey & Rory is really sweet. I guess Overstock.com wants a new image that is a little more family friendly than a pretty gal in slinky dress speaking in a breathy voice about “The Big O”. (lol)

    As for Patty Loveless, I’ve also heard Carrie Underwood sing those classic country tunes and have never been impressed. It just sounds all so fake and contrived. Kellie Pickler on the other hand can belt out country classics with the best….

  9. Jessica
    September 12, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Another piece of country news…Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Walker passed away today from colon cancer.

    From the Opry website:
    Grand Ole Opry star Charlie Walker passed away this morning in Hendersonville, Tenn. Walker, 81, had recently been diagnosed with colon cancer. He is survived by his wife Connie as well as 10 children: Ronnie, Cindy, Arthur, Charlie III, Elissa, Charlene, Catherine, Christina, Caroline, and Charlton; 15 grandchildren; 3 step-grandchildren; and 1 great-grandchild.

    “The Grand Ole Opry family will miss our friend and Opry member, Charlie Walker,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “We are truly grateful for all of the musical moments he has shared with us on the Opry stage and over the airwaves as a disc jockey. We will dedicate this weekend’s Opry shows to his memory.”

    Charlie Walker started singing as a Texas high school student, then played country music during World War II over the Armed Forces Radio Network as part of the Eighth Army Signal Corps occupation forces in Tokyo. Back stateside, Walker relocated to San Antonio in 1951 and quickly became its most popular country music announcer, soon to be recognized as one of the nation’s Top 10 country disc jockeys.

    Alongside his burgeoning radio career, Walker succeeded as a country recording artist. He achieved regional hits with “Tell Her Lies and Feed Her Candy” and his first charting song, “Only You, Only You” on the Decca label. Walker hit gold on Columbia Records in 1958 with “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down,” penned by young future Hall of Fame songwriter Harlan Howard. The song became a million-seller and a country music staple. Membership in the Grand Ole Opry followed in 1967 along with successful tours and other hits including “Who Will Buy the Wine” and “Don’t Squeeze My Sharmon.” Walker was inducted into the Country Music Disc Jockey Hall of Fame in 1981.

    Visitation and funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time.

    And the Tennessean Paper:
    http://www.tennessean.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080912/TUNEIN/80912040

  10. leeann Ward
    September 12, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    “Kellie Pickler on the other hand can belt out country classics with the best

  11. Jaime
    September 12, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Photocrap is awesome. Always a good laugh!

  12. John Maglite
    September 12, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    Leeann: I’m not sure if Rick’s kidding or not, but I did see Kellie Pickler live at a festival thing last year and her covers (“9 to 5″ and “Stand By Your Man,” as I recall) were actually very impressive.

  13. Matt C.
    September 12, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    I don’t think that Billboard’s country songs ratings were pulled from the pop charts, as Leann Rimes’ “How Do I Live” is #4 on the overall top 100 but doesn’t even make an appearance on the country list.

    Of course, the fact that one of two competiting versions of “How Do I Live” is (apparently) the fourth-most popular song of all time just shows how f’ed up these lists are. I don’t know what kind of math they used, but the result is pretty wacky.

  14. Trailer
    September 12, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for the plug (and all the kind words and hits, 9513 readers!).

  15. Rick
    September 13, 2008 at 2:03 am

    Leeann, back a year or so ago on a Tuesday night Opry a regularly scheduled artist was late so they had Kellie Pickler fill in the time by singing “Stand By Your Man” and a couple of other country classics and she blew me away. I never would have guessed from her radio singles she had it in her, but she definitely does. I think “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind” was a great single and just wish they hadn’t tarted it up with the electric guitars as they did and especially on the intro…

    Hey Everyone, Play the Ashton Shepherd Drag & Drop “Pickin’ Shed Game”! When you move the items into their proper position inside the pickin’ shed they change to solid colors (except for Ashton). Everything that can be moved must be relocated to find its rightful spot including Ashton herself. Once everything is in place the door opens up and a panel appears playing the music video for Ashton’s “Sounds So Good”.
    Link: http://www.mcanashville.com/ashtonshepherd/shed.html

  16. Jim C.
    September 13, 2008 at 8:26 am

    Hey thanks for the mention. Two days in a row! ;-)

    as far as that list goes, it was tough cos I only had 5 spots. the reality of of it is: Buy ‘em all!

