As old as the hills or as fresh as a daisy, there's a whole lot of lovin' going on in country music. Whether it be lust, loss, cheating, unrequited or downright heart stopping emotions of joy... it seems that more country songs are about love in one form or another than any other topic. Why not, after all it's love that makes the world go 'round.
During the month of September, Taste Of Country is doing a countdown on what they deem are the Top 100 Country Love Songs of all time. Naturally, their lineup covers only modern songs that have come along since country music, radio and records came together. Otherwise their countdown might have included a few dittys that are older than dirt, like the ballad, "Greensleeves" which is definitely folk or country music from the days of Henry VIII. No, it's not contemporary country music, but its been a favored melody for hundreds of years - the world over, and still graces music boxes today. How's that for music that somehow escapes boundaries and lacks an expiration date?
So what country singer is lowest on the love song totem pole over at TOC? No matter how much of reliable country love song artist they may be, they can only hit this countdown one time. Slot 100 is Reba McIntyre with "I Keep On Lovin' You." As the author of these serial posts states,
"...As country music skews younger and younger, these sorts of songs become more precious."
A question that may be on many a country music fan's mind - why is it all young now? Country is a lifetime, not a decade.
It's interesting how they decided what was worthy of their Top 100 Country Love Songs. The age of the song has nothing to do with the ranking. Each of them has some message or sentiment that is unique or carries a lot of weight. Like the old time hit in spot No. 94, "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette. A tune that dates back to my days of being locked in the backseat suffering through the Grand Ole Oprey radio show all the way home from Gramma's house on Saturday night. (Only three quarters of a state drive.) Sure, its a country music icon, but the point behind its inclusion goes far deeper,
"It’s not a classic love song — no one would choose this for their wedding song — but the No. 1 hit makes a strong argument for the sanctity of marriage vows."
Obviously its hard to top the impact of simple lyrics like, "I Love You." This Martina McBride hit has sold 3 million copies, and was only played on radio after it was in the movie, Runaway Bride. In spot #87, but it's a longtime favorite of country music fans. Surprisingly, Carrie Underwood's, "Just A Dream" comes in at only #82 - superstar that she is, perhaps Carrie needs to discover more depth to her lyrics.
Would any list of the greatest love songs be complete without The King? I doubt it, and at #78 we find "Love Me Tender" by Elvis. A song that has no gender, age or relationship. Which reminds me to include that with country music, a love song can be written for a child, a parent or about a member of the opposite sex there's a yearning for or connection to.
What about the rest of the so-called best country love songs through the years? It's a big subject, and a humongous list of songs. One they won't reach the end of for about another week. You can go through them on your own and see why each of the chosen from over 60 years of hits made the list here: Top 100 Country Love Songs of All Time