Best Country Singers of All Time
The Top Ten
The most imposing and influential artist in the history of country music. He created his own genre, consisting of the blunt emotional honesty of folk, the rebelliousness of rock & roll, and the world-weariness of country. When it comes to country music, Johnny Cash stands alone at the very top and will remain there as long as this old world keeps on turning.
Johnny has billions of good songs and is far better than all Taylor Swifts teenage heartbreak songs about whoever she just dated.
I totally agree with the great man being selected at number one, but having said that there are a number of singers in this group of twenty that could easily tie for second and some not even mentioned such as Johnny Horton, Cowboy Jack Clement, Jim Reeves, Ferlin Husky, Bill Anderson for example. Bottom line is that it is purely personal opinion. Each and every one of all mentioned have their great talents. The sad part of country music today is that it hasn't got the heart and sole that it once had and all the greats have either just about retired or passed away. Country music just isn't true country any more. As I stated before, this is pure personal opinion.
Johnny cash is the best by far. As a musician and singer myself he is a huge influence to me and my band.V 127 Comments
NUMBER ONE. Period. The king. He IS country music. Johnny Cash is the blues. While one could make the argument that Johnny Cash is the most influential, perhaps the best artist of all time, I just can't say he is the best country artist of all time. George Strait is the standard that all true country fans hold the new generation of country musicians to. The only reason country music is so out of shape now is because of teenage girls. When someone ask what is country music, the best answer is George Strait. Besides The King, I see a lot of people on this list like George Jones and Merle Haggard and think wow that's the definition of country. I see Johnny Cash and I think, wow what a legend. Call me ignorant, but I consider him a huge influence and an important staple in the history of music, but not the definition of country. That goes to the King himself.
He is the king there will only be one george strait and no one can top his voice git-r-done george
I've been raised since I was a baby on George Strait and many other country singers. Alan Jackson, I'd have to say is my next favorite singer ever, but no one beats George Strait. No one. If someone were to ask me what I think the best George Strait song of all time is, then my answer would be either, "Amarillo By Morning", "Love Without End, Amen", "I Cross My Heart", or "Heartland (Main Tile Sequence)". Gotta' love the King of Country.
THE BEST!V 123 Comments
George Jones was the best pure singer. Every note and word felt authentic and he had a beautiful voice. His singing was as smooth as silk and his phrasing is innovative and captivating. I bet if you asked most of the singers on this list who was the best singer, they'd pick George Jones. Many of them did. Johnny Cash had a stock answer to that oft-asked question, "Who is your favorite singer? " "You mean," he teased, "apart from George Jones? " George Jones was also highly respected outside of country music. Frank Sinatra said that Jones was the second best singer in the world (Sinatra thought Tony Bennett was the best).
George Jones deserves to be at the top of this list! His voice alone deserves that. I'm sure George Strait himself would say that. In fact when George Jones inducted George Strait into the Country Music Hall of Fame he said, "George you're the king. Johnny Cash loved George as well. Also, I love George Strait, Carrying Your Love With Me, Unwound, and Write this Down are all great songs! I also really love Johnny Cash, Get Rhythm, Boy Named Sue, Big River, and I Walk the Line are all great songs! I just believe George Jones's wonderful voice deserves to be at the top of this list.
It's only fitting that the best country song in history was performed by the best true country artist of all time. George's songs have the ability to integrate into a person's soul and open his heart to all that the song conveys.
"No Show" was and is the greatest singer ever...V 79 Comments
Johnny Cash was most influential, and deserves a top spot, but I'd vote Merle as the absolute best country singer. Best voice hands-down, excellent songwriting. A master at half notes and key changes. I greatly admire Johnny Cash, George Jones and George Strait, but Merle was the best. His influence on country music (and music in general) will be reflected upon for generations..
Sorry but Taylor Swift is to Haggard what Bieber is to Sinatra, the best singer and songwriter in country (if not all American music) by a long long way. I don't even particularly like country as a genre but Merle is the complete package.
The Hag is the poet laureate of country music. His writing is superb and transports you to his world of song with each verse and chorus. An example is Silver Wings, here Hag wrote a song that has no verse. It is Chorus, Bridge, Solo, Chorus, end. Nobody can pull that off but The Hag. No writer in Nashville would dare even try that. Country music is where it is today because of the gift The Hag brings to the world.
