No matter how you define Country music, it’s universally known the genre prides itself in making great music for the fans and tackling real-life issues. As a fan, chances are there’s an album that you hold near and dear that was there for you with “3 chords and the truth.”
Whether it’s a newer Pop Country album that reminded you to have fun in a time of sadness, or a traditional Country album that was there for you through heartbreak, the bottom line is — Country music speaks.
While there have been endless notable Country albums over the past decades, Rolling Stone has taken a magnifying glass to the entire Country music catalog from the last century and ranked the top 100. From Honky-Tonk and Western Swing to Neo-Traditionalism, Pop Country, Countrypolitan, and more, there’s a lot to choose from!
While it’s interesting to see the top 100 and be reminded of some of our favorites throughout the years, we know you’re dying to know who made the number 1 spot — we were! We’ll give you one guess, because that’s about all you need!
Yes, Country queen, Dolly Parton with her 8th studio album, Coat of Many Colors which released October 4, 1971.
“The brilliant album is the sound of Parton taking agency over her own story,” the publication shared. “One shaped by Appalachian poverty, a connection to nature, and unfailing familial love.”
“As an album that made incisive statements about family, femininity, and class struggle in its time, Coat of Many Colors only gets more relevant with each passing year. Everyone else is still playing catch-up.”
Do you agree? Other top album mentions on Rolling Stones’ list include; Waylon Jennings’ Dreaming My Dreams, Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger and Ray Charles Modern sounds In Country And Western Music.
Representing more modern-era Country music are The Chicks’ Fly, Miranda Lambert The Weight Of These Wings and Taylor Swift’s, Fearless. Check out a list of the top 25 below and see Rolling Stones' full list of 100 here.
25. Sturgill Simpson — Metamodern Sounds In Country Music
24. Guy Clark — Old No. 1
23. The Carter Family — Can The Circle Be Unbroken Country Music’s First Family
22. John Prine — John Prine
21. Kris Kristofferson — Kristofferson
20. Rosanne Cash — Seven Year Ache
19. George Strait — Strait from the Heart
18. Gary Stewart — Out Of Hand
17. Loretta Lynn — Coal Miner’s Daughter
16. Tom T. Hall — In Search Of A Song
15. Patsy Cline — Showcase
14. George Jones — I Am What I Am
13. Miranda Lambert — The Weight Of These Wings
12. The Judds — Why Not Me
11. Johnny Cash — At Folsom Prison
10. Taylor Swift — Fearless
9. Randy Travis — Storms Of Life
8. Shania Twain — Come On Over
7. Merle Haggard — Serving 190 Proof
6. Lucinda Williams — Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
5. The Chicks — Fly
4. Ray Charles — Modern sounds In Country And Western Music
3. Willie Nelson — Red Headed Stranger
2. Waylon Jennings — Dreaming My Dreams
1. Dolly Parton — Coat of Many Colors