61 Best 80s Country Songs, So Many Classics

Best 80s Country Songs

The 80s were a fun time to be alive, birthing some of the greatest country songs in history. Many icons graced our radios with timeless classics, namely Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Keith Whitley and more.

Here is a list of the best 80s country songs that will bring back memories of the good ole days.

Contents

1. “I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton

Song Year: 1974 (Re-released in 1982)

Initially released in 1974, “I Will Always Love You” would go on to be re-released in the 80s, and it was so iconic that it was very successful on the charts for a second time.

Over the years, many talented artists have covered this particular song, and it never ceases to capture the audience's hearts because of the beautiful lyrics. Although commonly interpreted as a breakup song, Dolly wrote it as a goodbye to her producer.

2. “Highwayman” by Highwaymen

Song Year: 1985

Considered one of the best 80s country songs, “Highwayman” was the band's first number one hit! The powerful lyrics tell a story of four who meet up and reflect on their lives in the afterlife. This song carries a lovely tune in addition to making you think about some of the deeper meaning of life.

3. “Daddy's Hands” by Holly Dunn

Song Year: 1986

“Daddy's Hands” is a song that reflects Dunn's personal experience with being raised by her widowed father. The song's lyrics speak of the strength, love, and determination the father had to raise his kids properly. This classic country continues to live on and even remains popular until this day.

4. “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout the Good Old Days)” by The Judds

Song Year: 1985

This touching song is about a curious granddaughter who wants to know about her grandfather when he was younger. This successful song hit number one on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. It's likely thanks to the range of emotions that the song causes you to go through, making it a decided hit during its time.

5. “If Tomorrow Never Comes” by Garth Brooks

Song Year: 1989

“If Tomorrow Never Comes” tells an enthralling story about a man who desires to make the most out of each day if tomorrow never arrives. This song continues to be a hit and is one of Garth Brooks' most popular songs. This song appeals to people, not just country fans, so be sure to give it a listen.

6. “Seven Spanish Angels” by Ray Charles and Willie Nelson

Song Year: 1982

This song is about an outlaw and his woman on the run from a group whose job is to ship them back to Texas. They're eventually cornered and decide to fight. Amid this sequence of dramatic events, they hug one another before the final gunfight and pray to God, asking Him to keep them free after death. This is a heart-wrenching song that will surely leave you thinking.

7. “Meet Me in Montana” by Dan Seals and Marie Osmond

Song Year: 1985

This upbeat country song will get your heart racing and your feet dancing. The song is about two people who fall in love and cannot maintain a relationship because of work demands. They vow to meet in Montana one day so they can be together forever. This song induces a lot of positive feelings about love.

8. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones

Song Year: 1980

This song speaks of the kind of love that is hard to dream up. It's a love so powerful that it transcends spatial divide, as in the case of a long-distance relationship. However, the woman decides to break things off and tries to do so gently. She tells him he'll forget all about her to soften the blow.

The catch is that he never forgets. In the very first line of the song, he tells her that he'll love her until the day that he does. He goes on to keep his word.

9. “Think It Over” by Steve Earle

Song Year: 1986

“Think It Over” is about a man struggling with the momentous decision of whether or not to leave his family. This song perfectly encapsulates the range of conflicting emotions one has before making such a decision. This song embodies what it means to make tough decisions and makes for a great listen.

10. “Seven Year Ache” by Rosanne Cash

Song Year: 1981

“Seven Year Ache” is a song about overcoming heartbreak and love. It's a topic that many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. Billboard and Rolling Stone have named this tune one of the best 80s country songs ever. Over the years, many artists have covered this popular song.

11. “Queen of Hearts” by Juice Newton

Song Year: 1981

This song is about loving the wrong kind of person, the unreliable kind. Although you know this person is not good for you, you cannot stay away from them. The woman in the song is aware that she's being foolish; however, she's convinced that it will take a lot to keep her from being with him. The caveat is that if he continues to play hard to get, he could also miss out on her.

12. “Beneath Still Waters” by Emmylou Harris

Song Year: 1980

“Beneath Still Waters” is about a man who finds his consolation inside a bottle of whiskey because he cannot cope with his decision to allow the love of his life to leave. Critiques have been on record praising this song's dark beauty. The lyrics are moving, and it remains a fan favorite, even over two decades after its original release date.