38 number one singles compared to Johnny Cash's 13. No comparison!V 39 Comments
Waylon, the official ground break in country music. He has his own style unlike any other. More recordings and releases than anyone but George Jones, which could be the only possible singer in front of Waylon. Sure Johnny Cash was awesome, but if he hadn't recorded his last album on his death bed he would not have been as popular with the young listeners and probably deserve the 5th spot. You can't take anything away from Hank Sr. except for having passed at the tender age of 27. It is mostly young people doing these voting's and how could they understand that Taylor Swift after a few years couldn't possibly make an all time list?
Waylon was a giant among men. He changed country music (for the good) forever. He didn't fight the system for anything other than the right to play his music his way. He payed a very high price for standing up to the powers that be in Nashville. Waylon Jennings was a modern day David against Nashville playing the part of Goliath. I am certain no one else on this list sang with the passion Waylon did. His music had him and that's a quote from the man himself.
One of a kind singer who's career spans from the 58 to 01. Stood the test of time with ballads to hard core country, from a gentleman to an outlaw. Some of the best beats to even a simple strumming. Much more versatile from his voice to his instruments than Johnny Cash ever possibly could have been. George Jones probably deserves the number one spot, but Waylon has always been my favorite.
Could you imagine Waylon had played by Nashville’s rules (with an image & etiquette consultants)? Having the intellect to understand the difference between an artist and karaoke style music, Waylon refused to become another “Nashville Puppet” or “Industry Employee”. He said it best in one line “We Need A Change” in his song Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way.
Todays karaoke singers and industry employees are a dime a dozen, Thank God for Waylon!
Short career probably hurt hanks rating. Nobody can put the heart and soul into a song like Hank
Simply the best from "Nobody's lonesome for me" to "Your cheating heart".
Hank to me was the founder of country music and the roots of all honky-tonk.
Hank is my great grandfatherV 42 Comments
Here's the thing about Garth Brooks. He isn't just a one note performer like some supposed "King of Country". He has more than just the stereotypical country songs and he is more than just a stereotypical country singer. He infuses his songs with a sense of realism and truth. His performance adds another layer of authenticity that is rarely seen in country from the nineties on.
I put Garth at #1. The lyrics and music to his songs are so meaningful. Nothing beats If Tomorrow Never Comes and the Dance. Most of today's performers sound alike and look alike with no "heart" in their songs.
This man has such a big impact on my life, he seems to write songs that everyone could relate to and many sings could ever do that. His songs get to me even the odd time a shead a tear listening to some of his songs they just mean so much to me. Hands down the best country singer that has ever walked the face of this earth. Its great to see to that he is coming back to Ireland!
The very best of his time.V 43 Comments
Gotta admire a guy who has been one of the top country artists for over forty years in a musical career that began over a half century ago, and to top it off, like myself, he is a connoisseur of the finest herb.
His might not be the most conventionally beautiful nor does it have the most polished but his voice is the greatest in music. It is raw and it is natural. George jOnes said that he tried to bring forth memories that made him feel the way his narrator felt, Willie doesn't have this technique but he has the same finished product, a voice that portrays all the emotion his song has to convey. Add that to some of the most perfect lyrics in music (I'm looking at you, you were always on my mind) and there is no beating it.
This guy goes beyond incredible. His 1978 album Stardust, where he did updated versions of classic songs from the thirties and forties is the best concept album I've ever heard. When you look up musical genius in the dictionary, Willie's picture should be beside it. This is a very intelligent top ten, everyone absolutely deserves to be there. Could've used a woman, though, perhaps Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, or Dolly Parton.
Without a doubt, Willie is the most interesting, talented country singer to have sung a song. Love to listen to his voice.V 21 Comments
Conway should be way up further in the votes: only George Strait has beat him in number one hits of all time if George Strait had to compete against the same musicians that Conway did for his number ones George Strait would not have nearly as many number one hits as he has
He was a wonderfully kind and generous person as well as remarkably good performer and singer at Christmas time he opened up his home to come to see the Christmas lights and was always ready to help someone out with their music career a remarkable man. And will always be remembered.
