Best Country Singers of All Time

The Top Ten
1 Johnny Cash John R. "Johnny" Cash (1932-2003) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author, who was widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century and one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. He died of ...read more.

I was seriously torn between Johnny Cash and George Strait, but I went with Johnny Cash. They're both legends, and while they both have vastly different styles, all country music sounds amazing (except for bro-country). I decided on picking Johnny Cash as my #1 because his music brings back memories of my late father, who was a big Johnny Cash fan.

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.

Cash played a unique genre. Not just country. I've heard it put like this: The honesty of folk, the attitude of rock, and the writing and twang if country. In no way was John like any other in the industry. He wore no rhinestones and didn't even play guitar normally! From his minimal recordings in the mid-fifties, to his deeper later songs, he wasn't just a country and western balladeer, but an Americana icon, and even sunken in drug addiction, Cash manages to put out amazing songs. Though he died nigh on 15 years ago, Cash's effect lingers in American music.

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.

2 George Strait

He is the king and that's that. Just look at all his #l's and his amazing albums. He clearly tops Johnny Cash. I mean Cash is good but George Strait is ten * better

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.

George Strait songs are the best, most accurate country songs in existence to my knowledge. Songs like "Today My World Slipped Away" show what real true country is and George has the most of those by far. Although, I would say that the best real country song is "He Stopped Loving Her Today." In addition to contributing to and arguably saving country music for a few more decades, he also fed to the later great country artists that have admitted that George Strait's voice is their inspiration such as Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson. In fact, Brooks even talked about attempting to get Strait to record one of his most popular hits "Friends in Low Places" first and Strait declined, so because Brooks wanted to be Strait he had a good impression of him. This was the reason Brooks got to record his hit and you can thank Strait's presence for that. The King of Country even served in the military for a while(which sparked his career, one might add). If that can't convince you George Strait is the ...more

Only one artist in all music genres has 61 number one hits. That is what makes George the King of country music. He tops every artist that ever made a record. That includes the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Mariah Carey, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard and so on.
There isn't anyone that should be listed above George, no matter what genre of music you are referring to. He is the King of all charts and is still making more albums at the age of 61 and touring. He had his 60th #1 just before his 61st birthday on March 13, 2013 (reported by Mediabase).

3 George Jones

Unlike any of the other artists on this list, George Jones has a song for every feeling you have. I believe no other artist has ever come close to The King of Country George Jones.

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.

My favorite in the beginning and will be in the end. There are many great country music artists that I have grown to admire from when I started listening in the 70's and 80's, and to others, any one of those deserve their place at the top. However, for me it has always been the Possum, and always will be. Lord I wonder who's going to fill your shoes? Thank you Mr Jones for the wonderful songs you brought to life.

4 Waylon Jennings

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.

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!

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.

5 Merle Haggard Merle Ronald Haggard was an American country singer, songwriter, guitarist, and fiddler. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band the Strangers helped create the Bakersfield sound.

The best I have ever heard. I discovered him not to long ago. Oh I had heard some of his recordings but never paid much attention to Country music then I heard Merle sing"Footlights" and I was hooked.

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.

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..

Most of the singers in this list aren't straight country grass roots. They are in the mid of country and lite rock. They are all good in their own right. I do really like all the older singers that sing more through life experiences. Merle is one of the best and I can listen to him more than the rest. But there is only one Ring of fire

6 Willie Nelson Willie Hugh Nelson is an American musician, singer, songwriter, author, poet, actor, and activist. The critical success of the album Shotgun Willie, combined with the critical and commercial success of Red Headed Stranger and Stardust, made Nelson one of the most recognized artists in country music.

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.

He is a gifted sonwriter write several of the best country songs ever such as Crazy, Nightlife and Red headed Stranger. He voice and style is so unique.

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.

7 Sara Evans
8 Hank Williams Hiram King "Hank" Williams, was an American singer-songwriter and musician. His band was called "The Driftin' Cowboys"

Ole Hank poured his heart into every single song he did, with the solemn urgency of a country preacher. He delivered every line as if your soul depended it. He could write, play, and sing his own music, and he did a mighty fine job of it. He is regarded as the "Hillbilly Shakespeare" by many today. Hank could write a rollicking song such as "Move it on Over" filled with wit and humor, and just as easily write country standards of heartbreak and sorrow such as "I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry". His songwriting aptitude was only matched by his electifying stage performances that made him a rockstar before rockstars existed. Hank also recorded a number of recitations (under the name of "Luke the Drifter") with grandfatherly intonations and a moralist style that seemed far advanced beyond Hank's years.

