The roots of country music run deep in the soil of America. And, while the genre has changed dramatically since the days of the Carter Family, it is in many ways more popular today than ever.
During the 1980s, the country music industry began to abandon the more raw “outlaw country” sound that was made popular in the 1970s by artists such as Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson. Instead, artists such as Garth Brooks and George Strait embraced a more pop-friendly sound that resonated with traditional country fans as well as new audiences.
The demand for country music remains high, with the genre accounting for 11.5% of total album sales in 2017, according to Nielsen. This is due in large part to pop country artists’ crossover successes.
By creating an index of album sales and Billboard performance, 24/7 Wall St. has determined the 100 most popular country albums of all time.