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Various Artists -- Billboard #1 Classic Country

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Various Artists -- Billboard #1 Classic Country

Various Artists -- Billboard #1 Classic Country

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The Bottom Line

Why would fans of pop and rock want to own two discs of country music hits? Because these are the most important country crossover smashes of all time -- and you might find yourself recognizing (and loving) more of these songs than you think.
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Pros

  • As a selection of country music chart toppers that also scored on the pop charts, it can't be beat.
  • There's a wide range of country hits here, spanning three decades.
  • Almost all of these hits were influential on country music in some way.

Cons

  • The sequencing is not chronological, which can be jarring.

Description

  • Country
  • 2 CD
  • 50s, 60s, 70s and beyond
  • Various Artists
  • Studio

Guide Review - Various Artists -- Billboard #1 Classic Country

When it comes to musical genres, only hip-hop has as many negatives attached to it as country music does -- you either love it or hate it. But country was, as the history books often forget, one of the major influences on rock and roll, second only perhaps to urban R&B. And whether from cultural inevitability or just the power of marketing, the vast majority of these 30 chart-toppers also crossed over to the pop Top Ten.

Meaning that you know more of these classics than you think you do -- Fifties lovers will recognize Patsy Cline's "I Fall To Pieces" and Johnny Cash's "I Walk The Line," as well as solid one-offs like the Browns' "The Three Bells"; early and late countrypolitan are well represented by everyone from Tammy Wynette ("Stand By Your Man") to Lynn Anderson ("Rose Garden"); and the Seventies "outlaw" movement produces Number Ones like Willie's "On The Road Again" and Merle's "Mama Tried." And while there are plenty of hits so pervasive in our pop consciousness that they almost don't seem to qualify as country at all -- Roger Miller's "King Of The Road" or Ray Price's "For The Good Times" -- there's also some songs that could never be anything but, like Marty Robbins' timeless "El Paso" and Buck Owens' "Act Naturally." You'll have to sort all this out for yourself since the non-chronological sequencing results in wild changes of tone. But this remains, ironically, the one country collection to buy for your friends who aren't into country. Or who say they aren't.

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