They’re the cowboys of the country music world, providing hundreds of classic hits that have defined generations. Fans wish they were them; new country artists want to be them.
Who are the best male country singers of all time? Find out below.
The Best 15 Male Country Singers of All Time
15. Kenny Chesney
Kenny Chesney’s got “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problems” selling out stadium tour after stadium tour with his beach-party, laid-back, feel-good hits.
It’s made him one of the day’s most popular male country singers, proven by his many awards and accolades.
He has won the CMA’s highest honor, Entertainer of the Year, a record of four times, second only to Garth Brooks seven. He also won the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year honor consecutively from 2005-2008.
14. Kenny Rogers
Kenny Rogers’ career was one for the books, both as a member of groups and a solo artist.
Following more than a decade with the First Edition, he began his solo career, giving us hits such as “Runaway Girl,” “Laura (What’s He Got That I Ain’t Got),” and “The Gambler.”
He also gave voice to some of country’s most beloved duets, including “Don’t Fall in Love With a Dreamer” with Kim Carnes, “Every Time Two Fools Collide” with Dottie West, and “Islands in the Stream” with Dolly Parton.
Even following his 2020 death, he remains one of the most beloved top male country singers ever.
Related: The 50 Best Country Songs from Jimmie Rodgers to Morgan Wallen
13. Glenn Campbell
For more than 50 years, Glenn Campbell won the hearts of many a country music fan as a dominating male country singer of the 60s and 70s.
His most notable hits included “Universal Soldier,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” “Rhinestone Cowboy,” and “Southern Nights.”
It’s no wonder he was honored with Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.
Related: The 15 Best Female Country Singers of All Time: Who Made the List?
12. Merle Haggard
“Mama Tried” and she succeeded.
With 38 No. 1. Hits on U.S. country charts and several Billboard all-genre singles, Merle Haggard remained among the most popular male country singers from the 1960s to the early 2000s.
He has been honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, a BMI Icon Award, and inductions into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.
Related: 20 of the Best Songs About Cowboys: Giddy Up!
11. Alan Jackson
Alan Jackson began “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” full-time in the late 1980s following his move to Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife Denise, eventually signing his first record deal with Arista Nashville in 1989.
He’s been one of the most popular male country singers ever since, releasing hits such as “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” “Midnight in Montgomery,” and “Chattahoochee.”
He has received several awards and accolades for his original songs and studio albums, including being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2017.
At the 2022 CMA Awards, he was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
10. Willie Nelson
Considered a living legend, Willie Nelson hasn’t slowed down since he burst onto the country music scene in the mid-1950s.
Recording what was considered outlaw country, he saw his most success as one of the top male country singers of the 1970s and 80s, with hits such as “On the Road Again,” “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” and “Pancho and Lefty.”
Recognized as an American Icon, his name even dons the Lifetime Achievement Award, which has been awarded by the Country Music Association every year since it was instituted in 2012, with Nelson serving as the first recipient.
Related: Willie Nelson’s Net Worth and Other Essential Facts
9. Roger Miller
The “King of the Road” provided the sound of Nashville for the 1960s, topping the charts with such hits as “Dang Me” and “England Swings.”
Roger Miller began his music career as a songwriter in the 1950s after serving in the U.S. Army Special Services Corps for three years.
Following his 1992 death from lung cancer, he was posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
His hits continue to be recorded by the top male country singers of today, including Alan Jackson’s rendition of “Tall, Tall Trees,” and Brooks and Dunn’s recording of “Husbands and Wives.”
8. Randy Travis
Releasing what can only be described as pure traditional country as one of the major male country artists of the 1980s, Randy Travis’ distinctive baritone vocals gave country music lovers songs such as “Diggin’ Up Bones,” “I Told You So,” and “Three Wooden Crosses.”
Even though he has been plagued by illness since the early 2010s, he continues to make public appearances to the delight of fellow country singers and fans alike.
All we can say is we’re “gonna love you forever. Forever and Ever, Amen.”
