Although they are considered classics now, many of country’s most beloved songs stopped shy of No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart. In no particular order, here are 10 memorable tracks that missed the top spot yet remain entrenched in country music history.
“God Bless the USA,” Lee Greenwood
For nearly 30 years, Greenwood’s patriotic number has been sung in sporting events, social functions and stages across America. “God Bless the USA” climbed to No. 7 in 1984.
“Go Rest High on That Mountain,” Vince Gill
Gill has comforted countless souls with this heartfelt hymn. Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs provide gorgeous vocal harmonies. It ascended to No. 14 in 1995.
“Love Can Build a Bridge,” the Judds
Mothers and daughters sometimes struggle to understand each other, but the Judds reminded us that nobody’s heart is out of reach. “Love Can Build a Bridge” topped out at No. 5 in 1991.
With her commanding vocal presence and a storyline that instantly seized your attention, McBride’s day of reckoning had finally arrived. “Independence Day” peaked at No. 12 in 1994.
“Coat of Many Colors” Dolly Parton
Every time I’ve heard a reporter ask Parton about the favorite song she’s ever written, she always cites this autobiographical tune. The classic zipped to No. 4 in 1971.
“Blue,” LeAnn Rimes
Rimes was just a cute kid from Texas when she recorded this retro number intended for Patsy Cline. Boom! Instant stardom. “Blue” landed at No. 10 in 1996.
“Amarillo by Morning,” George Strait
Country fans everywhere responded to Strait’s fiddle-drenched story of a cowboy who’s running out of luck on the rodeo circuit. “Amarillo by Morning” roped in the No. 4 spot in 1983.
“Delta Dawn,” Tanya Tucker
A child star with a sexy rasp, Tucker made her first impression on country fans with this tale of a delusional woman and her faded flower. “Delta Dawn” rose to No. 6 in 1972.
“Family Tradition,” Hank Williams Jr.
Spend a night in Nashville’s honky-tonk bars, and you’ll get to sing along with this rowdy number at least a dozen times. “Family Tradition” peaked at No. 4 in 1979.