Special Report

50 Greatest Country Music Stars of All Time

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Glen Campbell

The original Rhinestone Cowboy, Glen Campbell crossed over to mainstream success with his music and acting (he had a supporting role in 1969’s “True Grit” with John Wayne). He sold more than 45 million records worldwide, including 12 gold albums. Campbell succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease in 2017.

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

Johnny Cash

“The Man in Black” is firmly cemented as a legend of country music. Johnny Cash rose to prominence in the 1950s, with hits “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” and “Ring of Fire.” His 1968 album “Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison,” recorded live in front of inmates at that institution, went triple Platinum.

Although he battled addiction most of his life, Cash performed, wrote, and even did some acting. In 2005, his life was the backdrop for a movie, “Walk the Line,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon.

The Charlie Daniels Band

Charlie Daniels passed away last year, but his unique blend of Southern rock, country, and bluegrass lives on in his band. His signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” earned him a Grammy in 1979. Daniels performed well into his 80s, performing his final concert four months before his death in March 2020.

Source: Michael Buckner/AMA / Getty Images

The Chicks

Multi-instrumentalist sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Strayer founded The Chicks in 1989, later bringing in lead singer Natalie Maines. Originally known as the Dixie Chicks, the group dropped Dixie because of its racist connotations. The group has earned 13 Grammy awards, including one for the group’s 2007 album, “Taking the Long Way.”

Source: Christopher Polk / Getty Images

Eric Church

Eric Church’s first album, “Sinners Like Me,” saw three singles climb the Billboard country charts — “How ‘Bout You,” “Two Pink Lines,” and “Guys Like Me.” Church and his wife are also philanthropists. Their organization, the Chief Cares Fund, has donated to underprivileged families in Tennessee, North Carolina, and overseas in Nepal and Haiti.

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