Special Report

50 Greatest Country Music Stars of All Time

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Martina McBride

Country-pop singer Martina McBride has sold more than 14 million albums, earning her some of the top honors in country music. She’s won the Country Music Association’s “Female Vocalist of the Year” award four times (tied with Reba McEntire for the third-most wins) and the Academy of Country Music’s “Top Female Vocalist” award three times.

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Reba McEntire

Like Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire has achieved fame in both music and acting. She’s sold more 75 million albums worldwide, but in the 1990s she branched into the movies, television, and Broadway. She appeared in the film “Tremors” in 1990, starred in “Annie Get Your Gun” on Broadway in 2001, and had her own television show, “Reba,” from 2001-07.

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Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw’s first big album, “Not a Moment Too Soon,” was 1994’s top country album. Winner of three Grammys, he has sold more than 80 million records around the globe, making him one of the best-selling singers of all time. Like several country music stars, Tim McGraw has crossed over into acting, with prominent roles in “The Blind Side” and “Friday Night Lights.” He is married to fellow country star Faith Hill, and the couple has three daughters. McGraw’s father was the late major league baseball star Tug McGraw.

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Roger Miller

Known more for his novelty songs, “King of the Road,” “Dang Me,” and “England Swings,” Roger Miller also wrote notable songs for other people, including “Billy Bayou” for Jim Reeves and “Invitation to the Blues” for Ray Price. Miller performed and wrote the songs for the 1973 Disney film, “Robin Hood,” and the music and lyrics for the Broadway musical “Big River, in which he also acted. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame three years after his death in 1992.

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Willie Nelson

Musician, singer, songwriter, and activist, Willie Nelson still performs at age 88. He pioneered the “outlaw” style of country music which rebelled against the strict conventions of Nashville. Earlier in his career, his songs were made famous by other artists, mostly notably “Crazy” by Patsy Cline. On his own, he achieved stardom with his standards, “On the Road Again,” “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain,” and “To All the Girls I Love Before.” He has won 13 Grammys and countless American Music Awards and CMA Awards.