13. “She's Crazy for Leaving” by Rodney Crowell

Song Year: 1988

This fast pace tune tells the riveting story of a woman who makes her escape for the song's narrator. He pleads for her not to leave despite his friends telling him to let her go. He continues pursuing her in his truck until he crashes and has to be pulled from the wreckage. She keeps going, refusing to even look back.

14. “I'd Love To Lay You Down” by Conway Twitty

Song Year: 1980

Twitty and his song, “I'd Love To Lay You Down,” tells a story of a man who is passionately in love with his wife. He says to her that despite all of the time they've been married, his love for her has been constant and never changing! Although there are rumblings that they're sexual undertones in the song, Twitty says that the music isn't meant to be taken in such a way.

15. “Woke Up in Love” by Exile

Song Year: 1983

“Woke Up in Love” seems to be about a guy who realizes he may have found the one he wants to spend his life with forever. He talks about how he's excited and has that giddy feeling while also being terrified of this onset of true love. The narrator details that everything feels right when he's in the arms of this woman who seems so much different than anyone he's been with before.

16. “Fishin' in the Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Song Year: 1987

The double meaning behind “Fishin' in the Dark” is very intriguing. The song is about a late-night encounter with a loved one as well as fishing. The melody is catchy, and you'll likely find yourself bobbing your head to the music at one point.

17. “Swingin’” by John Anderson

Song Year: 1982

This popular track details how a guy feels when he goes to a girl's house. He is delighted to spend time with her on her front porch, swinging alongside her. He talks about being filled with happy emotions and in disbelief that he's sitting next to this beautiful girl he loves.

18. “Killin' Time” by Clint Black

Song Year: 1989

“Killin' Time” is about how a man struggles to cope with the loss of his love, who has passed away. For him, time is actually harming or killing him because it seems as if it's lasting forever before his time to pass arrives. The song's narrator drinks a lot to pass the time as he pines for a love that is no longer possible.

19. “Dixieland Delight” by Alabama

Song Year: 1982

“Dixieland Delight” was named Song of the Year by the CMA, and it spent an impressive six weeks at number one. This song is intended to make you feel good, and it is an anthem, so to speak, about life in the south. The lyrics speak of an easy-going lifestyle where people have the freedom to have fun with good food, family, and friends.

20. “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton

Song Year: 1980

Inspired by the women's activist organization 9to5, this organization of women decided they were at their wit's end. They were emboldened, fed up, and determined to bring about equal treatment and fair pay for women in the workplace. This is a nice tune that reflects real-life events, and it's neat to listen to it from time to time to remember the movement.

21. “A Country Boy Can Survive” by Hank Williams Jr.

Song Year: 1981

“A Country Boy Can Survive” highlights working-class Americans' ability to survive in any situation, no matter what challenges may emerge. This song unashamedly glorified old-fashioned values, as it should. Everyone has a connection to their upbringing, and this simplistic way of life has a beauty to it that this song highlights.

22. “I Believe in You” by Don Williams

Song Year: 1980

This genuine song invokes the power of love and its ability to overcome no matter what comes before you in this present life. Love is powerful enough to brave the toughest of obstacles. The singer reveals that he believes more in the love he shares with his girl than the sum of all the truths in the world.

23. “Elvira” by The Oak Ridge Boys

Song Year: 1981

“Elvira” is a happy, fun song and seemingly about being excited to see a girl named Elvira. He wants to take her out and enjoy her company. Many people think this song is inspired by a girl from the singer's past, but it is actually about a street of the same name in East Nashville.

24. “Could I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray

Song Year: 1980

“Could I Have This Dance” is a romantic song that expresses the desire to have someone to dance with forever. Murray perfectly describes the beauty of slow dance. If a heartfelt song dripping in romance is what you're looking for, then this is the song for you.

25. “Bop” by Dan Seals

Song Year: 1985

The song talks about a nostalgic love while recalling how many things have changed throughout their relationship. The song's narrator makes sure the woman knows he's still into her and is after the memories they shared, continuing like they're young again.

