Most Popular Country Songs of All Time

February 13, 2019 by Steven M. Peters

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While country music may not please every music listener’s taste, the genre often produces songs that slip into the mainstream and become exceedingly popular. These songs may find wide appeal by straddling multiple genres — as many modern “pop country” songs do — or they may simply exhibit such excellence that the general public can’t help but sit up and listen.

24/7 Wall St. has identified the most popular country music songs of all time based on performance on the Billboard Hot 100. While there are charts that strictly rank country music alone, these are the songs that have performed the best amongst all popular music.

Having crossover appeal is one of the most efficient ways for a country song to perform well on the popular music charts. “Meant to Be,” the recent collaborative single by country duo Florida Georgia Line and pop singer Bebe Rexha, has proved this by spending 52 weeks on the Hot 100. While the song has been a huge success in the country world — it ranked No. 1 on the year-end Hot Country chart for all of 2018 — its nontraditional sound attracted millions of listeners who propelled it up the pop music charts.

Embracing a more “pop” sound is not the only way for a country artist to find mainstream success. Carrie Underwood rose to national fame after winning season 4 of “American Idol.” This recognition has boosted songs such as the 2005 single “Before He Cheats,” which spent 64 weeks on the Hot 100.

Click here to see the most popular country songs of all time.

To determine the most popular country songs of all time, 24/7 Wall St. identified songs that had appeared on both Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and Hot 100 chart — which ranks popularity across all genres — at any time going back to both charts’ beginnings in 1958. We then created a points system based on these songs’ Hot 100 performance: points were awarded for each week the song spent on the chart and points were awarded also based on the rank the song reached. The more points a song received overall, the more popular it was considered.

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25. “Honey, I’m Good.”
> Artist: Andy Grammer
> Year song peaked: 2015
> Peak position on Hot 100: 9
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 31

Singer Andy Grammer scored a major hit with his infectious foot-stomping anthem “Honey, I’m Good.” in 2015. Grammer collaborated with country music group Eli Young Band to ensure that the tune had enough twang to appeal to country as well as pop crowds.

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24. “Landslide”
> Artist: Dixie Chicks
> Year song peaked: 2003
> Peak position on Hot 100: 7
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 29

Written by Stevie Nicks of Fleetwood Mac and first released on that group’s eponymous 1975 album, “Landslide” was re-recorded by the Dixie Chicks for their 2002 album “Home.” Their version made both the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 charts and reached No. 2 in the Hot Country Songs rankings.

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23. “The Climb”
> Artist: Miley Cyrus
> Year song peaked: 2009
> Peak position on Hot 100: 4
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 28

From 2006 through 2011, before she became known for nude music videos and on-screen twerking, Miley Cyrus – daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus (“Achy Breaky Heart”) – starred in a Disney Channel show about a teenage pop star, “Hannah Montana.” She performed this song in a 2009 movie spinoff of the show.

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22. “Our Song”
> Artist: Taylor Swift
> Year song peaked: 2007
> Peak position on Hot 100: 16
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 36

Although her sound has evolved dramatically over the years, Taylor Swift’s “Our Song” from her debut album is a reminder that the superstar was once undoubtedly a country singer. Complete with a fiddle and banjo, the single’s performance on the pop charts was a clear hint at Swift’s then upcoming rise to fame.

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21. “Last Date”
> Artist: Floyd Cramer
> Year song peaked: 1960
> Peak position on Hot 100: 2
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 20

Arkansas-born Floyd Cramer became among the most prominent piano players on Nashville recordings from the early 1960s until his death in 1997. Inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame, Cramer recorded this original tune in 1960. It reached No. 2 in the Top 10, to be dethroned after four weeks by Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight” – on which Cramer had played piano.

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20. “The First Cut Is The Deepest”
> Artist: Sheryl Crow
> Year song peaked: 2004
> Peak position on Hot 100: 14
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 36

This ballad was written by English folk-pop singer Cat Stevens and recorded by him in 1967. Of the more than 50 cover versions released subsequently, the most famous was Rod Stewart’s 1976 interpretation. That is, until one-time Stewart backup singer Sheryl Crow recorded this country-accented version in 2003.