Conway twitty was the best country singer of all times... He was the most handsome man that ever lived and also when alive was the sexiest man alive... No one else could even touch him... He was just simply the best...
I agree that Conway's name should have been way up in the list, as u would agree that no one could beat him when it comes to moaning pain and agony in voice, as his voice is unbeatable on that count.V 32 Comments
Alan Jackson is one of the most respected country music singers there is today, but he could also very well be the most underrated one as well. Garth Brooks always got the limelight is one of the most respected country music singers there is today, but he could also very well be the most underrated one as well. Garth brooks always got the light despite being absent for 13 years and winning entertainer of the year 2016, simply by putting out one album. Other artist have rose to fame packaging a different product with the title country music when it is not. Alan Jackson has been the purest country singer in the past 30 years, even George Strait has had his last couple albums take a different mainstream sound too them his last couple albums take a different mainstream sound too long. He makes it work, but Alan Jackson has never wavered from his country road he makes it work, but Alan Jackson has never wavered from his country roots despite pressure from Nashville. Alan Jackson, Has been ...more
Alan Jackson Deserves to be #3 on this list. He is the best country singer to come out in the past 30 years bar none. And I might add, the only one not playing gunsel country.
He's one of my favorite country singers aside from Garth brooks, George Straight, Tim Mcgraw, and Don Williams. I'm just a teen but I want country musics because of them. Alan Jackson's songs has a beautiful message and you can fathom it clearly because of his clear voice when he sing...one of the best and real country singers!
35 #1 hits... writes his own songs unlike some others on this listV 26 Comments
This man is not #25, he should be in the top 3. Invented modern country music in 1956, and had the biggest voice of any singer in the genre. Has been around since the time of Hank and still going. This position in the list reflects a great ignorance.
He is the best singer and very easy to dance to his music also best band
Ray price had respect for country music and most of all his fans. Not like some of the so called new country singers. Isure hope we keep real county alive it was in my life growing up and still is every day.
The purity of his voice is really not matched by anyone above.V 4 Comments
I must say, Tim McGraw is definitely one of my favorite country singers of all time!. He is a noble christian, a devoted husband and father, and even has a remarkable wife with the same soothing voice. He is also a wonderful actor as well as an artist. If you haven't heard any of his songs, I highly suggest you do.
First things first. If you don't like the guy to post a comment about him being bad moron and you look especially like a jackass because your completely wrong. Everything about Tim McGraw is fantastic in my opinion. The only possible thing bad is that he doesn't write his own songs but he has a couple he co wrote which is fine. Tim McGraw is fantastic end of story.
Saw he and Faith live, and they were both amazing. Tim has the best voice in country music, and I think he has stayed quite faithful to country music, and helped bring in a new audience.
! I love him! He deserves to be number one but still tysm to whoever put him on here!V 21 Comments
Don Williams is the best country singer. His songs are about heart touching and emotional. His voice is truly amazing. Other country singers doesn't sing like Don Williams. I have more than 100 collection of his songs. My favourite country singer is Don Williams. He is a talented country singer with an emotional voice. His straightforward yet smooth bass-baritone voice, soft tones, and imposing build earned him the nickname: "Gentle Giant" of country music.
No singer puts more emotion into each word than he does. His songs are timeless.
He the best country music artist in the world and every One enjoy his music.
Don Williams is the best. His songs are really good and amazing.V 19 Comments
If you actually compare the quality of their voices, no one comes close to Marty Robbins. He had perfect control as well as the most beautiful tone to his voice. If you want to know how good an artist is, take away all the instruments and electronic support and listen to just the voice. That's where Marty Robbins stands heads above all the rest.
Marty's voice was so beautiful, his songwriting talents are so often overlooked. Marty wrote many great songs and some of the best country songs of all time: Big Iron, White sport coat, my woman my wife, you gave me a mountain, don't worry, devil woman and of course "El Paso. Marty Robbins the "Legend "
Any one who knows a whit about music would put Marty Robbins at no. 1 on the list. His voice was beautiful, he knew how to emote, phrase, write; I could go on and on! Marty had class! When he walked on stage, he was mesmerizing right off the bat! George Jones? Come on; he could't carry Marty's music! Marty could sing with an orchestra as well a a lone guitar because he had a voice that stood on it's own! I get so "out of shape" when other singers are placed above him! Who decides these ratings, anyway?
