Tuesday, December 31, 1996

Ace Collins: Top 100+ Country Songs

Ace Collins:

Top 100+ Country Songs

As Collins explains in the introduction of his book, The Stories Behind Country Music’s All-Time Greatest 100 Songs, “these are not necessarily the best one hundred or the one hundred records with the highest sales…What we have tried to do is look at the history of country music and choose the songs which were the most important.” The songs are not ranked, but listed chronologically. Also, instead of identifying specific recordings, the songs are identified with the writers. I’ve also made some minor corrections where all the writers weren’t credited and the song’s date was listed as later than its original publishing date.

Finally, this list actually includes 104 songs. “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes,” “The Great Speckled Bird,” “The Wild Side of Life,” and “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” were also listed as one entry. Also, “Blue Christmas” is listed as a “holiday bonus” track. I’ve reworked the list so that these titles are where they belong chronologically.

Click here to see other lists from critics and individuals and here to see other lists from publications and/or organizations

1. J.A. Roff, adapted by A.P. Carter “Wabash Cannonball” (1882)
2. Wallace Saunders “Casey Jones” (1910)
3. Guy Massey “The Prisoner’s Song” (1925)
4. A.P. Carter “Wildwood Flower” (1928)
5. Jimmie Rodgers “Blue Yodel #1 (T for Texas)” (1928)
6. Jimmie Rodgers “In the Jailhouse Now” (1928)
7. Irving Mills and Cliff Friend “Lovesick Blues” (1928)
8. Guy Massey, adapted by A.P. Carter “I’m Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes” (1929)
9. Bob Nolan “Tumbling Tumbleweeds” (1934)
10. Gene Autry and Jimmy Long “That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine” (1935)

11. A.P. Carter (adapted by), Ada Habersoln, Charles Gabriel “Can the Circle Be Unbroken (By and By)” (1935)
12. Ervin T. Rouse “Orange Blossom Special” (1936)
13. Adapted by Reverend Guy Smith “The Great Speckled Bird” (1938) 14. Bob Wills “San Antonio Rose” (1938)
15. Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell, based on a song by Paul Rice “You Are My Sunshine” (1940)
16. Ernest Tubb “Walking the Floor Over You” (1941)
17. Ted Daffan “Born to Lose” (1943)
18. Zeke Clements and Earl Nunn “Smoke on the Water” (1944)
19. Spade Cooley “Shame on You” (1946)
20. Merle Travis “Sixteen Tons” (1946)

21. Steve Nelson and Bob Hilliard “Bouquet of Roses” (1948)
22. Hal Blair, Eddie Dean, and Darest Dean “One Has My Name, the Other Has My Heart” (1948)
23. Pee Wee King and Redd Stewart “Tennessee Waltz” (1948)
24. Hank Williams “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” (1949)
25. Floyd Tillman “Slipping Around” (1949)
26. George Morgan “Candy Kisses” (1949)
27. Bob Wills and John Wills “Faded Love” (1950)
28. Hank Snow “I’m Movin’ On” (1950)
29. Lefty Frizzell and Jim Beck “If You’ve Got the Money, I’ve Got the Time” (1950)
30. Jay Johnson and Billy Hayes “I’ll Have a Blue Christmas Without You” (1950)

31. Hank Williams “Cold, Cold Heart” (1951)
32. Ned Washington and Dimitri Tiomkin “High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darlin’)” (1952)
33. Arlie Carter and William Warren “The Wild Side of Life” (1952)
34. J.D. “Jay” Miller “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” (1952)
35. Hank Williams “Your Cheatin’ Heart” (1953)
36. Audrey Grisham, Mary Jean Schurz, and Russ Hall “There Stands the Glass” (1953)
37. Don Robertson and Jack Rollins “I Don’t Hurt Anymore” (1954)
38. Jimmy Work “Making Believe” (1955)
39. Red Hayes and Jack Rhodes “Satisfied Mind” (1955)
40. Stan Kester “I Forgot to Remember to Forget” (1955)

