Top 25 greatest male country singers of all time ranked

Top 25 greatest male country singers of all time ranked

The greatest male country singers have been instrumental in propelling the genre's enduring legacy. Their distinctive voices, unmatched songwriting skills, and timeless performances continue to elevate the genre's revered status on a global scale.

Greatest male country singers
Country singers Waylon Jennings (L), Garth Brooks (C), and Kenny Rogers (R). Photo: Beth Gwinn/Terry Wyatt/Michael Buckner (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

While there are many great male country singers, the artists listed below have made immense contributions to the genre. The ranking is based on record sales, chart performances, awards, and influence on the sound.

Greatest male country singers of all time

The data comprises statistics from the Billboard Country Airplay Chart, the Billboard Country & Western Best Sellers Chart, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Country Music Association, and the Academy of Country Music.

25. Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty
Singer Conway Twitty's portrait. Photo: Michael Levin
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Harold Lloyd Jenkins
  • Other names: The High Priest of Country Music
  • Date of birth: September 1, 1933, in Friars Point, Mississippi
  • Date of death: June 5, 1993 (59) in Springfield, Missouri
  • Cause of death: Abdominal aortic swelling

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Conway Twitty was among the first country artists to cross over to the pop charts successfully. He had over 50 number-one hits, including songs like Tight Fittin' Jeans, It's Only Make Believe, You've Never Been This Far Before, and Hello Darlin.

24. Ronnie Milsap

Ronnie Milsap at the ACM Awards
Singer Ronnie Milsap during the 21st Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the Good Time Theatre. Photo: Ron Galella
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Ronald Lee Millsaps
  • Date of birth: January 16, 1943, Grifton, North Carolina
  • Age: 81 years in 2024

Ronnie Milsap is known for blending country music with rock, pop, and R&B elements, which helped him achieve crossover success in the 1970s and 1980s. He has versatile vocals that allow him to cover different songs, ranging from soulful ballads to upbeat country tunes.

23. Jim Reeves

Jim Reeves onstage
The late American singer Jim Reeves onstage. Photo: Keystone
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: James Travis Reeves
  • Other names: Gentleman Jim
  • Date of birth: August 20, 1923, in Galloway, Texas
  • Date of death: July 31, 1964 (40) in Davidson County, Tennessee
  • Cause of death: Plane crash

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Jim Reeves has a soft baritone voice and is considered one of the pioneers of the Nashville Sound. His songs continued to chart years after his death in a plane crash. He released timeless classics like Welcome to My World, I Love You Because, and He'll Have to Go.

22. Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell onstage
American artist Glen Campbell performing on the BBC's Young Generation TV show, UK. Photo: Michael Putland
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Glen Travis
  • Date of birth: April 22, 1936, in Billstown, Arkansas
  • Date of death: August 8, 2017 (81) in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Cause of death: Alzheimer's complications

Glen Campbell is regarded as one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century. He was a gifted guitarist with soulful vocals. The artist released over 64 albums, selling over 45 million records, including four platinum albums, 12 gold albums, and one double-double platinum album.

21. Ernest Tubb

The late artist Ernest Tubb onstage
Legendary honky-tonk star Ernest Tubbs performing at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: George Rose
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Ernest Dale Tubb
  • Other names: The Texas Troubadour
  • Date of birth: February 9, 1914, in Crisp, Texas
  • Date of death: September 6, 1984 (70) in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Cause of death: Pulmonary emphysema

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Ernest Tubb helped popularize and shape the honky-tonk subgenre of country music. His songs featured a blend of traditional country sounds with blues, swing, and boogie-woogie elements. Tubb was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1965 and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999.

20. Blake Shelton

Artist Blake Shelton onstage
Blake Shelton performing onstage during the CMT Music Awards at Moody Center in Austin. Photo: Jeff Kravitz
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Blake Tollison Shelton
  • Date of birth: June 18, 1976, in Ada, Oklahoma
  • Age: 47 in 2024

Blake Shelton is an influential figure in contemporary country music. He has released 12 studio albums and 51 singles, 28 of which have reached number one on the Billboard Country Airplay chart. Blake Shelton became the first country artist to win the all-genre category for Favourite Album at the 2017 People's Choice Awards.

