The Cream Always Rises to The Top

 The Cream Always Rises to The Top

 

We were sitting around having a couple “pops” the other night when, as it often does the conversation turned to great country music. The usual names came up like Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, George Jones and of course George Strait. The man who owns the title for the most number one hits of all time could have even had more was the just of the conversation as we discussed his 22 More Hits Album. Then we started to think about all the great songs that for one reason or other just didn’t make that final jump to the top. A song doesn’t have to reach number one for it to be considered as one of the best of all time but it can certainly help an artist especially if it happens early in their career. There’s way too many great songs that never made it and heck some didn’t even come close but here’s a look at the top 10 songs that didn’t reach #1. I’ve used the American Country Billboard chart as a base so see if any of these surprise you, if you agree or disagree or if I just missed the mark completely.

 

#10 Tanya Tucker Love Me Like You Used To spent 2 weeks at #2 in October 31st and Nov 7 of 1987. Written by Paul Davis it was Johnny Cash who originally recorded the song in 1985. Don’t get me wrong I love Earl Thomas Conley but Right from the start isn’t exactly known as his biggest hit and then came George…

October 31

#1 Earl Tomas Conley - Right From the Start

#2 Tanya Tucker - Love Me Like You Used To

#3 George Strait - Am I Blue

November 7 1987

#1 George Strait - Am I Blue

#2 Tanya Tucker - Love Me Like You Used To

#3 The Judds - Maybe your Baby’s Got The Blues

 

#9 Hank Williams Jr Country Boy Can Survive spent 3 weeks at #2 from April 17-May 1st in 1982. Hank Williams wrote and recorded the song and released it in January of 1982 and it’s considered to be one of his signature songs. In retrospect I think it’s a better song than both Conway Twitty The Clown and Ricky Skaggs Crying My Heart Out over you but then comes along 2 of the greatest of all time in Willie’s Always On My Mind and Alabama’s Mountain Music.

April 17, 1982

#1 Conway Twitty - The Clown

#2 Hank Williams Jr. - Country Boy Can Survive

#3 Ricky Skaggs - Crying My Heart Out Over You

April 24, 1982

#1 Ricky Skaggs - Crying My Heart Out Over You

#2 Hank Williams Jr. - Country Boy Can Survive

#3 Alabama - Mountain Music

May 1, 1982

#1 Alabama - Mountain Music

#2 Hank Williams Jr. - Country Boy Can Survive

#3 Willie Nelson - Always On My Mind

 

#8 Glen Campbell By The Time I Get To Phoenix spent 2 weeks at #2 in January of 1968. Jimmy Webb wrote the song and it was originally recorded in 1965 by Johnny Rivers. Glen Campbell made it the title track to his 1967 album and it was released late that year and it did go to #1 in Canada at least. It’s largely considered to be one of the greatest songs of all time and it’s certainly, in my opinion better than Bill Anderson and Jan Howard’s For Loving You. Was it better than Sing Me Back Home though? I’ll let you be the judge of that one.

Jan 13, 1968

#1 Bill Anderson - For Loving You

#2 Glen Campbell - By The Time I Get To Phoenix

#3 Merle Haggard - Sing Me Back Home

Jan 20,1968

#1 Merle Haggard - Sing Me Back Home

#2 Glen Campbell - By The Time I Get To Phoenix

#3 Bill Anderson - For Loving You

 

 

#7 Kenny Chesney Young spent 2 weeks at #1 in April of 2002. Released in December of 2001 off his Not Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems album the song was probably more suited as a summer song and had it been released in May-Aug you have to think it would have went to #1. In it’s way from going to #1 a Toby Keith song that spent 5 weeks at #1. I think it was the best song on No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems but the charts say different. Kenny’s next single from that album The Good Stuff would spend 7 weeks at #1.

April 20, 2002

#1 Toby Keith - My List

#2 Kenny Chesney - Young

#3 Chris Cagle - I Breathe In, I Breathe Out

April 27, 2002

#1 Toby Keith - My List

#2 Kenny Chesney - Young

#3 Phil Vasar - That’s When I Love You

 

#6 Patsy Cline Crazy spent 2 weeks at #2 in February of 1962. Written by Willie Nelson Crazy became one of Patsy Cline’s signature hit but at first she didn’t even like the song. It’s crazy to

think that Crazy wouldn’t make it all the way to the top of the American Country Billboard chart considering it had such crossover appeal. Only someone else’s signature hit could have possibly kept it out of the #1 spot and Walk On by was certainly that for Leroy Van Dyke spending 19 weeks at the top.

Jan 20, 1962

#1 Leroy Van Dyke - Walk On by

#2 Patsy Cline - Crazy

#3 Jimmy Dean - Big Bad John

Jan 27, 1962

#1 Leroy Van Dyke - Walk On By

#2 Patsy Cline - Crazy

#3 Jim Reeves - Losing your Love

 

#5 Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes Don’t Fall In Love with a Dreamer peaked at #3 on May 31st 1980 and that’s where it stayed for the next three weeks. It was held out of the #2 spot by Don Williams Good Ole’ Boys Like me which is another song that could be on this list as it never went to #1 either and both are probably better songs than Ronnie Milsap’s My Heart/Silent Night. Don’t fall in love with a dreamer was part of the Kenny Rogers concept album Gideon and all songs were written by Kim Carnes. Kenny said when he heard Kim sing the demo for the song he knew right away it should be recorded as a duet. It wasn’t much of a stretch the two had already performed together as part of the New Christy Minstrels. It did manage to go to #1 here in Canada.