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19. “Picture”
> Artist: Kid Rock Featuring Sheryl Crow
> Year song peaked: 2003
> Peak position on Hot 100: 4
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 34

Kid Rock – born Robert James Ritchie – recorded heavy metal and underground rap before turning toward his rock-edged brand of country. This song, co-written by Rock and Crow, was originally released as a duet by the two singers. Then, due to contract issues between their respective record labels, Rock re-recorded it with alt-country singer Allison Moorer – and the song entered the Billboard Hot 100 credited to “Kid Rock featuring Allison Moorer or Sheryl Crow” because radio stations played both versions. Crow’s recording charted highest.

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18. “Wanted”
> Artist: Hunter Hayes
> Year song peaked: 2012
> Peak position on Hot 100: 16
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 46

Born into a musically inclined family in Louisiana Cajun country, Hunter Hayes released his first album at the age of nine, and by the time he was 19, he had become a star – opening for Taylor Swift and scoring a No. 1 hit on the country charts with “Wanted.” The single surged into the Billboard Hot 100, reaching No. 13.

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17. “North To Alaska”
> Artist: Johnny Horton
> Year song peaked: 1960
> Peak position on Hot 100: 4
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 23

Honky-tonk singer Johnny Horton recorded this stirring song for the soundtrack of the 1960 John Wayne starrer of the same name. Shortly after it hit the Top 10, Horton was tragically killed in a car accident driving home from a concert.

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16. “Teardrops On My Guitar”
> Artist: Taylor Swift
> Year song peaked: 2008
> Peak position on Hot 100: 13
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 48

The second single released from Swift’s self-titled 2006 debut album “Teardrops” was subsequently added to her second studio album, 2008’s “Fearless.” This iteration became Swift’s first entry onto Billboard’s Hot 100 charts, and the single was certified triple platinum.

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15. “Just A Kiss”
> Artist: Lady Antebellum
> Year song peaked: 2011
> Peak position on Hot 100: 7
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 42

The mainstream success of this ballad from country music group Lady Antebellum was undoubtedly aided by the group’s performance of the song on the reality show “American Idol.” It would reach its peak position on the Hot 100 just two weeks after.

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14. “What Hurts The Most”
> Artist: Rascal Flatts
> Year song peaked: 2006
> Peak position on Hot 100: 6
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 51

A trio whose members hail from Ohio and Kansas, Rascal Flatts has had 16 No. 1 hits on the country charts. This heartbreaker – originally written as a tribute to his deceased father by award-winning singer-songwriter Jeffrey Steele (with English songwriter Steve Robson) – is their biggest selling single on Billboard’s Hot 100.

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13. “Body Like A Back Road”
> Artist: Sam Hunt
> Year song peaked: 2017
> Peak position on Hot 100: 6
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 41

Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” was one of 2017’s biggest crossover hits. The song started climbing the pop charts as it was still ascending the country charts thanks to a major push on pop radio.

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12. “This Kiss”
> Artist: Faith Hill
> Year song peaked: 1998
> Peak position on Hot 100: 7
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 48

Faith Hill’s “This Kiss” illustrates the universal appeal of a catchy, well-written song. The track broke into the Top 10 on both the Hot 100 and U.S. Adult Contemporary charts and hit No. 1 on the Hot Country chart.

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11. “If I Die Young”
> Artist: The Band Perry
> Year song peaked: 2011
> Peak position on Hot 100: 14
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 53

After a string of country hits, The Band Perry – composed of siblings Kimberly, Reid, and Neil Perry – surprised the music world last year by turning their backs on Nashville and releasing a five-song indie rock EP. Back in their country days, though, their biggest song was this Kimberley-penned song, which not only reached No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100, but also was named Single of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2011 Country Music Awards.