Greatest singular artist of all time I would sayV 20 Comments
I would place Keith at about #5 personally, primarily because his grace on country music was so short, If he had lived longer, country might have been way different!
If based purely on vocals, best singer in my opinion so much emotion from every song, and instantly recognizable. George Jones would also be up there in that category, Keith lived his songs, was an awesome personality & still inspires new artists in spite of his short career.
I had a demo tape when he started out that my brother gave me, he said listen to this and tell me what you think. I got back with him and told him this guy keeps it up he would be bigger than Merl. When they found him and said that he had passed my heart felt like it broke. What a voice.
If it wasn't for a short career he would definitely be top 5.
The bestV 14 Comments
He's not the best country artist of all time, but you could definitely argue he's one of the best guitarists in all of country music.
Definitely the best of modern times
He is lovely he is the best singer I love brad I been to one of his concert I got a picture taken with him you're the best singer in the world
He is one of the greatest guitar players of todayV 11 Comments
Kenny chesney has more number ones than everyone above him on this list except for Alan Jackson and George strait and there is no way Carrie underwood is better and half the people above him are not even relevant anymore. As well he is no doubt top 5, arguably #1
Saying kenny chesney isn't in the top 10 in blasphemy but saying he isn't as good as brad paisley is just dumb. Not only should kenny be top 10, he should be #1 on the list. There's no way in any world that carrie underwood, brad paisley, alan jackson, and darth brooks are even on kenny's level. - mikegirardi
He is the best! He has no bad songs. He sings from the heart, and has never changed. He is still that same old country boy he use to be.. In my opinion, he almost has what it takes to keep up with Chash, Hank, Willie, and Strait. Keep it up! HE IS THE BEST.
He should be in top 10V 17 Comments
I like her song Suds in the Buckets
A younger George Jones with a deep, rich baritone, Randy Travis breathed new life into country music, staying true to his roots and the genre while developing his own unique style. While a foray into Gospel and a series of personal problems derailed his career, he is the godfather of the neo-traditionalist country movement.
This man doesn't get the praise he deserves for some reason I don't know. If this list is on terms of who has had the biggest career then OK, but if it is on terms of the best country singer and talent then this man belongs at number 1. Randy Travis is the most gifted country singer ever and can do things with his voice that no one else can get close to.
Randy Travis may not have contributed as much to country music as some of the others on this list, but as far as singing ability goes, he is definitely one of the greatest.
He is real country, not the fake stuff nowadaysV 12 Comments
He is not riding on his dad's coat tails you are wrong he is the best old country music singer in my opinion and I should know because I listen to country gold every saturday night with rowdy yates and I am only a tween
Best because it proved he could sing his daddy's music and his own style and he still reaches out to some of the younger generation
Hank Jr. has a truly wonderful voice, I've heard them all and he ranks up there with Elvis and George Jones
HANK JR'S MUSIC SAVED MY LIFE...
HIE SOUND, PULLED ME BACK TO MY DEEP ROOTED "WILLIE & WAYLON" MUSIC...
Johnny horton had more hits than johnny cash and also has an album naming him the king of traditional country. George Strait is the king of regular country.
Personally my favorite. I like Sink the Bismarck, Battle of New Orleans and Battle of Bull Run honestly.
It's the tennessee jive and they play it in a real gone way
What can I say, I’m a Honky Tonk ManV 1 Comment
He is one of the original outlaw country singers and a amazing songwriter
Damn right he is
Why is coe in the wood pile?
David Allan Coe in my opinion is one of the top 5 song writers of all time sings all Johnras of music. and sings them well.his influence on country music has no bounds, and has helped to achieve the Careers of many young artists.and never took no. I think you should be in the top 3 and probably the top one of the outlaws.He is one of my true hero's, thank you David your what makes America Great. If you ain't country they can kiss my ASS.
Agreed that there is no way she should be this high. She is the only woman in the top 20! You can't be serious. She's already better than Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Reba McIntyre, Tanya Tucker, Bobbi Gentry, Kitty Wells? None of these historic singers needed a reality show to get them to the top. She's talented, but to say she's the best female country singer ever? It just ain't true. Oh, and she's in the top twenty on the Top Tens most underrated list, too. What a joke.
