StoriesBehindCountryMusicsGreatestHits

Collins sifted the country music charts and annals; solicited the opinions of historians, disc jockeys, producers, songwriters, and performers; and then enlisted unnamed experts to whittle a list of about 500 all-time great country songs down to 100 that are "not necessarily the best" or the "records with the highest sales," he says, but the "most important" for a variety of reasons. Whatever. Country music lovers will hum (lyrics are not included) their way through this book full of song stories. As they do, they'll read about the stars who made the songs hits as well as about the (often) not-stars who wrote them. The 100 songs appear chronologically in the order in which they hit the charts (so the hoary bluegrass standard "Uncle Pen" doesn't appear until 1986). First up is "Casey Jones," a 1910 million seller, and the latest is the 1992 Reba McEntire scorer "Is There Life Out There?" Face it, any kind of real American library has to have this book.

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