Related: 20 of the Best Songs About Cowboys: Giddy Up!
7. Hank Williams
Considered the original King of Country, Hank Williams’ seemingly short 15-year career wasn’t wasted, releasing 55 Top 10 singles, with 12 reaching No. 1 spot status.
Giving country music lovers songs such as “I Saw the Light,” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Peace in the Valley,” and “Hey Good Lookin’,” it’s no wonder his funeral service has been the largest held for any citizen of Alabama, attracting an estimated 15,000 to 25,000 mourners to visit his coffin.
Even 70 years after his death, he’s still regarded as one of the greatest and most popular male country singers in the world by the young male country singers of the day.
6. Conway Twitty
Women everywhere swooned when they heard that signature baritone growl sing “Hello Darlin,'” and subsequently established Conway Twitty as one of the great male country singers of romantic and sentimental songs.
That further continued during his long partnership with fellow country singer Loretta Lynn and their string of duets, including “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man,” and “After the Fire is Gone.”
Even after his death in 1993, his songs continued to be covered, most popularly by his grandson, Tre Twitty, in his musical partnership with Tayla Lynn, granddaughter of Loretta Lynn. Their popular tour, Twitty & Lynn: A Salute to Conway and Loretta, is still on the road.
5. Tim McGraw
Tim McGraw dominated as one of the most popular male country singers of the 1990s with a string of No. 1 hits, including “Just to See You Smile,” “It’s Your Love,” and “Don’t Take the Girl.”
His success only continued into the 2000s and beyond with songs such as “Live Like You Were Dying,” “Southern Voice,” and “Humble and Kind.”
McGraw has also found much success in his various duets with his wife, Faith Hill. Their 2006 Soul2Soul II Tour remains one of the highest-grossing tours in the history of country music and one of the top five across all genres.
His records have sold more than 80 million worldwide, earning him recognition as one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
4. Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks “Ain’t Goin’ Down (til the Sun Comes Up)” or anytime soon, really.
His voice dominated country airwaves from the very beginning, as he was established as the most notable male country singers of the 1980s and 1990s.
Although it looked as though we would lose the “Friends in Low Places” singer when he announced his retirement in 2001, four years later he returned to the limelight, signing an exclusive deal with Wal-Mart and putting on several Las Vegas Residencies.
His continued popularity as one of the top male country singers of all time has led to a staggering net worth of a mind-boggling $400 million in 2023.
Related: The 21 Best Drinking Songs to Raise Your Glass To
3. George Jones
He may have stopped loving her today, but we’ll never stop loving him.
Known widely as “The Possum” thanks to his distinctive facial features and the shape of his nose, George Jones first came on the country music scene in the early 1950s.
He remained one of the hottest names of male country singers throughout his several-decade career, which brought about more than 160 chart singles.
Along with his many beloved singles, including his most popular, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” he also graced us with many highly regarded duets with his third wife, Tammy Wynette, including “Near You” and “Golden Ring.”
2. Johnny Cash
In the line-up of most popular male country singers of all time, you’ll never not see “The Man in Black.”
His nearly 60-year career, from 1954 until his death in 2003, gave us some of the most iconic songs of all time, including “I Walk the Line,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” and “Ring of Fire.”
He has sold more than 90 million records worldwide and continues to be regarded as a legend in the world of country music.
Related: Johnny Cash’s Complete Story of Life and Death
1. George Strait
The reigning King of Country Music tops our list.
George Strait has 33 platinum or multi-platinum records, more than any other country artist in history. He’s third overall in the world of music behind only The Beatles and Elvis Presley.
He has sold more than 120 million records worldwide and is the only artist in history to achieve a Top 10 hit every year for three decades.
We hope this Cowboy Never Rides Away!
You might also enjoy:
Miley Cyrus’ Biography, Net Worth, and More
The 21 Best 60s Songs of All Time: Music That Defined a Decade
What is the 27 Club? A list of Singers and Musicians Who Died at the Age of 27