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10. “You’re Still The One”
> Artist: Shania Twain
> Year song peaked: 1998
> Peak position on Hot 100: 2
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 42

Not to be confused with the 1976 Orleans song of the same name, this love song, co-written by Shania Twain, a Canadian-born country-pop star, soared up the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 1998, of which it won two – Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.

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9. “The Way You Love Me”
> Artist: Faith Hill
> Year song peaked: 2001
> Peak position on Hot 100: 6
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 56

Two years after finding huge success with “This Kiss,” Faith Hill returned with another hit in “The Way You Love Me.” In addition to reaching No. 1 on the Hot Country chart, the song spent more than one year on the Hot 100.

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8. “You Belong With Me”
> Artist: Taylor Swift
> Year song peaked: 2009
> Peak position on Hot 100: 2
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 50

Swift’s “You Belong With Me” was a major crossover hit, receiving airplay on both country and pop radio. The single is certified seven times platinum, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.

Source: Dwight McCann / Wikimedia Commons

7. “Love Story”
> Artist: Taylor Swift
> Year song peaked: 2008
> Peak position on Hot 100: 4
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 49

Released as a single the year before “You Belong With Me,” “Love Story” also was from Swift’s “Fearless” album. At the time, “Love Story” was the singer’s most successful single to reach the Hot 100.

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6. “Amazed”
> Artist: Lonestar
> Year song peaked: 2000
> Peak position on Hot 100: 1
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 55

Despite its name, this country band isn’t from Texas – they’re from Tennessee (they originally called the group Texassee). Their first hit was 1995’s “Tequila Talkin’,” but it was “Amazed,” from their 1999 album “Lonely Grill” that went on to win them their first Grammy nomination. The song soared to No. 1 on the Hot 100 the following year.

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5. “Breathe”
> Artist: Faith Hill
> Year song peaked: 2000
> Peak position on Hot 100: 2
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 53

Despite never reaching the No. 1 position on the weekly Hot 100, Faith Hill’s “Breathe” was named the No. 1 single of 2000 on Billboard’s year-end list thanks to its exceptional 53 weeks on the chart.

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4. “Before He Cheats”
> Artist: Carrie Underwood
> Year song peaked: 2007
> Peak position on Hot 100: 8
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 64

Carrie Underwood got her big break in 2005 when she won season 4 of “American Idol” singing Bonnie Raitt’s plaintive “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” She went on to win seven Grammys, including one as Best New Artist the year this up-tempo song rose into the Top 10.

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3. “Need You Now”
> Artist: Lady Antebellum
> Year song peaked: 2010
> Peak position on Hot 100: 2
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 60

In addition to spending five weeks in the top spot on the Hot Country charts, Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” lasted 60 weeks on the Hot 100 charts, peaking at No. 2. The song’s popularity was bolstered after the band performed it at the 53rd Grammy Awards. The song also won the Grammy for Song of the Year.

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2. “Meant To Be”
> Artist: Bebe Rexha & Florida Georgia Line
> Year song peaked: 2018
> Peak position on Hot 100: 2
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 52

This unusual collaboration between Albanian-American pop star Bebe Rexha – who has written for such artists as Eminem, Rihanna, David Guetta, and Nicki Minaj and had hits herself on both the pop and rap charts – and the country duo Florida Georgia Line made it almost to the top of the Billboard Hot 100. It was also the No. 1 song on the 2018 year-end Hot Country Songs chart and was still No. 3 on that chart as of the second week in February.

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1. “How Do I Live”
> Artist: LeAnn Rimes
> Year song peaked: 1997
> Peak position on Hot 100: 2
> Total weeks on Hot 100: 69

Written for the 1997 Nicolas Cage movie “Con Air,” this ballad was recorded by LeAnn Rimes, 15-years-old at the time. She shot a video for the song and planned to release it as a single. For whatever reasons, the producers of the film changed their minds about using the Rimes version and got Trisha Yearwood to record a version instead. This led to an awkward situation when both versions were nominated for a Grammy for Best Country Female Vocal Performance — an unprecedented situation for the music awards. Neither singer won (the award went to Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One;” see above) – but the Rimes original went on to the upper echelons of the Hot 100.