41. Melvin Endlsey “Singing the Blues” (1956)
42. Don Gibson “Sweet Dreams” (1956)
43. Johnny Cash “Folsom Prison Blues” (1956)
44. Ralph Mooney and Charles Seals “Crazy Arms” (1956)
45. Carole Joyner and Rick Cartey “Young Love” (1956)
46. Boudleaux Bryant and Felice Bryant “Bye Bye Love” (1957)
47. Otis Blackwell “Great Balls of Fire” (1957)
48. Harlan Howard “Pick Me Up on Your Way Down” (1958)
49. Bill Anderson “City Lights” (1958)
50. Harland Howard “Heartaches by the Number” (1959)

51. Jimmy Driftwood “The Battle of New Orleans” (1959)
52. Marty Robbins “El Paso” (1959)
53. Willie Nelson, Walt Breeland, and Paul Buskirk “The Night Life” (1959)
54. Joe Allison and Audrey Allison “He’ll Have to Go” (1960)
55. Don Robertson and Hal Blair “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” (1960)
56. Bill Anderson “Tips of My Fingers” (1960)
57. Don Gibson “I’d Be a Legend in My Time” (1960)
58. Harland Howard and Hank Cochran “I Fall to Pieces” (1961)
59. Kendall Hayes and Gary Walker “Walk on By” (1961)
60. Floyd Cramer, Boudleaux Bryant, and Skeeter Davis “Last Date” (1961)

61. Willie Nelson “Hello Walls” (1961)
62. Mel Tillis “Heart Over Mind” (1961)
63. Merle Kilgore and Claude King “Wolverton Mountain” (1962)
64. Willie Nelson “Crazy” (1962)
65. Hank Cochran “She’s Got You” (1962)
66. Penny Jay “Don’t Let Me Cross Over” (1962)
67. Earl Greene and Carl Montgomery “Six Days on the Road” (1963)
68. Danny Dill and Mel Tillis “Detroit City” (1963)
69. Johnny Russell and Vonei Morrison “Act Naturally” (1963)
70. Buck Owens “Together Again” (1964)

71. Bill Anderson “Once a Day” (1964)
72. Roger Miller “King of the Road” (1965)
73. Dallas Frazier “There Goes My Everything” (1965)
74. Hank Cochran “Don’t Touch Me” (1966)
75. Lewis DeWitt “Flowers on the Wall” (1966)
76. Loretta Lynn “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man” (1966)
77. Merle Haggard “Mama Tried” (1968)
78. Tammy Wynette and Billy Sherrill “Stand by Your Man” (1968)
79. Merle Haggard “Okie from Muskogee” (1969)
80. Jan Crutchfield “Statue of a Fool” (1969)

81. Joe South “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” (1970)
82. Conway Twitty “Hello Darlin’” (1970)
83. Kris Kristofferson “Help Me Make It Through the Night” (1971)
84. Ben Peters “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” (1971)
85. Tom T. Hall “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” (1971)
86. Alex Harvey and Larry Collins “Delta Dawn” (1972)
87. Joe Allen “The Midnight Oil” (1973)
88. Dolly Parton “I Will Always Love You” (1974)
89. Paul Fraser and Terry Stafford “Amarillo by Morning” (1974)
90. Vivian Keith and Ben Peters “Before the Next Teardrop Falls” (1975)

91. Ed Bruce and Patsy Bruce “Mammas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” (1978)
92. Charlie Daniels, Tom Crain, Taz Digregorio, Fred Edwards, Charlie Hayward, and Jim Marshall “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (1979)
93. Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (1980)
94. Bob Morrison, Wanda Mallette, and Patti Ryan “Looking for Love” (1980)
95. Randy Owen “Tennessee River” (1980)
96. Kenny O’Dell “Mama He’s Crazy” (1984)
97. Bill Monroe “Uncle Pen” (1984)
98. Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz “Forever and Ever, Amen” (1987)
99. Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz “When You Say Nothing at All” (1988)
100. Hank Williams, Jr. “Are You Ready for Some Football?” (1989)

101. Vince Gill and Tim DuBois “When I Call Your Name” (1990)
102. DeWayne Blackwell and Earl “Bud” Lee “Friends in Low Places” (1990)
103. Alan Jackson, Roger Murra, and Keith Stegall “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” (1991)
104. Susan Longrace and Rick Giles “Is There Life Out There” (1992)

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First posted 8/25/2022; last updated 8/26/2022.

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