Tip Your Hat to the 50s: the Best Country Songs from 1950-1959

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country music artist
Johnny Cash is one of country music’s biggest icons (photo via Ben Douwsma)

The 50s gave the country music world some of its best and most influential tunes. From Johnny Cash to Hank Williams, Sr. to George Jones, every country fan has to thank the 50s for the foundation of this genre.

5. “Hey, Good Lookin'” — Hank Williams, Sr.

Hank Williams, Sr., the father of country music. He had so many big songs that every song on this list could be his. 

Here are just a few:

  • “Long Gone Lonesome Blues”
  • “Why Don’t You Love Me”
  • “Moanin’ the Blues”
  • “Cold, Cold Heart”
  • “Jambalaya”
  • “Your Cheatin’ Heart”

These songs took over country radio in the 50s. “Hey, Good Lookin'” is just one that can represent all the rest. It was the No. 1 song for eight weeks and was elected to the Grammy Song Hall of Fame. 

Country fans will never forget this song or this man.

4. “I’m Moving On” — Hank Snow

Hank Snow is the definition of “rags-to-riches.” He had abusive parents, he ran away from home, worked on a fish trawler in the North Atlantic, and just lived on his own.

But music was always there for him. He played concerts all over the country, but eventually settled in Texas. Soon, he played at the Grand Ole Opry after his huge hit, “I’m Moving On.” This song is listed as No. 1 on the Top 100 No. 1 country hits of all time, according to Billboard.

3. “Walkin’ After Midnight” — Patsy Cline

This is the only song on this list that hasn’t reached No. 1. But that doesn’t mean it ain’t a great song. It did, however, reach No. 2 and is one of the most respected country songs of all time.

After she played this song on the TV show “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” in ’57, people finally realized she was going to be something special. But unfortunately, she passed away at the age of 30 (in 1963).

2. “I Walk The Line” — Johnny Cash

Who doesn’t know this song? This was Cash’s first No. 1 single of his career. He wrote this song for his then wife, Vivian Liberto, Roseanne Cash’s mother. 

And you know that unique “boom-chicka-boom” sound his band had? This was the song that established that for him. The song also became the title of the movie based on his career.

1. “The Wild Side of Life” / “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” — Hank Thompson / Kitty Wells

Hank Thompson got his first No. 1 hit in 1952 thanks to his song, “The Wild Side Of Lie.” The tune basically blames a woman for wrecking a relationship due to her honky-tonk lifestyle.  
 
But Kitty Wells had a response to that song, and it wasn’t in agreement. The same year, she released “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” Keep in mind, this was back when women didn’t speak up much, so this was brave.
 
Both of these songs are in the Grammy Song Hall of Fame.

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