May 31 - June 20, 1980

#1 Ronnie Milsap - My Heart/Silent Night (After The Fight)

#2 Don Williams - Good Ole’ Boys Like Me

#3 Keny Rogers/Kim Carnes - Don’t Fall In Love With A Dreamer

 

#4 Garth Brooks Callin’ Baton Rouge peaked at #2 on Oct 22nd 1994 before it quickly began its fall out of the top 10. Originally recorded in 1978 by the Oak Ridge Boys, Callin’ Baton Rouge was also a hit for The New Grass Revival in 1989 before Garth included it on his in pieces album. Brooks & Dunn were pretty popular in 1994 along with Garth so it looks like a toss-up, but I feel like Callin’ Baton Rouge has withstood the test of time a bit better. It’s hard not to get up and dance when you hear it but maybe some country fans didn’t appreciate its Blue Grass sound.

Oct 22, 1994

#1 Brooks & Dunn - She’s Not The Cheatin’ Kind

#2 Garth Brooks Callin’ - Baton Rouge

#3 Patty Loveless - I Try To Think About Elvis

 

#3 Dwight Yoakam Guitars, Cadillacs peaked at #4 on Sept 26, 1986 and stayed there for a couple of weeks before abruptly falling from #4 all the way to #14. The only way I can explain Guitars, Cadillacs only reaching #4 is that maybe some radio stations had not completely bought into the “Twangy/Hillbilly” sound yet. I would venture that any average country fan today would be familiar with one or possibly two songs below and that the one sure bet would be on Dwight Yaokam. I also believe that almost any fan of music in general would be able to recognize Guitars, Cadillacs. Dwight wrote the song and included it on his debut album and it still may be his best piece of work even if it didn’t reach #1. By the way it peaked at #2 in Canada.

Sept 26, 1986

#1 Ronnie Milsap - In Love

#2 Janie Frickie - Always Have Always Will

#3 The Forester Sisters - Lonely Alone

#4 Dwight Yoakam - Guitars Cadillacs

Oct 4, 1986

#1 Janie Frickie - Always Have Always Will

#2 The Forester Sisters - Lonely Alone

#3 Eddie Rabbit/Juice Newton - Both to Each Other

#4 Dwight Yoakam - Guitars Cadillacs

 

#2 The Statler Brothers Flowers On The Wall climbed to #2 the week of January 22nd 1966 and stayed there for an entire month. Thanks to the movie Pulp Fiction The Statler Brothers have become a part of pop culture and the song has never really gone away. Lew Dewitt wrote the song and it was the group’s first significant single. Red Sovine’s Giddyup Go was a giant hit spending 6 weeks at #1 mostly at the expense of Flowers on the wall. Sometimes you just have bad timing and run into another geart song which both of these are but I’ll let you be the judge on whether or not Giddyup Go overstayed it’s time at #1.

Jan 22, 1966

#1 Red Sovine - Giddyup Go

#2 The Statler Brothers - Flowers On The Wall

#3 Warner Mack - Sittin’ On A Rock 

Jan 29, 1966

#1 Red Sovine - Giddyup Go

#2 The Statler Brothers - Flowers On The Wall

#3 Roger Miller - England Swings

Feb 5 & Feb 12, 1966

#1 Red Sovine - Giddyup Go

#2 The Statler Brothers - Flowers On The Wall

#3 Sonny James - True Love’s A Blessing

 

#1 George Strait Amarillo by Morning peaked at #4 on April 30, 1983 and would only spend a week in that position. How? Why? Are you kidding me? Country was in a super “urban” phase at that time and even Tom Jones found himself on the country chart in 1983 but C’mon it’s Amarillo By Morning…Right? That fiddle, those lyrics, that incredible voice and yet it fell 10 places from #4 to #14 the following week. When it comes on the radio today everyone knows all the words and although the songs below listed above it are great songs you don’t recognize them by the first note the way you do Amarillo by Morning. It was a cover song and it did go to #1 in Canada so maybe our southern friends had just grown weary of it quicker than we did….Maybe?!?!

April 30, 1983

#1 Reba McEntire - You’re First I’ve Thought About Leaving

#2 Shelly West - Jose Cuervo

#3 The Oak Ridge Boys - American Made

#4 George Strait - Amarillo By Morning

 

Here are some more great songs that just as easily could be in your top 10 of songs that didn’t reach that #1 spot

 

Ray Price - Heartaches By The Numbers 1959 (#2)

Bellamy Brothers - Old Hippie 1985 (#2)

Steve Wariner - Holes In The Floor of Heaven 1998 (#2)

Martina McBride - Independence Day 1994 (#12)

George Jones & Tammy Wynette - Two Story House 1980 (#2)

Johnny Cash - Ghost Riders In The Sky 1979 (#2)

Dave Dudley - Six Days On The Road 1963 (#2)

Keith Urban - I Told You So 2007 (#2)

Waylon Jennings - Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line 1968 (#2)

Charley Pride - Burgers and Fries 1978 (#2)

Main Menu

Request Line
780-875-3321