Somewhat lost in all the news about the coronavirus was the passing of country legend Kenny Rogers on March 20 at age 81. Beginning in the 1970s, the singer had an exceptional 36 Top 10 singles, 21 of which reached No. 1 on the Billboard country chart. Rogers was a prolific artist, and his many beloved hits will continue to live on.
And while Rogers, who often crossed over into the pop charts, has among the most hit songs in country music, there have been other artists who have released a greater number of singles to the charts throughout their careers.
24/7 Tempo has identified the country musicians with the most hits, based on the total number of songs to appear on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs charts dating back to 1958. Each of the artists on our list has had at least 50 songs rank in the 50th position on the chart or higher.
As with most types of music, the influence of pop hooks can greatly buoy a country musician’s career. More contemporary musicians such as Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton have scored as many hits as more traditional country musicians thanks to their willingness to produce what’s frequently considered pop-country. The influence of pop can also be seen among the best selling country albums of the last 10 years.
Yet more contemporary musicians, despite their crossover success, still fall way short of some artists who are historically considered to be the genre’s masters. Many musicians who peaked in popularity during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s still hold the records for most hits. In addition to pure number of hits, these artists have also released some of the most popular country songs of all time.
To determine the country musicians with the most hits, 24/7 Tempo identified the artists with the greatest total number of songs to appear on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart dating back to the chart’s beginning on Oct. 20, 1958. The Hot Country Songs chart is a 50-position chart that tracks the most popular country music songs based on radio airplay, sales, and, as of 2012, digital downloads and streaming.
Though the Hot Country Songs chart has at times ranked up to 100 songs per week, we have only considered the Top 50 songs at any point, so as to provide a more fair comparison between artists who charted during the more inclusive period and those that did not.
In instances where two artists have the same number of charting songs, the artist whose longest-charting song appeared on the chart for more weeks was given the higher rank.