Boiling down Buck Owens songs into a small handful of essential tracks is no easy task. This prolific singer-songwriter actually managed to record over 40 remarkable studio albums as well as eight live albums within just three decades.
In the middle of the 1960s, Owens ruled the country music, producing songs that dominated the country charts and consistently crossed over into pop. In fact, he placed nearly 50 singles in the Top 10 on the industry-leading Billboard country chart, wherein 20 of that went to the top spot.
By almost any measure, Owens was one of the most successful country artists throughout the century. And his legacy is still evident in the music of country music stars today. After all, he has pioneered a unique and fresh sound rooted in the traditions and what has come to be called the Bakersfield sound – a twangy, rock-influenced interpretation of hardcore honky tonk.
So, without further ado, we’re giving you some of Buck Owens‘ greatest hits. Well, one could argue that dozens of selections should be added to this list, but we’ll try our best to sum up Owens’ greatest recordings.
1. Act Naturally
You might think of Ringo Starr’s version when you hear this song as it became a featured performance number of his in their concerts, but “Act Naturally” was actually originally recorded by Owens and the Buckaroos in 1963. It was Owens’ first song to reach No. 1 on the country chart, instantly turning him into a sterling country music superstar.
2. Love’s Gonna Live Here
This tender ballad “Love’s Gonna Live Here” made history when it spent sixteen weeks at the top spot of the country chart. After its remarkable finish at No. 1, no other song has spent more than ten weeks atop for nearly 50 years. Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” beat the record in 2013.
3. Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass
Featuring an opening electric guitar riff and what is called the fuzztone in country music, “Who’s Gonna Mow Your Grass?” tells the story of a man cleverly pleading his case to his fickle sweetheart. He’s hoping she’d take him back in by reminding her about all the tedious chores he willingly performs.
4. I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail
One of Owens’ signature tunes, this 1964 hit features the Bakersfield sound in country music. He co-wrote the song with notable songwriter Harlan Howard and made it famous with the Buckaroos. “I’ve Got a Tiger By The Tail” is actually the country band’s biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 25.
5. Ruby (Are You Mad)
This may be Owens’ most underrated country hit, but it’s something you can never ignore. After all, the song has everything: huge, echoey band vocals, blazing guitar picking, and toe-tapping rhythm lines.
6. Waitin’ in Your Welfare Line
While the song comes with a bit of a folksy, bluesy rock tinge, the way its main argument is defined over a sole, repeating metaphor makes it a pure classic country.
The song’s lively electric guitar solo at the opening is enough to sweep you off your feet, what more when the drums kick in, and the rest of the band fall in. So, it’s no surprise when this instrumental number topped the Billboard country chart – and it’s the last one to do so!
8. How Long Will My Baby Be Gone
If this tender ballad sounds familiar to you, it’s because it’s still being performed at certain Disney parks’ Country Bear Jamboree attractions.
9. My Heart Skips a Beat
“My Heart Skips a Beat” did not only give Owens another No. 1 country hit, but it also helped him earn Best Country and Western Vocal Performance nomination in Grammy Awards.
10. Hot Dog
Interestingly, Owens fell under Elvis Presley’s spell as well, so he decided to record a series of Presley-inspired rockabilly tracks. However, afraid that it would hurt his growing status in country music, he recorded it under the pseudonym Corky Jones. This includes “Hot Dog,” which is highly remembered as one of his most enjoyable efforts.
11. I Don’t Care (Just as Long as You Love Me)
Owens continued his string of No. 1 hits with this easy-going country gem, “I Don’t Care,” which impressively spent six weeks at No. 1 and a total of twenty-seven weeks on the country chart.
12. Together Again
The song was released as the B-side to Owens’ No. 1 hit, “My Heart Skips a Beat.” But what makes this country ballad stand out was steel guitarist Tom Brumley’s performance, which is widely considered as one of the best steel guitar solos in country music’s history.
13. Save the Last Dance for Me
Several notable artists have recorded “Save the Last Dance for Me” ever since the Drifters first released it in 1960. This includes Owens, whose cover version in 1962 peaked at No. 11 on the country charts.
14. Sam’s Place
Another No. 1 hit by Owens, the song finds the country legend singing about a honky-tonk called “Sam’s Place,” of which the man in the song is a regular all-night patron.
15. Your Tender Loving Care
Released as the title track off Owens’ 1967 album, “Your Tender Loving Care” built a new record when it reached No. 1. It made Owens the first artist to have the most No. 1 songs in as many single releases.
Some More Buck Owens Songs Within His Thriving Career
After multiple highlights in his career, Buck Owens’ recording profession faded both commercially and artistically. He stopped recording by the 1980s and shifted his attention in managing his business empire in Bakersfield. Still, the influence of his timeless hits goes on. Here are some more hits by Owens.
So, did you enjoy this list of Buck Owens songs?