The 50 Most Popular Country Music Stars

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10. Elvis Presley
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 218
> Elvis Presley Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 6,310,372
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 10
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: Moody Blue (10 weeks)

One of the most iconic cultural figures of the 20th century, Elvis popularized rock and roll around the world and cultivated a celebrity that still sells albums today. His influence and output spanned multiple genres, including country, blues, pop, and gospel.

While Elvis’ cultural dominance is better demonstrated through his performance on the pop charts, his country credentials are impressive. The boy from Tupelo has seven No. 1 albums on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, and 12 Top-10 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart. To date, Elvis has sold over 146 million albums in the United States alone, making him the third best-selling recording artist of all time.

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9. Willie Nelson
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 671
> Willie Nelson Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 2,805,801
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 22
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: Always on My Mind (22 weeks)

The rough-hewn Texas troubador has posted 20 chart-topping singles on Billboard’s country charts, beginning with “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain” in 1975 and extending to “Beer for My Horses” in 2003. In between, the pony-tailed Nelson recorded some of the most recognizable country hits, like “Always On My Mind” in 1982, “To All The Girls I’ve Loved Before” in 1984, and “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys,” his 1978 duet with Waylon Jennings (see No. 17). A passionate populist, the 10-time Grammy winner was one of the organizers of Farm Aid in 1985 that aimed to provide relief for family farms.

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8. Tim McGraw
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 1230
> Tim McGraw Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 1,166,238
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 29
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: Not a Moment Too Soon (29 weeks)

Tim McGraw has piled up the accolades in his almost-30-year career: four No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200, 26 No. 1 country singles, three Grammys, 11 Country Music Association honors, and overall sales of more than 80 million records worldwide. Son of Mets and Phillies pitcher Tug McGraw and husband of country star Faith Hill (see No. 53), he has also had an acting career, with feature roles in a number of TV shows and movies such as “The Blind Side.”

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7. Dolly Parton
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 647
> Dolly Parton Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 5,739,210
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 10
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: 9 to 5 and Odd Jobs (10 weeks)

A country mega-star whose international fame crosses categories, Dolly Parton first recorded at the age of 13. At age 24, she had her first No. 1 country hit, “Joshua” — the first of many efforts to lead the country and pop charts. Collaborations with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris (see No. 72), Ricky Van Shelton (see No. 81), and many others followed, as did starring roles in such popular films as “9 to 5” (whose title song became Parton’s first No. 1 pop single) and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” Parton even co-owns her own theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

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6. Johnny Cash
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 802
> Johnny Cash Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 4,740,379
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 20
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: At San Quentin (20 weeks)

Johnny Cash’s decades-long career began with his first recordings at the fabled Sun Records in Memphis in the mid-1950s. This legendary country icon — known as “the Man in Black” — continued recording through the early 2000s (he died in 2003), culminating with his late-career American Recordings LPs. The latter albums featured songs by Tom Waits, Nick Lowe, and Beck, among others, and guest appearances by such musicians as Tom Petty, Mick Fleetwood, and Flea. Among his indelible hits were “I Walk the Line,” “Ring of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” and “A Boy Named Sue.” Cash had nine country singles chart-toppers and 11 No. 1 country albums.

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5. Kenny Rogers
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 557
> Kenny Rogers Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 4,326,017
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 25
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: Kenny (25 weeks)

Kenny Rogers tasted musical success during his stints with The New Christy Minstrels and The First Edition. His first major hit as a solo artist came with “Lucille” in 1977, a success on both the country and pop charts — establishing Rogers as a crossover artist almost from the start. Between 1978 and 1980, Rogers had nine straight No. 1 singles (including “The Gambler,” which became a signature for him and inspired a movie of the same name), later scored with duets with Dottie West and Dolly Parton (see No. 7), partnered in a fast-food chicken chain, and remained a major concert attraction even as his album sales slowed. Rogers passed away earlier this year.

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4. Alabama
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 964
> Alabama Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 1,461,978
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 28
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: Mountain Music (28 weeks)

Formed in Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1977 by cousins Randy Owen and Teddy Gentry, the group put country bands out front rather than in support of a singer, as had been the practice of country music acts. That may sound more like a rock act, and indeed the two-time Grammy winners were influenced by that genre, and they have had six songs chart in the top 40 Billboard Hot 100. But Alabama is a country group, as evidenced by their success on the Hot Country Songs list — 33 No. 1 hits, most of them charting in the 1980s, including “High Cotton” and “Face To Face.”

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3. George Strait
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 1779
> George Strait Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 985,261
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 6
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: Ocean Front Property (6 weeks)

The Texas-born Strait is an exemplar of traditional country music, and his influence has extended to more contemporary performers like Randy Travis (see No. 18), Dwight Yoakam (see No. 76), and Garth Brooks (see No. 1). Forty-four of his singles have topped the Billboard country chart, the first in 1982 (“Fool Hearted Memory”) and the last in 2009 (“River of Love”). Over that span, Strait has been nominated for a Grammy 16 times and has won once.

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2. Taylor Swift
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 444
> Taylor Swift Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 7,737,594
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 35
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: Fearless (35 weeks)

Taylor Swift is equally at home in the pop and country genres and has become one of the most powerful women in music. The Pennsylvania native has recorded five albums that have climbed to No. 1 on the country charts. Ninety-seven of Swift’s songs have reached the Billboard Hot 100, including five No. 1 hits, such as “Blank Space” (No. 1 for seven weeks) and “Shake It Off,” both in 2014. Swift was the best-selling recording artist of 2019, according to IFPI, the organization that represents the music industry worldwide. She earned that honor in 2014.

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1. Garth Brooks
> All time appearances on Billboard’s Hot Country chart: 895
> Garth Brooks Wikipedia page views in the last 12 months: 2,373,429
> All time weeks with any album at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart: 41
> Album with most No. 1 appearances: No Fences (41 weeks)

The most popular country music star on our list is Garth Brooks. The singer-songwriter from Oklahoma is the most prolific solo performer in U.S. history with more than 148 million albums sold. Seventeen albums went to No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, among them “No Fences,” “Ropin’ The Wind,” and “Fresh Horses.” He’s also had 19 No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs list, such as “Two Pina Coladas” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” The two-time Grammy Award winner is the only artist to have won seven Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year awards. He is married to fellow country music star Trisha Yearwood (see No. 56).