26. “Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” by Kathy Mattea

Song Year: 1987

“Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses” is about a hardworking man choosing to retire after thirty years of truck driving to spend time with his wife. The man's name is Charlie, and he goes on to receive a gold watch as his retirement gift. This unique song is undoubtedly sentimental and heartfelt.

27. “All My Exes Live in Texas” by George Strait

Song Year: 1987

This song is about a man that has been in many relationships and incurred many heartaches. Interestingly, the only consolation he can get from the ordeal is that all of them reside in Texas. This catchy song is light-hearted and remains popular even after 30 years.

28. “Do Ya” by K.T. Oslin

Song Year: 1987

This famous track is about a woman asking her husband if he still loves her. She asks whether she elicits the same feelings out of him as she did when they first met.

It's a cute, relatable song because it's the thought that creeps into your mind after being married for so long. It's just nice to be reassured that you still give your partner butterflies!

29. “Guitars, Cadillacs” by Dwight Yoakam

Song Year: 1986

“Guitars, Cadillacs” seems to serve as a way to speak against what country music was warping into during the '80s. According to the song's lyrics, the artist was tired of Nashville's penchant for chewing up and spitting out talent. The theme appears to be a bit acerbic for this very reason.

30. “Country Boy” By Ricky Skaggs

Song Year: 1984

This classic song describes the ideal life in the country. If you enjoy spending time outdoors, or perhaps you're a rancher or a farmer, this song will appeal to you. The upbeat melody and smooth vocals make it one of the most popular country songs.

31. “I'll Still Be Loving You” by Restless Heart

Song Year: 1986

“I'll Still Be Loving You” is a song about undying devotion; for this reason, this song is used in tons of wedding ceremonies as a sign of such permanent and unrelenting love. The lyrics declare that they will always need their lover until the end. This is truly the love that we all aspire to have one day.

32. “Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On” by Mel McDaniel

Song Year: 1984

This classic country music song is about a woman who captures everyone's attention when she wears her blue jeans. She can't help that people look at her the way they do or that all heads turn when she enters the room because she has that certain aura that draws people to her looks. It's a catchy and fun song to listen to while cruising down the highway.

33. “Looking for Love” By Johnny Lee

Song Year: 1980

“Looking for Love” is a classic country song that gets you thinking about your love life and where you've been searching for love. Lee is singing about trying to find someone that will fulfill his desires for love, but he's looking at all the wrong women and in all the wrong places.

Now that he's finally found the one who will reciprocate his love, he doesn't have to go on looking.

34. “Starting Over Again” by Dolly Parton

"Starting Over Again" by Dolly Parton

Song Year: 1980

This track was written by Donna Summer and her husband, Bruce Sudano. They said it was a story about how her husband's parents split up as a child. They were married for 30 years, but toward the song's end, they're starting over because they got married at such a young age without experiencing life.

35. “I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool” by Barbara Mandrell

Song Year: 1981

Barbara Mandrell says she recalls being teased in school when she was younger by other kids who called her a hillbilly. They made fun of how she dressed, the music she liked, and other things that didn't seem cool at the time. During this time, country music is exploding, and she's reminding everyone that she was country before it became a cool indulgence.

36. “Smoky Mountain Rain” by Ronnie Milsap

Song Year: 1980

“Smoky Mountain Rain” is a soulful song that tells the story of a man hitchhiking to Tennessee to find a woman he loves who left him. The lyrics suggest that though she left him, he's on a search to reunite with her and see her again as he traverses the Smoky Mountains.

37. “Set ‘Em Up Joe” by Vern Gosdin

Song Year: 1988

This song is a tribute to Ernest Tubb, Vern Gosdin's favorite country music musician. The song mentioned in the lyrics, “Walking the Floor,” is a classic sung by Tubb. A victrola is a jukebox, and the music is talking about playing tunes that the narrator likes while getting drinks set up by “Joe,” the bartender. Essentially, it's a fun night at the local bar while jamming to your favorite songs!

38. “Redneck Girl” by The Bellamy Brothers

Song Year: 1982

“Redneck Girl” is one of those somewhat controversial country songs of the 1980s. Many view it as a song of empowerment about a confident and beautiful southern girl who doesn't mind embracing her redneck roots. Others feel that the music is more derogatory and shouldn't feed into the stereotype of people from the south.