Whether it was going "Honky Tonkin'" or yodeling out the "Long Gone Lonesome Blues" or proclaiming "I Saw the Light" Hank and his stellar band, The Drifting Cowboys, played it all and in ...more

If he would have lived and continued his success He would have been the absolute best. In his short lifetime he wrote songs that they are still sing 70 years later. From 1949 till his death in 1952, he had 24 songs on Billboard charts and Tony Bennett hit the charts with two covers of Hanks works. He hit the charts with 6 songs after his death.His songs are still being covered today.

Hank clearly should be #1 without a doubt. His music inspired other singers and his songs had cross over appeal.
His songs are listened to by every generation after his death.
Every singer has aspired to be the next Hank Sr. And there's not a singer no matter what type of music they sing that doesn't sing a Hank Sr. song.
There has is only one true King of Country Music and it has been and always will be Hank Williams Sr.

Most influential country singer/songwriter of our time! There's no way he's this LOW on any list unless you're basing your list on your opinion. Hank is a member of both the country and rock and roll Halls of Fame!

9 Garth Brooks Troyal Garth Brooks is an American singer and songwriter. His integration of rock and roll elements into the country genre has earned him immense popularity in the United States.

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.

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!

Garth brooks is without a doubt top 5 of all time. Number one solo selling artist in U. S history (keeping in mind he did that in just ten years), artist of the decade, multiple awards, currently has the number one contry album out (blame it lt all on my roots box set) and he's been out of country for close to 14 years his career has far surpassed most on the list.

Bar none the greatest entertainer in Country Music to have ever lived. Hope he makes a come back, kind of hard to do considering the popular trend in country is to be a mainstream sell out cough cough Tim McGraw.

10 Alan Jackson

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

My daughter and I saw Alan Jackson at the Bell County Expo last night, and his music is clearly pure country, heartfelt and real. My daughter grew up listening to his popular tunes in the 90's, and we had a convesation on the the way to the concert wondering if Alan Jackson is one of the top country singers of all time. There's several great country singers on here "of all time", but I would definitely rate Alan Jackon in the top 5 of country singers in the last 30 years. His song "Where Were You" brings everyone together, we ALL remember where we were. It brings tears to my eyes each time I hear it.

Alan Jackson is my all time number one favorite country singer , I am huge number one fan , I even went to his concert I had an awesome time and I love all of his songs including ring of fire and Gone 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!

The Contenders
11 Carrie Underwood Carrie Marie Underwood is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol, in 2005. Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released in 2005.

There is no debating, Carrie Underwood is an amazing singer along with all the most presented songs. In my opinion, I think she should be higher than she is. She won a 2005 version of "American Idol". She surely deserved every award she received, let alone, the fact many people turn her down as a great musician in my mind is wrong.
#1 fan!

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.

Carrie Underwood is amazing. She can turn an ordinary song into a masterpiece. For instance, How Great Thou Art was a classic song that wasn't exactly a huge song in popularity, and she turned it into a masterpiece. That's true talent!

I LOVE Carrie Underwood! She is the best country singer! I think that she is better than a lot the top ten people! She should be in the top ten! She has amazing faith and loves to sing and that's all that matters! Love her voice!

12 Conway Twitty

Conway don't get near the credit for his solo career as he should. His style of music at that time was "not cool"! I say this because I'm a man who grew up in the 70's, and remember him well, more for his duets with Loretta than for his solos. The love songs he sang wasn't considered "macho " then, say as Cash, Merle, etc were then. Jmo.

Conway's songs were all unique from each other, unlike the generic same ole sound of today's so-called country singers without talent. Conway was a master in performance, having voice variety, classic personality and a gift in music communication. He was and is unbeatable!

His rank as '10' on this list shows the sheer ignorance of 'country music lovers' today.. I'm sorry but Conway was a better artist than some of the wannabes above him in this list..
My personal opinion is that the top 5 country artists of all time are 'Conway, Johnny Cash, Palsy Cline, Ray Price and Marty Robbins'

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...

