Me and my Guitar
Country music is one of the more popular musical genres in North America. It originated from the Southern part of the United States, and has roots in folk, blues and gospel. Since it was first developed, country music has seen the rise of many great artists, and has contributed thousands of hit songs to the world. From Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, to the popular country music artists today, the country music genre continues to travel on a colorful musical expedition. For this very reason, we are counting down the top ten country music artists of all time.
1) More Valuable than Money: The Music of Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash is the most popular country music artist of all time. Born February 26, 1932, he sold over 90 million albums in his lifetime. On top of his massive worldwide album sales,
Johnny Cash in 1969
he won dozens of awards during his illustrious career. He was known for his deep voice, as well as the "freight train" sound of his backing band, known as the Tennessee Three. The way he moved on stage was also one thing people loved about Cash. His choice of clothing, which was usually dark colors, earned him the nickname "The Man in Black." For his music, Cash chose moral tribulation, sorrow, and redemption as his main themes. Several of his signature songs are the following: I Walk the Line, Ring of Fire, Folsom Prison Blues, Man in Black, and Cocaine Blues.
2) Honky Tonky with Hank Williams
Born Hiram King Williams on September 17, 1923, Hank Williams was a multi-talented American guitarist, singer, and songwriter who has made many top hits during his short musical career. With all his contribution to country music, he was hailed as an icon of country music, as well as rock and roll. He introduced the honky-tonk style of singing, for which his charismatic performances were known. He released a collection of blues, rock, pop, and gospel country songs. His short career, after his death at the age of twenty-nine, helped make him a legend.
3) Blues Meets Electric, Haggard Style
Merle Ronald Haggard, born on April 6, 1937, ranks as the third most influential American country music singer and songwriter.
Merle Ronald Haggard
He first came into the business during the 1960s, after coming out of prison. Haggard was among the early innovators of the Bakersfield sound, which he did with his hard electric guitar riffs. In short, he successfully introduced electric sound to country music. He was part of the outlaw country movement of the 1970s, and he has released many successful albums up until the 1990s and 2000s.
4) Patsy Cline: The First Lady of Country Music
Patsy Cline, born Virginia Patterson Hensley on September 8, 1932, was one of the most influential female country music artists. She introduced pop music to country, particularly to the Nashville sound during the early 1960s.
She died in a plane crash at the young age of 30, when she was at the height of her career. Best known for her rich melodic tones and emotionally expressive voice, she became a role model for many younger artists of her time and also those after her. She has won countless awards, and has continued to sell millions of albums even after her death. Because of this, Cline was given an iconic status, similar to other country music legends. She was the first female country music artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Among her more popular hits are Walkin’ After Midnight, Crazy, I Fall to Pieces, She’s Got You, and Sweet Dreams.
5) Jimmie Rodgers: The Father of Country Music
Jimmie Rodgers, born on September 8, 1897, was known as The Singing Brakeman, as well as America’s Blue Yodeler.
First country music Superstar
He was the first American country music superstar, earning him the nickname “The Father of Country Music.” Jimmie Rodgers was the first of three country music artists to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame when it was established in 1961. In 1970, he was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame; in 1997, he was recognized as an early influence, for which he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. One of his more famous tracks is the Blue Yodel No. 9.
6) Bill Monroe: The Father of Bluegrass Music
William Smith Monroe
Born William Smith Monroe on September 13, 1911, Bill Monroe was the first American musician to introduce and develop the musical style known as bluegrass. The style’s name came from the name of his band, the "Blue Grass Boys." For more than 60 years, Monroe was a successful singer, composer, instrumentalist, and bandleader. Commonly referred to as the Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1970. He was also inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971; in 1997, he was recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an early influence to rock music. His most popular song, "Blue Moon of Kentucky," has been covered by different artists from the bluegrass and rock and roll genres.
7) The Carter Family: Music Runs in the Blood
Alvin Sara and Maybelle
The Carter Family was one of the more influential musical groups between the late 1920s and the early 1940s. With their distinctive style, The Carter Family had a profound impact on country and bluegrass music, as well as southern gospel, pop, rock, and even folk music. The original members of the Carter Family were Alvin Pleasant "A.P." Delaney Carter, Sara Dougherty Carter (A.P.’s wife), and Maybelle Addington Carter, A.P.’s sister-in-law, who later married A.P.’s brother, Ezra “Eck” Carter. The musical style of The Carter Family was largely derived from the influences of mountain gospel music.
8) Willie Nelson: The Red Headed Stranger
Willie Nelson, born Willie Hugh Nelson on April 30, 1933 in Abbott, Texas, was one of the most beloved and notorious country music singers in the world. He became popular during the "outlaw country" movement during the 1970s. For all his contributions, he still remains one of the icons of country music, particularly in American popular culture. He still tours to perform live and record music, as well as for the advocacy of cannabis or marijuana. Willie Nelson has received countless awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1998. Today, he continues to be one of the more active country music performers from the early era.
9) ‘Waymore’ with Waylon Jennings
Waylon Arnold Jennings, born on June 15, 1937, was one of the most respected and influential American country music artists. He taught himself how to play the guitar, for which he rose to popularity as a bass guitar player for Buddy Holly.
Waylon Jennings and his wife
He became one of the “outlaw country” music artists, together with other country music artists such as Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. He has released a series of duet albums with Willie Nelson during the late 1970s. In 1978, he released the hit song Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys. In 1998, he released his last solo album; in 2001, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
10) George Jones: The No Show Possum
George Jones performing
George Glenn Jones, born on September 12, 1931, was known for his distinctive voice and musical themes that evoke raw emotions, especially those caused by unhappy love, grief, and emotional hardships. As of November 2005, he has released more songs than any singer on the country charts, with 167. With all his contributions to country music, Jones has frequently been referred to as one of the greatest living country singers of all time.
As country music continues to be one of the most popular musical genres, the list of the best artists is sure to get longer. For now, we hail these ten artists for their contributions to the genre.
Some of us can’t live without the guitar driven melodies of these country legends. But for those of us who live the rules of the streets and move to the sound of the beat, there are the Top Ten Hip Hop Artists of All Time.