Wynette’s “Man” Stands Up
Country music stands behind “Stand by Your Man.”
The Hillary Clinton-mocked, Tammy Wynette-crooned ballad has been hailed as the all-time greatest cowpoke song in a survey conducted by Country Music Television.
In all, CMT polled singers, songwriters and other members of the Country Music Association to compile a list worthy of the American Film Institute, ranking the top 100 cheatin’, cryin’, Chevy-drivin’ classics.
The big ol’ picks were revealed Wednesday night during a concert at Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville featuring performances of the top 12 selections.
The special, hosted by LeAnn Rimes and Brad Paisley, is scheduled to air Sunday as part of a six-hour programming block, starting at 4 p.m. (ET/PT), dedicated to the hee-haw hundred.
Rounding out the ditty dozen: George Jones’ don’t-miss-the-last-verse “He Stopped Loving Her Today”; Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” (written, and also performed, by Willie Nelson); Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”; Hank Williams Sr.’s “Your Cheatin’ Heart”; Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places”; Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces”; Glen Campbell’s “Galveston”; Charlie Rich’s “Behind Closed Doors”; Waylon Jennings’ and Willie Nelson’s self-explanatory “Mommas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys”; Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky”; and George Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning.”
Of that group, only Jones and Campbell were on hand Wednesday to warble their hits.
No word on where the likes of Brooks and Strait were. Nelson, 70 and still strumming strong, likely was prepping to go “On the Road Again,” another of his signature songs, albeit one strangely missing from the top 100.
Others needed no excuses to explain their absences. Cash is mourning the recent death of wife June Carter Cash, a country legend in her own right who cowrote “Ring of Fire.” Wynette, Jones’ former wife, died in 1998; Williams Sr. drank himself to death in 1953; Rich passed in 1995; Jennings, in 2002; bluegrass great Monroe, in 1996. Cline was killed in a plane crash in 1963.
Rimes, whose 1996 chart debut, “Blue,” evoked Patsy Cline, did Patsy Cline on Wednesday, crooning “I Fall to Pieces.” Other performers included American Idol’s Kimberly Locke, who went “Crazy”; and Ray Charles, who unlocked “Behind Closed Doors.”
Charles, typically associated with the blues, soul and gospel genres, made the CMT list on his own with “I Can’t Stop Loving You” (49th place).
Another crossover act to make the cut: the Eagles, who charted with “Desperado” (46th).
Shania Twain’s country-pop blend didn’t go down as well with voters as record buyers. The best-selling diva placed but one song, “You’re Still the One” (77th).
Overall, new acts took a back seat to the hitmakers of the 1960s and 1970s. The Dixie Chicks (“Wide Open Spaces,” 22nd), Faith Hill (“Breathe,” 38th) and Tim McGraw (“Please Remember Me,” 84th) received just one nod each. Hill and McGraw, however, did rate as a team for their duet, “It’s Your Love,” ranked 67th.
Even a fictional act made the cut. The Soggy Bottom Boys, the bluegrass group fronted by George Clooney in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, landed at number 20 with “Man of Constant Sorrow.”
Veterans such as Cash charted five times, Nelson four times (if you count “Crazy”) and Cline three times. Wynette rated a second selection for her “Stand by Your Man” follow-up, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E.”
Topics for potential arguments: Alan Jackson’s September 11-inspired tune, “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” making the list (28th) and Toby Keith’s September 11-inspired “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” not. Or, Jeannie C. Riley’s “Harper Valley PTA” (34th place) and Johnny PayCheck’s “Take This Job and Shove It” (93rd) rating mentions, and Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” not.
And what of the Oak Ridge Boys’ “Elvira”?
Oom poppa oom poppa–no.
Wynette’s “Man” Stands Up