As the Decades Turned, Which Country Songs Were No. 1?

Here we are in 2020, but what were country fans listening to 20 years ago, upon the arrival of 2000?

The No. 1 hit at country radio back then was Faith Hill’s dazzling ballad, “Breathe.” In addition to spending six weeks at No. 1, “Breathe” also won the 2000 Grammy for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. And it wasn’t just you who was thinking that Faith Hill was everywhere.

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In a 2007 interview with, Hill noted, “I did a lot of things during that time that were pretty incredible, like singing the national anthem at the Super Bowl the same year that the Tennessee Titans went to the Super Bowl. That’s one of my greatest memories. I was a spokesperson for Pepsi and for Cover Girl, all in the same year. All this was around that whole ’Breathe’ thing. It’s one of those decisions that you make: ’OK, this train is moving at breakneck speed. Either we stay on it, or we jump off of it.’ And I chose to stay on it. Everything just kind of happened — the Oscars and everything around that time period.”

OK, how about 10 years ago, in 2010? Consider this: Reba McEntire charted a four-week No. 1 single in January 2010 with “Consider Me Gone,” her most successful song ever at country radio.

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Speaking to CMT about the album that featured it, Keep on Loving You, McEntire said, “I always go into the studio with that same formula: try to find the best songs possible and entertain them the best I can. I mean, that’s the way I’ve always done it, and I probably will always do it that way. Thank God, the songwriters let me have some of their best songs. I love them.”

On the first country chart of 1990, the top spot went to Highway 101’s “Who’s Lonely Now.” In January 1980, Kenny Rogers dominated with the three-week No. 1 hit, “Coward of the County.” David Houston ushered in the 1970s with “Baby Baby (I Know You’re a Lady).”

But if you had your radio on in January 1960, you were hearing all about the West Texas town of “El Paso,” written and recorded by Marty Robbins. An instant classic, “El Paso” won the 1960 Grammy for Best Country & Western Performance and, because of this song, his legacy endures today.

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