19. Ray Price

The later singer Ray Price onstage
Vocalist Ray Price performing during Willie Nelson's 4th of July Picnic at The Backyard in Austin. Photo: Gary Miller
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Noble Ray Price
  • Other names: The Cherokee Cowboy
  • Date of birth: January 12, 1926, in Wood County, Texas
  • Date of death: December 16, 2013 (87) in Mount Pleasant, Texas
  • Cause of death: Pancreatic cancer

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Ray Price is remembered for his innovative approach to country music, such as propelling the country beat from 2/4 to 4/4, also called the Ray Price beat. He is also known for his wide-ranging baritone, often classified among the best male voices in the genre.

18. Marty Robbins

Country musician Marty Robbins onstage
American singer Marty Robbins performing on stage. Photo: Andrew Putler
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Martin David Robinson
  • Other names: Mister Teardrop
  • Date of birth: September 26, 1925, in Glendale, Arizona
  • Date of death: December 8, 1982 (57) in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Cause of death: Cardiovascular disease that led to heart attack

Marty Robbins was among the most successful western country singers in his nearly 4-decade career. He was an early outlaw country pioneer known for his smooth, baritone voice and ability to convey emotion through music.

17. Charlie Pride

Singer Charlie Pride onstage
Charley Pride performing onstage during the 54th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville’s Music City Center. Photo: Terry Wyatt
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Charley Frank Pride
  • Other names: The Pride of Country Music
  • Date of birth: March 18, 1934, in Sledge, Mississippi
  • Date of death: December 12, 2020 (86) in Dallas, Texas
  • Cause of death: Covid-19 complications

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Charlie Pride is remembered for being a trailblazer as a Black country artist. He is one of the first African American artists to achieve mainstream success in the predominantly white genre.

Charlie released 52 studio albums and charted over 50 singles on the US Billboard charts. He is known for hits like Kiss an Angel Good Mornin', Is Anybody Goin' to San Antone, and Crystal Chandeliers.

16. Kris Kristofferson

Artist Kris Kristofferson onstage
Kris Kristofferson performing at Drammen Teater in Drammen, Norway. Photo: Per Ole Hagen
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Kristoffer Kristofferson
  • Date of birth: June 22, 1936, in Brownsville, Texas
  • Age: 87 years in 2024

Kris Kristofferson is known for his pivotal role in the 1970s outlaw country movement and is often credited as one of the best songwriters in the country genre. He has released iconic classics like Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down and Help Me Make It Through the Night.

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15. George Strait

Artist George Strait onstage
George Strait performing during the iHeartCountry Festival at Frank Irwin Center in Austin, Texas. Photo: Michael Hickey
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: George Harvey Strait Sr
  • Other names: GS, King George
  • Date of birth: May 18, 1952, in Poteet, Texas
  • Age: 71 years as of 2024

George Strait is credited for pioneering the neotraditional country style and reviving interest in the Western swing and honky-tonk music of the 1930s and the 1940s. He has released numerous chart-topping timeless hits like Check Yes or No and All My Ex's Live in Texas.

14. Keith Urban

Australian singer Keith Urban at the CMA Awards
Keith Urban at the 57th Annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Christopher Polk
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Keith Lionel Urban
  • Date of birth: October 26, 1967, in Whangarei, North Island, New Zealand
  • Age: 56 years in 2024
  • Nationality: Australian and American

Keith Urban is known for his songwriting talents and ability to incorporate pop, rock, and contemporary sound into his music. He has released several chart-topping singles, including his duet with Brad Paisley, Start a Band, and the single, You Look Good in My Shirt.

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13. Brad Paisley

Musician Brad Paisley at NeueHouse Hollywood
Brad Paisley during Save The Music Foundation's 25th Anniversary Celebration at NeueHouse Hollywood. Photo: Frazer Harrison
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Bradley Douglas Paisley
  • Date of birth: October 28, 1972, in Glen Dale, West Virginia
  • Age: 51 years in 2024

Brad Paisley is known for his innovative blend of traditional and contemporary country and exceptional guitar skills. He is also a prolific songwriter, and his songs are often laced with a wry and keen sense of humour.

