Top 5 Country Songs From the 40’s 50’s 60’s and 70’s

country music 40s 50s 60s

Before the fifties, there was little opportunity for female solo country artists. Kitty Wells revolutionized this situation when her groundbreaking record, an updated take of an old traditional song, made her famous and set an important precedent that would later influence artists such as Loretta Lynn.

Lefty Frizzell’s song depicts this change. Country music in the thirties saw an amalgam of jazz and popular styles blend in, yet still retain its hillbilly folk song roots. This tune highlights this musical transition.

The Ballad of Dixie Carter

There are numerous iconic country songs from the ’50s, but this one stands out. This tune tells of Dixie Carter – an immensely popular country musician at that time – who rose to stardom. Cover versions by many artists remain popular even today.

Bill Monroe is widely revered as the Father of Bluegrass and first made waves in this genre in the 1950s. His hits, such as his rendition of “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” still draw audiences today and spent eight weeks at #1 upon release.

This song was first recorded by Doye O’Dell; Ernest Tubb later created a version that became most well-known during the ’50s. Additionally, many artists such as Simon & Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers covered the classic love tune multiple times over its history – truly making this timeless classic an evergreen classic!

Clingman’s Dome

The 1950s provided immense inspiration to country music. From TV stars harking back to an earlier golden era to bar session players making an impressionful statement about this music genre, many modern country songs can trace their roots back to this period. A country collection that does not include Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Ernest Tubb or Lefty Frizzell feels incomplete.

Shout! Factory has released this three-disc set featuring original recordings of 57 country standards from each decade between 1950 and 1975. While not entirely comprehensive – with most songs covering only 1950 or so – the first disc largely covering 1950, for instance – its accuracy should hardly matter; its inclusion of “Clingman’s Dome”, an old folk song about a mountain between North Carolina and Tennessee measuring 6,688 feet tall makes this album definitive. Clingman was named for Thomas Clingman (an NC Senator and Confederate General during WW2) but is more commonly regarded as being part of Great Smoky Mountains region.

The Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee is world-famous for its natural beauty, southern Appalachian mountain culture, and history of European settlement. Franklin Roosevelt played a vital role in creating this breathtaking park; but credit should also go to those from western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee who worked together to preserve this stunning piece of Appalachia.

Kitty Wells was an American country music singer during the 1950s who is widely credited with opening up opportunities for female singers such as Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton to sing about cheating men in songs such as this 1952 hit by Kitty Wells herself, entitled “Cheating Men.” This hit became one of her signature tracks.

Ray Price was known for his song, “Bonaparte’s Retreat.” Originally composed as a folk tune in the 1800s, Pee Wee King turned it into a humorous love story about Napoleon’s retreat from Russia – giving Price his first and best-known work great exposure and success in his career. This number one hit was an enormous boost for Price’s career success and remains his signature piece today.

I Will Always Love You

The 1950s gave birth to some iconic country artists, such as Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash, but its lasting legacy lies in classic country songs that became associated with these individuals.

This song marked one of Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline’s early chart-topping hits, and also crossed over into rock music as one of its first country love songs.

Although Whitney Houston made her version a huge hit, Dolly Parton’s original recording is hard to beat – it spent 14 weeks at #1 on country charts in 1974! While other artists such as Elvis have tried their hands at it since, Dolly Parton’s recording remains the definitive country music version of the track and its dedication to love.

I Can’t Help Myself (Stay Here With Me)

Lefty Frizzell’s classic country song captures the emotions experienced after someone they love has committed suicide, such as guilt and regret for having been unable to prevent their act. At its heart lies a tribute to love.

Carrie Underwood co-wrote this emotive ballad, written with Nashville songwriter Hillary Lindsey and former Evanescence member David Hodges, about hoping to see someone special again after they pass. This song has become an emotional staple at funeral services worldwide and touched countless lives along its path.

George Jones gave this J.P. Richardson standard a familiar sound when performing it as one of his initial hits as a country singer – one which cemented his place as one of country music’s legends. This song earned George one Grammy award later on in his career and cemented its place on his resume as an icon in country music.

I’ll Be Home for Christmas

Bing Crosby’s 1943 rendition of this timeless country classic remains popular even today and many credit him with helping boost morale during World War II by singing Kim Gannon and Walter Kent’s composition, which remains timeless today.

Kitty Wells’ number one hit from 1952 set the tone for subsequent women like Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton who sang songs about unfaithful men, such as this song featuring an unusual 4/4 beat instead of traditional 2/4. This gave more of a country feel and allowed radio stations to more easily play it.

Conway Twitty made this song famous as a rock song; The Everly Brothers are responsible for its iconic country version. This track became immensely popular and could be heard both country and pop radio stations, topping charts worldwide as a result.

It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels

Classic country songs typically focus on love, family and heartache – but Kitty Wells’ “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” by Kitty Wells was an unprecedented breakthrough: she achieved the first No. 1 country hit ever by a female soloist! This revolutionary song laid the groundwork for Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn as female country vocalists; further disproved any notion that country music was only for men!

Kitty Wells had recorded with limited success since 1947, but when she recorded this song in 1952 it proved an epic breakthrough. It topped the sales and jukebox play surveys simultaneously for six weeks on each chart, making her one of the first notable country singers from outside male-dominated music scenes to emerge. Furthermore, its success challenged Roy Acuff’s claim that women couldn’t headline concerts or sell country records; his mistake would later result in major career reversal for him.

I’m Just a Little Bit Country

Kitty Wells was one of few female solo country artists to gain prominence during the 1950s, despite her family band’s fame. Her heartfelt music inspired female country singers such as Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton with an inspirational influence that is evident today.

Marty Robbins stands out among musicians by successfully traversing both genres; having achieved rock ‘n’ roll success followed by recording a country song about moonshine production, his success is unparalleled.

Hank Williams left an indelible mark on modern country music. His influence can still be felt decades after his passing – “Your Cheatin’ Heart” being one example.

I’m Just a Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll

Donny and Marie’s tune was an irreverent take on sibling rivalry that was featured on their ABC variety show. It began with them singing a rock tune before transitioning into country tunes – even making an appearance on Friends season 10, where Ross and Monica used it when discussing their passion for music!

The 1950s was a remarkable period in country music history. This decade saw stars like Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Ernest Tubb and Lefty Frizzell emerge to become legends of country. Shout! Factory’s Legends of Country (2006) collection presents these timeless hits.

Although his career really flourished in the 1990s, this Texas singer first made an impactful statement during his early country songs like “Crazy Arms” during the 1950s. His unique 4/4 beat made his music recognizable.