Every Country Music Song of the Year Since 1967

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1977: Lucille
> Songwriter(s): Roger Bowling, Hal Bynum
> Performer / recording artist: Kenny Rogers
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 15 weeks between Feb. 12, 1977 and May 21, 1977

Kenny Rogers had his first major hit as a solo artist with this song after leaving The First Edition. It was composed by “outlaw country” songwriter Hal Bynum (“There Ain’t No Good Chain Gang,” “The Old, Old House”) in collaboration with Roger Bowling, who went on to co-write another Rogers hit, “Coward of the Country.”

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1978: Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue
> Songwriter(s): Richard Leigh
> Performer / recording artist: Crystal Gayle
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 16 weeks between July 16, 1977 and Oct. 29, 1977

This quintessential Crystal Gayle hit was one of the most performed country songs of the 20th century. Songwriter Richard Leigh penned eight No. 1 songs, and 14 that hit the top 10, for artists including Ray Charles, Tammy Wynette, Don Williams, Reba McEntire, and Alabama.

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1979: The Gambler
> Songwriter(s): Don Schlitz
> Performer / recording artist: Kenny Rogers
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 12 weeks between Oct. 28, 1978 and Jan. 13, 1979

“The Gambler” was a career-maker for both singer Kenny Rogers and songwriter Don Schlitz. Schlitz went on to write more than 20 No. 1 tunes and was named ASCAP’s Country Songwriter of the Year for four years running. Among his other hits were Randy Travis’s “Forever and Ever, Amen” and Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “I Feel Lucky.”

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1980: He Stopped Loving Her Today
> Songwriter(s): Bobby Braddock, Curly Putman
> Performer / recording artist: George Jones
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 15 weeks between April 26, 1980 and July 26, 1980

This George Jones tear-jerker has been called the greatest country song of all time. Its authors are Bobby Braddock (“D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” “[We’re Not] the Jet Set”) and Curly Putman, who also wrote Dolly Parton’s first chart hit, “Dumb Blonde,” as well as “Green, Green Grass of Home” and other country classics.

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1981: He Stopped Loving Her Today
> Songwriter(s): Bobby Braddock, Curly Putman
> Performer / recording artist: George Jones
> Number of weeks on Billboard 100: 15 weeks between April 26, 1980 and July 26, 1980

This was the second time, after Freddie Hart’s “Easy Loving” in 1971 and ’72, that the Country Music Association graced the same song with its highest songwriting honor two years in a row.