    Jim, out of exclamation points

  17. Paul W Dennis
    September 13, 2008 at 8:37 am

    I’m not sure what Billboard is doing – I do know that they have re-named the Country chart a few times. About a decade ago they proclaimed Leroy Van Dyke’s “Walk On By” the number one song since they dropped the “& Western” name off the Country charts. If you go back to January 1, 1944 when Billboard first started keeping country charts the #1 record is Hank Snow’s “I’m Moving On” which spent 21 weeks at #1 in 1950.

    If I had to take a guess I would suspect they biased their data to get some more recent songs onto their list in order to seem relevent to younger readers.

  18. Paul W Dennis
    September 13, 2008 at 8:44 am

    After the ridiculous Top 100 allegedly country songs list I need to get back on track

    Charlie Walker is one of those artists for whom I’d been thinking about doing a forgotten artists article. Look for it in the next few weeks. He was a solid performer, appeared on the Opry as recently as March of this year, and according to all accounts, was a terrific person. Aside from Ray Price and Carl Smith (plus Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright from earlier), my Dad’s generation of country singers (those who could have fought in WW2, whether or not they actually did) is mostly gone. THe world is poorer for their passing.

  19. leeann Ward
    September 13, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Rick, I’d be interested to hear her sing those songs. It’s something I wouldn’t guess.

  20. Lynn
    September 13, 2008 at 11:12 am

    One would think that Leeann Rimes has been around long enough to have learned to manage her voice. (Gary Le Vox seems to have this same issue.) Most singers will tell you that this is a technical problem. Unfortunately, I went to see her in concert a few months ago and she cancelled. I was stuck with some random opener and Kenny deciding that he needed to play longer to make up for it (he forgot most of the words to his older songs.)

  21. J.R. Journey
    September 14, 2008 at 12:52 am

    I too was totally surprised by the BB 100 list. I would have thought that Reba’s recording of ‘Light Went Out In Georgia’ had more airplay than Vicki Lawrence – seriously, does anybody remember her outside of Mama’s Family? (I effin love that show btw)

  22. Patrick
    September 15, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    Jeez! “Are You Lonesome Tonight” didn’t even make the top 20 at the time of its release!

Tagged In This Article

// // // // // // // // // // // //

Current Discussion

  • bob: Enjoyed the articles on the story behind "When She Cries" and the dearth of women on Canadian Country radio. Thanks. …
  • Saving Country Music: Everything that came out in Friday's assessment of Studio 'A' by the developer was stuff we already knew. The only …
  • bob: Thanks Barry. Just reserved the Adam Gussow book. Sounds interesting.
  • Barry Mazor: It may be over-stated, in arriving at practically a single explanation of everything, but Adam Gussow's book on lynching and …
  • Leeann: Wow! Heavy topic and horrifying indeed! "Beer for My Horses" was all fun and games until that reference, I'll have …
  • Barry Mazor: Everything else aside, the way that reporter fills us in, with must-have, pointless generational snark included, about who this "Little …
  • luckyoldsun: "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia" seems to be about a lynching--even if there's something about a judge …
  • Arlene: Sorry. I meant to give the link for "Supper Time." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ58Kfe41kI
  • Arlene: Another song sung by Ethel Waters: Irving Berlin's "Supper Time"
  • bob: Powerful songs. I read the book "A Lynching in the Heartland" by James H. Madison about a dozen years ago. …

Recently Reviewed Albums

  • paulthorntooblessed
  • duhksbeyondtheblue
  • kelleymickwee
  • sandrarhodes
  • candi staton
  • sturgillsimpsonmetamodern
  • raypricebeautyis
  • rodneycrowelltarpapersky