Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

Carolyn Kruse

When you think about artists and their “signature hits,” you may assume they were huge #1 hits. Think again, some of the most well-known and respected work hasn’t hit the top of the charts. I present to you here, 5 of the most popular country songs that weren’t number 1 hits.

Remember Sugarland’s powerful done-me-wrong ballad, “Stay?” That was not a #1 for Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush. As recognizable as it is, it missed the mark, but came close. That song earned the #2 spot on Billboard’s country songs chart.

Examples Of Popular Country Songs That Weren’t Number 1

Some of these popular country songs that weren’t #1 hits are honestly surprising. You’ll see some of the country music genre’s biggest names like Shania Twain, Blake Shelton and Chris Stapleton who all have scored plenty of hits. But, again, some of their most iconic hits don’t have that number 1 status.

Here’s another “crazy” example, not on this list. Patsy Cline’s signature song, “Crazy” was not a chart topper. It was #2. And yet her follow-up “She’s Got You” did go all the way to #1. But who thinks of that song when you say the name, Patsy Cline?

One of these popular country songs that weren’t number 1 hits is now the name of a chain of restaurants for the country star. That’s how notable the song title is, and yet there was little love for this particular one on the country charts. Now, that’s “crazy.”

Take a look at these 5 legendary songs and see if you are surprised that they were not #1 hits. I most definitely was. The Shania song was probably the most astonishing for me. But hey, you don’t have to be #1 to be a winner. Just ask Lauren Alaina or Jennifer Hudson, who were both on American Idol but did not win the title.

  • 1. Fancy

    Reba McEntire’s most recognizable song, with music fans, is without a doubt her 1991 release “Fancy.” It’s a crowd pleaser every time, and somehow it was never a #1 hit. This legendary song was only a #8 hit on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. But you know it’s usually the last song of her set, on tour. It’s the most requested and well-known of the Queen of Country’s extensive catalog of hits. 


  • 2. Man, I Feel Like A Woman

    Man, this is shocking. Shania Twain’s hallmark hit wasn’t a #1 smash hit? She released “Man, I Feel Like A Woman” in 1999 and even though it earned Twain her 2nd Grammy Award, sold over 3 million copies in the US alone and remains one of her biggest hits worldwide, this gem didn’t top the chart. It went as far as #4. 


  • 3. Ol' Red

    Blake Shelton released “Ol’ Red” in 2002, as the third single from his debut album. The song about a prison dog was hugely popular with his fans, but only peaked at #14. How can a song that inspired a chain of bar/restaurants not be a smash hit? It was actually first recorded by George Jones, then Kenny Rogers. 


  • 4. Save A Horse (Ride a Cowboy)

    If somebody throws the name Big and Rich at ya, you’ll likely hear “Save A Horse (Ride a Cowboy) in your head, immediately. The country duo’s trademark tune only reached #11 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. What? In face, their ballad “Lost in This Moment” was their biggest hit, going #1 in 2007, 3 years after “Save a Horse.” To this day, it remains their most recognizable hit. 


  • 5. Tennessee Whiskey

    Chris Stapleton has written so many famous songs from “Drink a Beer” for Luke Bryan to his own “White Horse.” However, Stapleton’s biggest crowd pleaser and the one to which he is forever linked, was actually first a David Allan Coe release, written in 1981 by Nashville songwriters Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove. Chris put it on his Traveler album. When he performed it in 2015 with Justin Timberlake at the CMA Awards is when it became popular for Chris Stapleton. 

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