These are twenty-five records that were released between 1956 and 1963 that I deem to be the best country songs of the era, ranked from #1 to #25.
best country rank title artist highest ranking week debuted
1 Crazy Patsy Cline 9 11/6/1961
2 I Walk the Line Johnny Cash 17 10/20/1956
3 The End of the World Skeeter Davis 2 2/16/1963
4 He'll Have To Go Jim Reeves 2 1/11/1960
5 Young Love Sonny James 1 1/5/1957
6 I Fall to Pieces Patsy Cline 12 7/24/1961
7 You're The Reason Bobby Edwards 11 10/16/1961
8 Devil Woman Marty Robbins 16 8/18/1962
9 Detroit City Bobby Bare 16 6/23/1963
10 Ring of Fire Johnny Cash 17 6/22/1963
11 Walking After Midnight Patsy Cline 12 3/2/1957
12 My Special Angel Bobby Helms 7 10/14/1957
13 North To Alaska Johnny Horton 4 10/17/1960
14 Don't Worry About Me Marty Robbins 3 2/13/1961
15 Silver Threads & Golden Needles The Springfields 20 9/1/1962
16 She's Got You Patsy Cline 14 2/24/1962
17 A White Sport Coat Marty Robbins 2 4/27/1957
18 Walk On By LeRoy Van Dyke 5 11/20/1961
19 El Paso Marty Robbins 1 11/30/1959
20 Abilene George Hamilton IV 15 7/20/1963
21 Hello Walls Faron Young 12 5/1/1961
22 Old Rivers Walter Brennan 5 4/21/1962
23 Wolverton Mountain Claude King 6 6/16/1962
24 The Wings of a Dove Ferlin Husky 12 12/26/1960
25 From a Jack to a King Ned Miller 6 1/26/1963

Rock and Roll was the dominant genre of The Elvis Era, but rock and roll's roots were in country and rhythm and blues. During the era, country music hits would cross over to the pop charts. My top 25 are country songs that made the top twenty on the pop chart. There were some country songs that would have made the list, but they did not get into the top twenty: Marty Robbins' "The Hanging Tree" and "Big Iron," Patsy Cline's "Sweet Dreams," Wanda Jackson's "Right or Wrong," and Don Gibson's "Sea of Heartbreak." (These are included as "extras" at the end of the playlist.)

Especially early on in the era there were many rock and roll songs that actually crossed over to the country charts. Most of Elvis Presley's early hits found their way to the top of the country chart and other performers, notably Ricky Nelson and The Everly Brothers frequently had their records recognized on the country charts. The Kingston Trio might have been considered "Country" but they seemed more suited to a "Folk" label. Jimmie Rodgers was left out because he seemed too close to "pop" or early rock and roll. Below is a list of 54 country songs that made Billboard's top twenty during the Elvis Era.


500 Miles Away From Home by Bobby Bare 10/26/1963 #10
A Rose And A Baby Ruth by George Hamilton IV 11/17/1956 #6
Abilene by George Hamilton IV 7/20/1963 #15
Ballad of a Teenage Queen by Johnny Cash 2/10/1958 #14
The Battle of New Orleans by Johnny Horton 5/4/1959 #1
Call Me Mr. Inbetween by Burl Ives 8/11/1962 #19
Crazy by Patsy Cline 11/6/1961 #9
Dark Moon by Bonnie Guitar 4/27/1957 #6
Deck of Cards by Wink Martindale 9/28/1959 #7
Detroit City by Bobby Bare 6/23/1963 #16
Devil Woman by Marty Robbins 8/18/1962 #16
Don't Go Near the Indians by Rex Allen 10/6/1962 #17
Don't Worry About Me by Marty Robbins 2/13/1961 #3
El Paso by Marty Robbins 11/30/1959 #1
The End of the World by Skeeter Davis 2/16/1963 #2
The Fool by Sanford Clark 8/11/1956 #7
Four Walls by Jim Reeves 5/6/1957 #11
From a Jack to a King by Ned Miller 1/26/1963 #6
Funny Way of Laughin' by Burl Ives 4/21/1962 #10
Gone by Ferlin Husky 3/9/1957 #4
Guess Things Happen That Way by Johnny Cash 6/9/1958 #11
He'll Have To Stay by Jeanne Black 5/2/1960 #4
He'll Have To Go by Jim Reeves 1/11/1960 #2
Hello Walls by Faron Young 5/1/1961 #12
I Can't Stay Mad At You by Skeeter Davis 9/21/1963 #7
I Dreamed of A Hillbilly HeAVEN by Tex Ritter 8/14/1961 #20
I Fall to Pieces by Patsy Cline 7/24/1961 #12
I Walk the Line by Johnny Cash 10/20/1956 #17
Let's Think About Livin by Bob Luman 9/26/1960 #10
A Little Bitty Tear by Burl Ives 1/6/1962 #9
My Special Angel by Bobby Helms 10/14/1957 #7
North To Alaska by Johnny Horton 10/17/1960 #4
Oh Lonesome Me by Don Gibson 3/31/1958 #7
Old Rivers by Walter Brennan 4/21/1962 #5
P.T. 109 by Jimmy Dean 4/14/1962 #8
Please Help Me, I'm Fallin' by Hank Locklin 6/13/1960 #8
Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash 6/22/1963 #17
Ruby Ann by Marty Robbins 12/8/1962 #18
Scarlet Ribbons by The Browns 11/23/1959 #13
She's Got You by Patsy Cline 2/24/1962 #14
Silver Threads & Golden Needles by The Springfields 9/1/1962 #20
Sink the Bismark by Johnny Horton 3/14/1960 #3
Still by Bill Anderson 5/11/1963 #8
The Battle Of Kookamonga by Homer & Jethro 9/14/1959 #14
The Story of My Life by Marty Robbins 12/9/1957 #15
The Story of My Life by Marty Robbins 12/9/1957 #15
Walking After Midnight by Patsy Cline 3/2/1957 #12
Walk On By by LeRoy Van Dyke 11/20/1961 #5
A White Sport Coat by Marty Robbins 4/27/1957 #2
Why Don't They Understand by George Hamilton IV 12/9/1957 #10
The Wings of a Dove by Ferlin Husky 12/26/1960 #12
Wolverton Mountain by Claude King 6/16/1962 #6
You're The Reason by Bobby Edwards 10/16/1961 #11
Young Love by Sonny James 1/5/1957 #1
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