12. Vince Gill

Country singer Vince Gill onstage
Vince Gill performing at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Jason Kempin
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Vincent Grant Gill
  • Date of birth: April 12, 1957, in Norman, Oklahoma
  • Age: 66 years in 2024

Vince Gill is known for his soulful voice, virtuosic guitar playing, songwriting skills, and versatility. He was the frontman of the Pure Prairie League band in the 1970s before starting his solo career in the 1980s.

11. Tim McGraw

Country star Tim McGraw at the ACM Awards
Singer Tim McGraw during the 52nd Academy of Country Music Awards at T-Mobile Arena. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Samuel Timothy McGraw
  • Date of birth: May 1, 1967, in Start, Louisiana
  • Age: 56 years as of 2024

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Tim McGraw is known for his sandy Southern twang, melodic, heartfelt songs, and impact on the country-pop fusion movement. He has achieved remarkable success with multiple hit songs like It's Your Love, Don't Take the Girl, and Live Like You Were Dying.

10. Randy Travis

Musician Randy Travis onstage
Musician Randy Travis at Route 66 Casinos Legends Theater. Photo: Steve Snowden
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Randy Bruce Traywick
  • Other names: Randy Ray
  • Date of birth: May 4, 1959, in Marshville, North Carolina
  • Age: 64 years as of 2024

Randy Travis is known for his rich baritone voice and emotive delivery. He played a significant role in the neotraditional country movement of the 1980s, bringing back a classic sound that incorporated honky-tonk roots.

9. Alan Jackson

Singer-songwriter Alan Jackson onstage at Heritage Park
Alan Jackson during The 4th Annual Pepsi's Rock The South Festival at Heritage Park. Photo: Rick Diamond
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Alan Eugene Jackson
  • Date of birth: October 17, 1958, in Newman, Georgia
  • Age: 65 years as of 2024

Alan Jackson is known for his commitment to traditional country music and is often associated with the neotraditional country movement of the 1980s and the 1990s. He had released a string of memorable classic hits like Don't Rock the Jukebox, Livin' on Love, and It's Five O'Clock.

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8. Garth Brooks

Musician Garth Brooks speaks
Garth Brooks during the Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Photo: Terry Wyatt
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Troyal Garth Brooks
  • Date of birth: February 7, 1962, in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Age: 61 years as of 2024

Garth Brooks is one of the best-selling country music artists of all time, known for his energetic live performances, ability to connect with his fans, and ability to integrate pop and rock elements into country music seamlessly. He has sold over 170 million records.

7. Kenny Rogers

Legendary country singer Kenny Rogers onstage
Kenny Rogers during Muhammad Ali's Celebrity Fight Night XX at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa. Photo: Michael Buckner
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Kenneth Ray Rogers
  • Date of birth: August 21, 1938, in Houston, Texas
  • Date of death: March 20, 2020 (81) in Sandy Springs, Georgia
  • Cause of death: Natural causes

Kenny Rogers' smooth voice and crossover appeal made him one of the most successful country stars of the 1970s and 1980s. He sold over 100 million records and is known for genre-defining classics like Lucille and Coward of the County.

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6. Waylon Jennings

Singer-songwriter Waylon Jennings in Nashville
Waylon Jennings at his office in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Beth Gwinn
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Waylon Jennings
  • Other names: Hoss, Watasha, Waymore
  • Date of birth: June 15, 1937, in Littlefield, Texas
  • Date of death: February 13, 2002 (64) in Chandler, Arizona
  • Cause of death: Diabetes complications

Waylon Jennings is one of the pioneers of the outlaw movement in country music that sought to break free from the traditional Nashville sound. His music is characterized by his distinctive voice and willingness to experiment with different styles and genres.

5. Willie Nelson

Musician Willie Nelson onstage at Barclays Center
Willie Nelson during the 38th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Barclays Center. Photo Kevin Kane
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Willie Hugh Nelson
  • Other names: Willie the Weedman, Shotgun Willie, Red-Headed Stranger
  • Date of birth: April 29, 1933, in Abbott, Texas, United States
  • Age: 90 years as of 2024

Willie Nelson's ability to blend different genres, including blues, jazz, and folk, makes him an influential singer-songwriter. Nelson, alongside other artists like Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings, is regarded as a pioneer in the 1970s outlaw country movement.

