Country Classics (again)
It will take a long time of blogging to get through all the best of Country music through the years and while I’ve examined a good percentage here are some more songs that deserve mention. What makes a song a “Classic” is somewhat subjective but these songs appear on several ‘lists’ and I have included my own personal bias and as well. As will you notice the numbers of cover versions is not always a measure of how great the song is.
“I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail” performed by Buck Owens and written with a frequent collaborator, Harlan Howard (1964). This song went to #1 in February of 1965 and also #25 on the Billboard Hot 100. While Harlan wrote many hit songs for a dozen or so other artists, I don’t think anyone recorded more of his songs than Buck Owens. Covered about 30 times including Harlan Howard himself, Ray Charles and Stephanie Urbina Jones.
“Blue Moon of Kentucky” written by Bill Monroe and performed with His Bluegrass Boys (1947). While this great song is an official state song and has since been covered over 125 times I have to wonder how the song would have done if Bill Black, Elvis’s then bass player had not been fooling around singing this song during a break at Sun Studio. Subsequently Elvis ( Elvis Presley, Scotty and Bill) were the first to cover this song seven years after the original in July 1954. Levon Helm, John Fogerty and Patsy Cline.
“Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” written and performed by Alan Jackson. You may know this was a song about American life in the aftermath of 9/11. There have been many great songs written about the impact of this day but this one seems to have captured the feelings and emotions of everyday life. The song rose to much success and critical acclaim winning AMA and CMA song and record of the year (2002) and a Grammy Award for Best Country Song and a nomination for Song of the Year (2003). Only two ‘official’ covers from Secondhandsongs.com; an instrumental and Scotty McCreery from American Idol Season 10, 2011.
“Goodbye Earl” written by Dennis Linde and originally intended for Sammy Kershaw as he had recorded another Linde song about ‘Earl’. He didn’t do it and then it was first recorded by another group and that was never released, so the first issue was by the Dixie Chicks (1999). Live cover by Brothers Osborne, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes (2006). A somewhat controversial song (and video that won CMA and AMA awards) and it seems practically no one wants to cover it, nevertheless I think it’s a great song. A good article about the song: https://www.wideopencountry.com/goodbye-earl-story-behind-song/.
“Golden Ring” by George Jones and Tammy Wynette, written by Bobby Braddock and Rafe Van Hoy. This song is about a wedding ring that keeps getting recycled through a pawn shop was recorded some months after the two singers got divorced themselves. They both were uncomfortable doing the song together but it hit #1 in 1976 so they had little choice in performing it. Some great cover versions out of the only 17 times it’s been redone, one of the great duet songs of country music. Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Terri Clark & Dierks Bentley, Dwight Yoakam & Kelly Willis.
References: https://secondhandsongs.com/, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page images: buckowens.com, tasteofcountry.com, contactmusic.com.
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