Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Taylor Swift, George Strait. Those are just some names of the musicians who have left their mark on the country music scene. Whether its hillbilly, honky tonk, outlaw, country pop, or any other sub-genre, these are the musicians who have transformed the style to the greatness it is today. Which is precisely why we’ve gathered a list of the greatest country music stars of all time – but, who will make the cut? Read on to find out!
When it comes to country music, the Man in Black epitomized outlaw country’s rebel spirit. And while he is mainly remembered as a country music icon, Cash’s songs and sound often embraced rock and roll, blues, folk, and gospel. Traditionally he began every show just by simply introducing himself, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.” Four words that are forever ingrained in every Cash fan’s mind. Cash has sold more than 90 million records worldwide – plus his crossover appeal has earned him entry to the Country Music, Rock and Roll, and Gospel Music Halls of Fame.
No doubt about it, Garth Brooks is a musical genius. His integration of rock and roll into the genre of country has skyrocketed his fame. After all, according to the RIAA, Brooks is “the best-selling solo albums artist in the United States with 148 million domestic units sold, ahead of Elvis Presley, and is second only to The Beatles in total album sales overall.” Brooks may have retired from 2001 to 2009 in order to focus on his family, but he kicked off his comeback tour in September 2014 and hasn’t slowed down since.
Singer. Songwriter. Poet. Author. Actor. Activist. You name it, Willie Nelson has surely done it. Nelson kicked off his career in 1956(!) and has earned many awards along the way; don’t forget that he’s penned some of the greatest, most memorable country songs EVER. Most of which went on to become covers by many famous artist. At 84 years of age, Nelson still tours and records, but he’s also heavily involved with charitable and political causes.
47 Grammy nominations? That’s not all that makes Dolly Parton a global pop and country music icon. Parton is an insanely skilled songwriter, known worldwide for her thoughtful narratives. Plus her rather distinctive vocals. With her signature classics like “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors,” and “I Will Always Love You” – Parton has surely left her mark on music for years to come.