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4. Merle Haggard

Musician Merle Haggard performs onstage
Musician Merle Haggard during the Stagecoach Country Music Festival at The Empire Polo Club. Photo: Frazer Harrison
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Merle Ronald Haggard
  • Other names: Okie from Muskogee, Mighty Merle
  • Date of birth: April 6, 1937, in Oildale, California
  • Date of death: April 6, 2016 (79) in Palo Cedro, California
  • Cause of death: Double pneumonia

Merle Haggard's music was characterized by its raw honesty and authenticity, exceptional songwriting, and vocal skill. He is most remembered for his impactful influence in the outlaw country movement of the 1970s, which challenged the Nashville establishment.

3. George Jones

George Jones performs onstage
George Jones performing during a live concert. Photo: John Atashian
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: George Glenn Jones
  • Other names: Possum, No-Show Jones
  • Date of birth: September 12, 1931, in Saratoga, Texas, United States
  • Date of death: April 26, 2013 (81) in Nashville, Tennessee, United States
  • Cause of death: Hypoxic respiratory failure

George Jones' legacy is characterized by his unique blend of traditional and modern styles, powerful vocals, and great songwriting. He released timeless classics like White Lightning, He Stopped Loving Her Today, and The Grand Tour, which earned him the nickname The Rolls-Royce of Country Music.

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2. Johnny Cash

Country singer Johnny Cash at a home recording studio
Country star Johnny Cash with a Takamine acoustic guitar at his home recording studio. Photo: Beth Gwinn
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: John R. Cash
  • Other names: Man in Black
  • Date of birth: February 26, 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, United States
  • Date of death: September 12, 2003 (71) in Nashville, Tennessee, United States
  • Cause of death: Diabetes complications

Johnny Cash rose to fame in the mid-1950s after his four-year service in the Air Force. He covered genres like gospel, rockabilly, blues, rock and roll, and folk. His sound was a deep, calm bass-baritone voice, and he was known for his ability to convey a wide range of emotions.

1. Hank Williams

Hank Williams portrait
Country singer Hank Williams posing for a portrait in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: Michael Ochs Archives
Source: Getty Images
  • Full name: Hiram Williams
  • Other names: The Hillbilly Shakespeare
  • Date of birth: September 17, 1923, in Butler County, Alabama
  • Date of death: January 1, 1953 (29) in Oak Hill, West Virginia
  • Cause of death: Heart attack due to alcohol and drug use

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Hank Williams' enduring legacy is attributed to his distinctive vocal style that set a standard for authenticity in the genre. He pioneered the honky-tonk style of country music, which blended elements of gospel, folk, and blues. Numerous influential artists like Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Chuck Berry have covered his songs.

Who are the most popular male country singers today?

The industry has many popular male country singers now. The top 10 include:

  1. Luke Combs
  2. Morgan Wallen
  3. Kane Brown
  4. Thomas Rhett
  5. Jason Aldean
  6. Chris Stapleton
  7. Blake Shelton
  8. Dierks Bentley
  9. Florida Georgia Line (Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley)
  10. Dan + Shay (Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney)

Who was the most popular country singer in the 2000s?

The decade had several stars who made a mark. Famous male country singers of the 2000s include Tim McGraw, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley.

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What male country singers are gay?

Top gay male country musicians include Cameron Hawthorn, Ty Herndon, Billy Gilman, Orville Peck, Cody Belew, Drake Jensen, Waylon Payne, Paisley Fields, Mark Weigle, Steve Grand, Patrick Haggerty, Tommy Atkins, T. J. Osborne, Sam Williams, and Shane McAnally.

Gay male country musicians
Singers Sam Williams(L), Waylon Payne (C), and Shane McAnally (R). Photo: Gina Wetzler/Evan Agostini/Michael Loccisano (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

The above top male country singers continue to be celebrated for their timeless voices and enduring legacies that have shaped the country music landscape. Their work continues to captivate audiences across generations.

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