Carrie Underwood has such a powerhouse of a voice within her. Though people are always trying to sing just like her, no one can sing the way she does. She turns ordinary songs into incredible voice masterpieces. She is such a real person, too - her faith and her values shine through her music.
She brings so much power to her songs. She has done nothing wrong in her life and she is truly amazing. As one of my friends like to say she has the song of an ANGEL!
I LOVE CARRIE UNDERWOOD! Raise your hand if you're a Carrie Care bear like us!V 62 Comments
I think Miranda Lambert is an amazing singer and just blows me away. Like if you agree with me on this, her song "Our Way" brings me to tears now that me grandfather has cancer and has 3 months. Amazing...
She will be a legend when her career is over, not many today have the drive that artists of the past had, like Tammy, Loretta, Patsy.. And so many more... Awesome
I like Miranda but there's no way she should be ahead of Patsy Cline. That Carrie Underwood is in the top 15 is just ridiculous. Actually, Miranda should be ahead of Carrie.
Female top3 should be:
Voted Miranda because she's the one to bring me into Country genre, and because she takes on crazy styles and lyrics. She's brave to put those words into songs, awesome women
This is the most ridiculous list I have ever seen. Dolly should at least be in the top 5. Her voice and song writing are legendary as is her longevity. Not to mention what a smart business woman she is. Today's singers don't have the unique style or voice that Dolly, Loretta, Tammy and others have. Today the singers all sound the same - men included.
Seriously, 27th with Alan Jackson, Carrie Underwood, and some of the newer country singers in front of her... She is one of the reasons there is a Carrie Underwood and Alan Jackson. Don't get me wrong Carrie and Alan are pretty awesome.. But Dolly at 27? I'm not even going to read rest of this article... It's too stupid.. But, I do think you got number 1 correctly with Mr Cash... After that, this list is crap... Dolly and Garth should be in top 5...
Clearly none of you have seen her live. I hate country but this woman can sing.
Jolene, jolene, jolene, joooleeeaaneee.V 9 Comments
If you say Jamey Johnson shouldn't be on this list of all people, you obviously have terrible taste in county music. He is actually a country artist.
Jamey is a throw back a total bad ass who followed in the great Waylon Jennings footsteps this guy is the real deal
A great throw back artist should be higher in my opinion. If this guy would keep producing songs he could be great.
No way should this guy be on this list. Are you kidding me?!V 1 Comment
The best singer ever
I have a friend named after this guy still a great guy
Say what you want but Elvis has no equal and no entertainer will ever have the impact Elvis has had.
Jail House RockV 6 Comments
He should be higher than this. " Country Roads Take Me Home" is one of the best loved songs of all time. When it was first released everyone loved it. Even as a young child I understood how poignant the song is.
Simply THE GREATEST COUNTRY SINGER EVER. Many of his songs are not just beautiful melodies, but sublime poems as well. I've no doubt that he even deserves to be remembered as one of the best American poets of all times.
Country T.V. legend of the 70's with great songwriting skills. Leaving on a jet plane. Country Roads, thank god I'm a country boy. Rocky Mountain High!
Has some legendary songs including Country Roads - RandomatorV 14 Comments
Every light in the house is on... You're gonna miss this... No thinkin thing... Great artist
Legend in his time
Should be FIRST
The performers of any genre who set permanent standards that are widely imitated should be listed among the best.
All these 'modern' and 'pop' singers and no Lefty on the list - ridiculous.
How many singers have had the top four songs on the chart at one time? Only Lefty. He is one of the greatest ever!
The best male alternative country rock artist of all time.
Steve Earle should easily be in the top 10
The best singer, songwriter of all time.
"I gotta two pack habit and a motel tan"
Autry is a classic. He did far more for country music than any of these new artists who have basically ruined it. It's a shame because most people now don't even know who he is.
The Greatest Country singer of all time. Just see Gene Autry Movies of 1935 through 1941. No one sings as soothing, sweet and sincere. He was also a very good yodeler.
Every important event in my life is associated with a Campbell album. A voice full of compassion and emotion. Should be in the top five for certain.
