Special Report

Country Musicians With the Most Hits

Source: David Redfern / Getty Images

17. Mel Tillis
> Total songs on Hot Country Songs chart: 68
> Longest-charting hit: Sawmill (17 weeks)

Mel Tillis was one of country’s most engaging personalities, a performer who used his speech impediment as part of his act and referencing it in his autobiography “Stutterin’ Boy.” The Tampa, Florida, native gained songwriting success in the 1950s, authoring the country chart-topper “Honky Tonk Song” for Webb Pierce. Tillis had six No. 1 songs, including “Southern Rains,” “Good Woman Blues,” and “It Ain’t Over.” He had 36 Top 10 hits.

Source: Andrew Putler / Getty Images

16. Marty Robbins
> Total songs on Hot Country Songs chart: 70
> Longest-charting hit: El Paso (26 weeks)

Marty Robbins (born Martin David Robertson) had a string of hits beginning in the 1950s and leveraged his country music fame to star in western movies in the 1950s and 1960s. Robbins’ early life sounds like a country song about adversity. He never graduated from high school and as a youth committed petty crimes. He learned to play guitar and developed his musical reputation at clubs and bars in his native Arizona. After some chart success, the Grammy winner shot to stardom with the release of “Singing the Blues” in 1956 that was No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs chart for 13 weeks. Robbins had 11 country chart-toppers, including “El Paso,” which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960. The success of “El Paso” was bolstered by the visibility of the 1959 film “The Hanging Tree,” with Robbins singing the movie’s theme.

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

15. Kenny Rogers
> Total songs on Hot Country Songs chart: 70
> Longest-charting hit: Buy Me A Rose (33 weeks)

Kenny Rogers died on March 20 at age 81. He was one of the most prolific country singers of all time. The Houston native released 21 No. 1 songs on the Hot Country Songs chart, including duets with Dolly Parton — “Islands in the Stream” and “Real Love.” The former song and “Lady” both went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The Library of Congress added Rogers’ signature song “The Gambler” to its National Recording Registry in 2018. Other honors included three Grammys and six CMA Awards. Country music historian Bill C. Malone called Rogers the “consummate storyteller, with an intimate and compelling style that almost demands the listener’s concentration.”

Source: Terry Wyatt / Getty Images

14. Loretta Lynn
> Total songs on Hot Country Songs chart: 72
> Longest-charting hit: Before I’m Over You (25 weeks)

It’s been 60 years since Loretta Lynn — now 87 years old — released her debut single “I’m a Honky Tonk Girl.” The song peaked at No. 14 on the country music charts and paved the way for an exceptional career, which has so far seen 72 songs make the charts and 51 reach the Top 10. These songs range from boundary-pushing singles like “Rated X” and “The Pill” to Lynn’s many collaborations with Conway Twitty, including “Lead Me On,” to the beloved, autobiographical No. 1 hit “Coal Miner’s Daughter” which was buoyed by the biopic of the same name.

Source: David Redfern / Getty Images

13. Waylon Jennings
> Total songs on Hot Country Songs chart: 75
> Longest-charting hit: Suspicious Minds (19 weeks)

Waylon Jennings played bass guitar for Buddy Holly’s band the Crickets before embarking on his solo career, which eventually led to his becoming a key figure in the outlaw country movement. Over the course of his career he had 53 Top 10 hits and 15 chart-toppers. Among the Texan’s No. 1 songs are “Luckenbach, Texas,” “Just To Satisfy You” (performed with Willie Nelson), and the toe-tapping “Theme From The Dukes Of Hazzard (Good Ol’ Boys).”

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