5 Most Renowned Country Music Albums of All Time

There are different tasks that you can get assigned during your college years, from the cultural impact of the Spanish-American War to the economic impact of the sinking of the Titanic. And those topics are quite easy to work with. Just google them and find all the information that you need. 

Of course, it’s college, so it’s possible that you don’t have time to do your homework yourself. Luckily, there are various services, like Simpleflybys.com, that can help you with your homework. Be it in history or physics.

By browsing through relevant information, you can figure out what’s what and accomplish your paper. Still, there are more abstract topics that will confuse you. You can find browsing through the best essay writing services extremely helpful, but when tasked with topics like “Which Musical Genre Can Be Considered the Most American?”, you should at least pick the genre.  

The most-American and most associated genre with North America is country music. The genre rarely becomes popular outside the music markets of the US and Canada, despite country singers emerging from time to time in Australia, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. So, let’s check out the landmark albums of the genre. 

Red Headed Stranger (1975) by Willie Nelson

“Red Headed Stranger” was the eighteenth album by Willie Nelson. Nelson was mainly working the outlaw country, a subgenre of country music that concerned murderers and stories of fugitive criminals. As it was released during the mid-seventies, it was a concept album.  

Pink Floyd was insanely popular, and so was David Bowie. Concept albums and rock operas were guaranteed chart success, as well as the odd stories that those albums exploited. The dystopian worlds, where aliens come to re-teach people how to have sex via screening old porn films. That was the material of highbrow British rockers; country musicians should focus on something simpler. And Willie Nelson did exactly that for the “Red Headed Stranger.” 

The concept album focuses on the adventures of a fugitive criminal, who killed his wife and a  man she was cheating on him with, and how he ends up becoming a preacher. Never before or since country music experienced records like that. Probably that’s the reason why “Red Headed Stranger” remains an immortal masterpiece — it has no competitors. 

American Recordings (1994) by Johnny Cash

The fact that “American Recordings” was the eighty-first album by Johnny Cash may suggest that Cash is a legend on its own. Cash’s career spanned over five decades, and he can be considered a natural-born country music star, as he’s less than ten years younger than the genre itself. His long career, which kick-started in 1954, had its ups and downs. 

Despite tremendous popularity from the late 1950s to the mid-1970s, Cash mostly struggled throughout the 1980s. Aside from collaborative efforts, most of his albums went off mostly unnoticed. This tendency continued till Cash hired Rick Rubin to produce “American Recordings” in 1994, which was followed by the American Series of records, which included Cash’s takes on everything from blues standards to covers of Nine Inch Nails and Depeche Mode.

Aside from starting the series of successful and impactful albums (arguably Cash’s take on Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” became more popular than the original), “American Recordings” has everything you need to know about country music. It offers great examples of outlaw country, which we’ve discussed previously. 

Fearless (2009) by Taylor Swift

Nowadays, Taylor Swift is arguably the biggest star in the world. On average, each of her last four albums accumulated sales of approximately 3 million copies worldwide in their debut weeks. And thanks to her careful transition to the indie genre, average music listeners remain oblivious to the fact that prior to 2012, Taylor Swift was mainly a country singer. 

“Fearless” remains Swift’s strongest country music record. Moreover, it’s her biggest-selling album to date, with sales of over 25 million worldwide. While most of the sales in Europe came after her pop exposure with albums like “Red” and “1989”, “Fearless” remains her only Diamond-certified album in the US. With “Fearless,” Taylor Swift proved that country is far from being a niche genre and can easily be a mainstay in mainstream charts, despite the EDM dominance. 

Come on Over (1997) by Shania Twain

One thing we’ve discussed throughout the article is that country records rarely become popular outside of North America. The debut album of the Canadian singer Shania Twain became multi-platinum in her homeland and in the US but had no impact outside of North America. Her second afford certified Diamond in both countries – for sales of over 1 million in Canada and over 10 million in the US – and went unnoticed overseas. 

Twain decided to try something different, recording her third album, which became her opus magnum. “Come on Over” was released in late 1997 as a country album in North America. For the worldwide release, the album was re-recorded as a dance-pop album, with only one song remaining unaltered. 

The results? “Come on Over” became the best-selling album by a female singer, the best-selling album by a Canadian artist, and the best-selling album by a country singer. The album sold over 2 million units in Twain’s native Canada and over 17 million copies in the US, while its global sales stand at the 40 million mark.  Try checking out the original version and the international remix of “That Don’t Impress Me Much” back to back. 

Jolene (1974) by Dolly Parton

If there’s a reigning queen of country music, it must be Dolly Parton. With a career spanning eight decades, Dolly Parton is considered one of the icons of American pop culture. She released 52 studio albums, and at the age of 77, Parton is nowhere near stopping. So, why “Jolene” out of her more than 50 albums? The answer lies in the title. 

The title track is a hit on its own, being covered by the late Olivia Newton-John, Jack White, and Miley Cyrus. Currently, it’s Parton’s most-streamed track on Spotify. But it’s the second single of the album, which inscribed Parton in pop culture, outside of country music. The second single of the album was “I Will Always Love You.” 

A lot of stars tried buying the song from Parton. She even rejected Elvis Presley’s offer. She only approved of Whitney Houston covering her song for “The Bodyguard” soundtrack. But, even aside from these two masterpieces, the “Jolene” album is full of pearls and remains one of the greatest examples of songwriting in country music. 


This article is deeply unfair, as it omits masters of country music like Kris Kristofferson and Loretta Lynn, and many more. But it serves only as an example of what you can put in your paper. Pick other artists and prove that they are worth inclusion on your list.