39. “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers And Dolly Parton

Song Year: 1983

“Islands in the Stream” is a beautiful love song that speaks to being with someone you want to be with forever. The lyrics suggest that the two lovers are islands in the stream, facing the world's problems together, not worried about anyone else. The melody is lovely when paired with the captivating vocals of Rogers and Parton on this classic duet.

40. “When You Say Nothing at All” by Keith Whitley

Song Year: 1988

Many country music enthusiasts believe that “When You Say Nothing at All” is one of the best country songs of the 80s. The idea that two people are so in love that they can “speak” to one another without words is a beautiful sentiment.

Being in tune with someone to the point that they understand how you feel and how much you love them without uttering a word is the kind of message that tugs at our heartstrings.

41. “Always on My Mind” by Willie Nelson

Song Year: 1982

In “Always on My Mind,” the singer is apologizing and confiding in his partner about how he's been neglecting to tell her how he feels, even though she's always on his mind. He thinks about how he could have been a better man to her and wishes he would have made her his main priority in the physical as she was in the mental.

He hopes that she'll give him a chance to make it up to her, reassuring her that his inaction was never a reflection of how he truly felt.

42. “The Church on Cumberland Road” by Shenandoah

Song Year: 1989

This upbeat song highlights a situation many of us hope we never find ourselves in as long as we live! The singer has been out all night with friends, and now he's late for his own wedding.

During the song, you can tell that every passing minute feels like an eternity. He feels like it's taking so long to get to the church, and he doesn't know if she'll be waiting there still.

43. “Forever and Ever, Amen” by Randy Travis

Song Year: 1987

Many people who ascribe to Christianity say, “Forever and ever, amen.” This type of belief that what you've spoken will be done is also reflected in this song. Travis makes a promise to always be faithful and love his woman, even if he made many bad decisions when he was younger. He promises that he's locked in forever this time.

44. “Whoever's in New England” by Reba McEntire

Song Year: 1986

Many women in a committed relationship (guys too) may be able to identify with that fear of infidelity that you might experience. This song tells the story of a woman's fear coming true.

Reba sings that whenever the woman he sees in New England is done with him, he knows he still has a place back home with her waiting. The song's message is kind of toxic, but some people still find it romantic.

45. “I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt

Song Year: 1980

Eddie Rabbitt sings a catchy song that mentions loving the sight of the rain and how a storm can be calming, washing away your worries. The lyrics are simple, so much so that many kids also end up loving this song. It's also a fun song to play on one of those rainy days where you feel at peace.

46. “Lady” by Kenny Rogers

Song Year: 1980

Talk about a smooth country song that makes you feel the lyrics! “Lady” is sentimental, romantic, and a classic wedding song. It's a delightful listening experience as Rogers serenades you with his vocals and acoustic guitar. Plain and simple, he's letting his lady know how much she means to him and how much he loves her.

47. “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood

Song Year: 1984

“God Bless the USA” is amongst the most popular patriotic songs of the 80s. It has become the anthem for many troops on their way to fight for the freedoms of many, presidential inaugurations, and challenging times in the country. The lyrics are powerful, and they resonate with many who feel fortunate to be a citizen of the United States.

48. “You and I” by Eddie Rabbitt and Crystal Gayle

Song Year: 1982

“You and I” is a crowd-pleaser for sure. It speaks of a loving bond between a guy and his girl while predicting resiliency and happiness in their future. This duet by Gayle and Rabbitt is about an ever-growing love beginning from the first time they meet. The man tells his love interest that he loves her more now than before.

49. “I'll Leave This World Loving You” by Ricky Van Shelton

Song Year: 1988

This track is about a guy that declares he'll always love a girl no matter what, even though she has left him. It's not clear whether physically or through death. He tells her that if they ever meet again in the physical realm, he'll always be there, loving her until the end.

50. “You Decorated My Life” by Kenny Rogers

Song Year: 1980

Talk about waterworks! “You Decorated My Life” is a passionate song that makes you think about your decisions and seek happiness. A man is thinking about the status of his relationship and how much she means to him. He says that his life was once like a plain white piece of paper, which has become colorful and alive since she came along.