Should have been way up higher on this list. "Gentle On My Mind" "Still Within The Sound of My Voice" are just a couple of classics I love that he sang.
GREAT (underline that a couple hundred times) guitar player. Not only an accomplished country artist but was a wonderful session guitarist before he made it on his own. Nice man, too. Once gave my niece a $20 tip when she was working as a waitress at the Fargo, N. D., airport!
God bless him. Gave us so much outstanding music.V 4 Comments
Definitely the best of the best. She possessed a wide vocal range, power, technical skill, and emotion. She was the full package and she paved the road for not only female vocalists but for all artists as far as getting paid first and business etiquette. She was only 32 when she died and made it farther than any other female artist of her time.
How can people in their right mind even think about voting for the female artists above her on this list (not mentioning names) when if it weren't for Palsy we never would have heard of even Loretta Lynn.. Ignorance and stupidity rule the world of music in 2017..
There is no one who touches my hart more. I love her songs but most of all I love her voice and her way of sinking
I can't believe she's not in the top 5! She was the most talented female singer of all time!V 6 Comments
He has a voice that always bring your attention to the radio if you not listening closely
Definitely one of the greatest live country singers vocally
The fact that this guy is not even on the list yet is a disgrace
Randy Owen has arguably among the top ten of country music singers of all timeV 2 Comments
Stop and listen to the voice quality of Jim Reeves. Are you deaf? He is a top five country singer on anyone's list who has an ear for great singing style and skill.
I don't know who created this list but Jim Reeves should be in the top 5 at least. I suspect whoever put this list together doesn't even know who many of the older singers are, that's really pretty obvious by where some of the truly great singers were ranked.
He was the cross the country and pop genres. #1 hits in both. Eat you're heart out Taylor Swift, he did it in the 50s. The big difference is he was loved by all age groups at the time. He brought country to the world they still have him on their charts even though he died over 50 years ago.
the bestV 5 Comments
My favorite singer in any genre, nobody has the ability to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up like Ronnie Dunn! Shocked to find him this far up...
Tremendous range and feeling in his voice. Always makes a song better. Love listening to him. Can't believe he is in the top ten with that voice.
When he sings " Believe" it's like an experience I can't describe. He needs to be in top 5 or higher.
Best male voice ever in any genreV 2 Comments
When did she turn country?
She wasn't country she was rock'n'roll!
She isn't country she was rock'n'roll.
The first lady of country music.
Should be much higher!
When Dwight first came on the scene he was not one of the "formula" singers of that time. No flash, dash, no swinging over the audience. He just came out, tapped his foot in time to the music and sang. No gimmicks needed.
One of the few modern day country singers that stays true to the roots. True honky tonk feel and has a classic feel. Darn good actor as well.
You want someone who can sing those Honky Tonk songs and bluegrass and country the this is the only one that can accomplish all of them. He deserves a higher rating than Stevie Nicks, she is not country at all.
TOP 20V 5 Comments
One of the few country singers that I actually like!
Glad to see another black country singer as he... He could match the great Charlie Pride someday.
Such an amazing voice and he always puts a nice message in his songs.
They have a problem with black people and South Carolinians, he should be top 10V 3 Comments
Perhaps the most multi-talented country singer ever, Emmylou can sing many different styles including country rock, contemporary country, and traditional country, just to name a few. My God, she sings with as much heart as anyone I've ever heard.
Saw her on tour with Dire Straits' Mark Knopfler, of all people. They put on a great show! Talented lady.
Thank you for the gift
Emmy Lou Harris is in a class of her own!V 2 Comments
Insightful songwriter... him in Rodney Crowell have anchored music with durable lyrics that speak the truth about our humanity.
Clay pigeons is a man content
The father of bluegrass. his music influenced many country artists.
Love Charlie Daniels!
Related ListsBest Female Country Singers of All Time Best Male Country Singers of All Time Top 10 Country Songs by Male Singers Hottest Female Country Singers Top 10 Country Songs By Female Singers
6 years, 117 days old
Top Remixes (37)
2. George Jones
3. George Strait
2. Willie Nelson
3. Waylon Jennings
2. Waylon Jennings
3. Steve Earle
View All 37