Country music is rooted in a variety of musical traditions, including American and British folk, jazz, blues and rhythm and blues, cowboy song, Appalachian string orchestras, and church music from South. It began to merge from these influences and become its own thing by the turn of the 20th century, and by the 1920s it had grown into a viable commercial genre in its own right.
This genre has changed dramatically over the last century, becoming more popular than ever as it expanded to include variations such as the Western swing and later “Outlaw Country” and “Land of party, ”adopted elaborate studio production values and opened up to collaborations with pop. , folk rock and even hip-hop.
To determine the 100 most popular country music albums of all time, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on the number of weeks spent on an album. Billboard’s Top Country Albums Chart and its certified sales in the United States according to Recording Industry Association of America. Only albums with at least one Platinum certification from the RIAA or unit sales of at least one million were considered. (For a different ranking, check out every country music album of the year since 1967.)
Click here to view the 100 most popular country music albums of all time
The results span over half a century, from 1968 to the present day. Among the artists represented are cultural icons such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson; numerous “hat acts” (so named for their headgear on stage) including Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks and Toby Keith; and country queens like Shania Twain, The Chicks and Taylor Swift (whose latest music is now much more pop than country) – among many others. (These are the 50 greatest country music stars of all time.)
Whatever the details, these albums represent one of America’s greatest musical traditions.