51. “Jose Cuervo” by Shelly West

Song Year: 1983

Jose Cuervo is a popular drink; no wonder there's a whole song about it! The song is about a wild night of drinking and a woman waking up next to a guy she doesn't know.

She asks what things she did the night before while taking shots of Jose Cuervo and admits that she doesn't know where this new guy comes from. Throughout the song, she details how she likes to drink the Cuervo and says to herself that he's awfully cute.

52. “How Blue” by Reba McIntyre

Song Year: 1984

Reba goes all out in this gut-wrenching song about reaching the inevitable conclusion of a love affair. The lyrics detail a woman's pain in ending something that brings her joy. She wonders how long she'll have to suffer before the pain of losing the one she loves is gone.

53. “Memphis in the Meantime” by John Hiatt & The Goners

Song Year: 1987

“Memphis in the Meantime” provides insight into how Hiatt got tired of living in the “Music City” and decided that he wanted to experience something more exciting and gritty. He felt like Nashville was too earnest and thought changing the music style would be the best way to get a change of scenery. Bluff City, anyone? He knows this message might not go over so well in Nashville!

54. “If My Heart Had Windows” by Patty Loveless

Song Year: 1988

“If My Heart Had Windows” is a declaration of love where the narrator tells her lover that if he could see into her heart, he'd be able to see the amount of love she holds for him. He'd be able to see all the memories she holds near and dear and see she's ready to live out the rest of her life with him until they're both old and gray.

55. “From a Distance” by Nanci Griffith

Song Year: 1987

This relatable song talks about what the world looks like from a distance, even though that's not what it is when you get up close. It's sort of like the notion where something looks ok at first until you get closer and see the dysfunction firsthand.

It makes you think about a world where we could live in harmony and allow others and the planet itself to flourish.

56. “Miami, My Amy” by Keith Whitley

Song Year: 1985

“Miami, My Amy” is a song about a long-distance relationship where a man pines to be around the woman he loves after meeting her in Miami. He returns to Los Angeles and calls her, and she asks him to come back because she loves him. He tells her he was waiting to hear those words and was on his way back to bed because he was eager to be with her again.

57. “Southern Accents” by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Song Year: 1985

Petty proudly sings about being from the south and his love for southern accents. The song focuses on living in the deep southern states of America and enjoying country life. You can imagine cornfields, pickup trucks, and authentic southern hospitality when you hear the passion with which he sings the lyrics.

58. “Good Year for the Roses” by Elvis Costello

Song Year: 1981

“Good Year for the Roses” is about a marriage falling apart. When you listen to the lyrics, the title implies that you shouldn’t say anything if you don't have something nice to say. The marriage has deteriorated to the point that it's better just to mention that it was a good year for their roses since the union has come to nothing.

59. “Mama He's Crazy” by The Judds

Song Year: 1984

The Judds bring us this country classic that echoes the sentiments of how mothers want to teach their daughters to be strong and vigilant, especially as it pertains to love. They teach us what love should look like, and as we age and find romance, often, their words find their way back into our minds.

The song reflects a girl who's careful not to just trust anyone, and she thinks the guy she's fallen for must be crazy or sent from above.

60. “The Chair” by George Strait

Song Year: 1985

“The Chair” by George Strait is a witty song that centers around a guy trying to start a conversation with an attractive woman by informing her that she's in his charge at the bar. The talk becomes increasingly intimate until she finally gives in and lets the narrator drive her home.

61. “I'm Gonna Love Her on the Radio” By Charley Pride

Song Year: 1988

In this 80s country classic, the singer is saying he will declare his love for a special lady all over the radio, whether it gets reciprocated or not. He says he'll let everyone know how badly she treated him, and while she may not care now, she will eventually.

It's almost like he's saying he'll wear her down and make her remember their love, even if she doesn't want to get reminded.

Top Country Songs Of The 80s, Final Thoughts

What did you think of our list? These are some of the best 80s country songs that you should check out in your spare time! There's a mix of sad, happy, thought-provoking, and encouraging songs that will take you back to the high fashion, big hair, country music explosion in the 1980s. Enjoy!

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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