13 Ray Price Noble Ray Price was an American country music singer, songwriter, and guitarist. His wide-ranging baritone is regarded as among the best male voices of country music, and his innovations, such as propelling the country beat from 2/4 to 4/4, known as the "Ray Price beat", helped make country music more ...read more.

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.

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.

He is the best singer and very easy to dance to his music also best band

14 Tim McGraw Samuel Timothy "Tim" McGraw is an American singer, songwriter and actor. He has been married to singer Faith Hill since 1996, and is the son of the late baseball player Tug McGraw. McGraw has released fourteen studio albums.

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.

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.

He is outstanding. I think the top 3 should be george strait, garth brooks and Tim Mcgraw. I like Tim Mcgraw the best but there all great. I mean honestly for some reason I really don't like Johnny cash.

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.

15 Hank Williams Jr.

Simply put,the greatest. Did it his way. Not only a great singer but also a great writer of music. Will never be another like Hank Jr.

Riding on daddy's coat tails and had such stupid opinions that his Monday Night Football gig had to be axed, even by the conservative networks.

After drinking and nearly dying after falling off Ajax mountin. He did his own music which in my opinion is the best and he is my #1 favorite singer

Hank Jr. has a truly wonderful voice, I've heard them all and he ranks up there with Elvis and George Jones

16 Brad Paisley

The amazing scope of topics covered in his emotive songs, peppered with witticism and backed with his strong and sweet vocals absolutely brings him into the discussion of the GOAT! Let's not romanticize the old greats for old time's sake, Brad has DOMINATED country music for the past 20 years, and long may that continue!

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.

Brad Paisley is a well rounded talent. Incredible guitar player, songwriter & good voice!

A guitar virtuoso, a gifted songwriter, and a great singer as well. What more to love?

17 David Allen Coe

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.

D.R.S.

Pleased to see that DAC made the list. My favorite artist by far due to his outlaw attitude. Coe don't give a damn.

He is one of the original outlaw country singers and a amazing songwriter

Why is coe in the wood pile?

18 Blake Shelton Blake Tollison Shelton is an American country singer and television personality. In 2001, he made his debut with the single "Austin".

Unlike any other country artist, this King has had number ones across all the different lanes of country music. He is the best country music vocalist in terms of vocal craft. His ability to play with vocal delivery techniques in a way complementary to the message of the songs he sings sets him apart from the rest. Blake's songs are very diverse, not only in terms of theme but also style.

I think that he is on the top list because he sings from the heart and always will. Other artists are above him because he isn't the best of all time but he is the one of the best. There always will be someone that is better then you even if you don't think that.

Blake Shelton is a true artist who understands music, no matter what the genre, his songs provide a wonderful experience as most of them tell stories.
My favorites are Austin and who are you when I'm not looking?.

Not all of his music stays true blue to the roots of country. But in my honest opinion all his music catches my ear and I can't stop listening. Top 10 at least for me. Came here to forget baby!

19 Kenny Chesney Kenneth Arnold "Kenny" Chesney is an American country singer and songwriter. He has recorded 20 albums, 14 of which have been certified gold or higher by the RIAA.

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.

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 number 1. Great voice and great live. Has great songs that tell many stories. Cares about his fanbase and does charity work. Great voice!

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

20 Marty Robbins

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?

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 "

If you want to know who had the most beautiful voice in country music or the best voice control, I don't think that anyone could come up with an artist that could beat Marty Robbins. No one else even comes close to Marty.

21 Keith Whitley

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.

What About Earl Thomas Conley? " I Have Loved You Girl ", Holding Her and Lovin You" and a bunch of other big hits.

If it wasn't for a short career he would definitely be top 5.

22 Dolly Parton Dolly Rebecca Parton is an American singer-songwriter, actress, author, businesswoman, and humanitarian, known primarily for her work in country music.

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...

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.

Clearly none of you have seen her live. I hate country but this woman can sing.

She does not belong in the top 20. I believe they got her about right!

23 Trace Adkins

Marty Robbins was the Greatest Singer of all time. Please don't insult his memory.

You're gonna miss this. One of the best country songs I've ever heard.

Every light in the house is on... You're gonna miss this... No thinkin thing... Great artist

Legend in his time

24 Jamey Johnson

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.

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?!

I like in color

25 Gene Autry

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.

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