Special Report

50 Greatest Country Music Stars of All Time

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Conway Twitty

Throughout his career, Conway Twitty straddled the musical genres of country, R&B, pop, and rock ‘n’ roll, signified by his membership in both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. His duets with fellow legend Loretta Lynn earned him several Country Music Association awards in the 1970s.

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Kitty Wells

Barrier-breaker Kitty Wells was one of the first female artists to achieve success in country music. In 1952, she recorded his signature song, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,” launching her as one of the industry’s superstars. Her influence can be heard in many of today’s female country singers.

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Keith Whitley

Keith Whitley’s career was brief — died at age 34 in 1989 — and he recorded only two albums. Yet he charted 12 singles on the Billboard country charts, including “Miami, My Amy,” “I’m No Stranger to the Rain,” and “When You Say Nothing at All.”

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Don Williams

Don Williams launched his solo career in 1971, finding hits with such ballads as “I Wouldn’t Want to Live if You Didn’t Love Me” and “We Should be Together.” A 2020 inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame, this deep-voiced singer had 17 No.1 country hits. Outside of his music, he worked with Burt Reynolds in the movie “W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings.”

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Hank Williams

Hank Williams was only 30 years old and at the height of his popularity when he died in 1953, robbing country music of one of its legends. Among his classic hits are “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” and “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” In 2010, Williams was awarded a Pulitzer Prize posthumously for his songwriting that transformed “country music into a major cultural force in American life.”