In the past, female country singers were not known much. It was difficult for women to make a name in country music. Most of the known country singers were men, but that did not stop the likes of Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, and others to shine.
Since this month is known to be Women’s International Month, we are, therefore, going to celebrate the women of country music.
We listed here the top ten best country songs performed by a female country singer. The names of the songs are not arranged in any particular order. Some country songs may have not made our list but, they are still as great as the top ten.
Top Ten Country Songs by Female Country Singers
“Jolene” by Dolly Parton
This song about a tough woman asking another lady to back off from her husband was penned by none other than Dolly Parton. “Jolene” was considered a standard country song, and Parton’s signature song. It was written in 1973 as part of her same-titled album.
Parton shared that the song was actually based on a young woman who was flirting with her husband. The real name of the woman wasn’t mentioned. Therefore, who is Jolene? Jolene is the name of Parton’s fan who came on stage to ask for an autograph.
“Jolene” was Parton’s second number one song. It took her two years before she reached the top of the chart and began having hit songs. Furthermore, “Jolene” also entered charts on the UK, Australia, and Canada. It also secured a spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart.
That’s why don’t ever mess with these strong country singers, or else they’ll turn it into a song. In some of which, you might not like to be in.
“I Will Always Love You” by Dolly Parton
Yes, Parton is in our list again. We can’t resist including it in here. It’s not only because of Parton, but the song was also covered by Whitney Houston.
Is It a Love Song?
Many see this as a country love song, but Parton intended this single to be a parting song to her long-time partner and mentor in country music, Porter Wagoner. Even though Wagoner was not happy about Parton’s decision, he eventually accepted it. He was in tears when he heard Parton sing this song to him. How could you not cry when someone so dear to you wrote a song like this right? They parted ways, and Dolly’s career took off.
Parton recorded the song in 1973 and released it as a single the following year. “I Will Always Love You” hit the top of the country chart, and secured positions on charts outside of the US.
Since the song was needed again for the movie The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Parton went to record yet another version. Surprisingly, it hit the chart again at number one. It is a rare occurrence for the same artists to record the same song and place at number one. But, Parton did it. No wonder it’s one of the best country songs.
“Crazy” by Patsy Cline
This timeless, classic country song by Patsy Cline is definitely on our list. It is known to be one of her signature songs, and it became her follow up tunes to her hit single “I Fall to Pieces.”
“Crazy” was written by Willie Nelson back on those days when he was not yet an established country singer. It was first pitched to Billy Walker and then to Roy Drusky. But, both of these artists declined the offer as they believed that the song better fits a female singer.
Patsy Cline Records “Crazy”
Cline only recorded the song when her producer arranged the tune for her. She was not a fan of the original version but, when it was turned into a ballad, Cline finally recorded the song. It took a while before the final recording happened because, during those times, Cline was recovering from an accident. When it came out, it became a hit not only for Cline but for Nelson too.
It was only Cline who had the highest charting version of “Crazy” on the country chart. It landed at number two on the Billboard Country and Adult Contemporary. In addition, it made an appearance on the pop chart.
Something good to know, Nelson planned to name the song “Stupid” instead of “Crazy.” But, we think “Crazy” sounds better.
“Coal Miner’s Daughter” by Loretta Lynn
When it comes to music, movies, or books, we always appreciate it when what was written is based on someone’s life. This makes us connected to that person on a personal level. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is one of those country songs that was based on the author’s life.
In 1969, Loretta Lynn wrote and recorded her autobiographical song “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” When she released the song, it became a great hit for her, and it turned into her signature song.
A Look Into “Coal Miner’s Daughter”
Lynn returned back to her childhood days when she was raised by her parents. As you can see in the song, Lynn mentions how her father was able to raise his children with the little money he has. She also mentions how her mother always reads the Bible to them. Basically, we see Lynn when she was young and innocent. We witness the hardships in her life, which she was never ashamed to let people know. When Lynn gave the fans a look into her life, many of them appreciated it. As a result, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” placed at number one on both the US and Canadian chart.
“Coal Miner’s Daughter” did not only became the title of Lynn’s song, but it was also adapted as the title for her autobiography and movie.
“Coat of Many Colors” by Dolly Parton
“I do have have a personal favorite, and it is “Coat of Many Colors.” To me, it’s more than a song. It’s an attitude. It’s a philosophy. It speaks about family. It’s anti-bullying. It just covers so many things.”
From the Bible to Real Life
“Coat of Many Colors” may have a biblical background but, it’s not exactly like the story of Parton. In the Bible, Joseph’s coat of many colors was given to him as a sign of honor because he was his fathers favorite. Meanwhile, Parton’s coat of many colors brought her ridicule. Her classmates teased her because of it.
“Coat of Many Colors” was written by Parton in 1969 while she was on tour with Porter Wagoner. She wrote the song at the back of Wagoner’s dry cleaning receipt.
This inspiring and another autobiographical song gained a spot on the country chart. Aside from entering the chart, the song was turned into an illustrated children’s book in 1996, and a movie in 2015.
“Stand by Your Man” by Tammy Wynette
Even though he’s hard to understand
And if you love him oh be proud of him,
‘Cause after all he’s just a man
Stand by your man.
Tammy Wynette overthrew her song “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” when she released her hit single “Stand by Your Man.” Some thought that “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” was going to be her signature song but, it wasn’t. This controversial song that triggered some feminist group was the one that made her a superstar in country music.
Performance of the Song on the Chart
“Stand by Your Man” was penned by Billy Sherrill and Wynette in 1968. When it was released as a single, it hit the top of the Billboard country chart. Furthermore, Wynette gained recognition outside of the US as her song had also placed at number one on other charts.
Although it was a hit, Wynette spent her whole life defending the song from feminist groups, and people who criticized the song to be anti-feminist.
“I Fall to Pieces” by Patsy Cline
Patsy Cline’s first number one song on the country chart was almost not recorded by Cline. There were multiple reasons as to why she didn’t want to record the song. First, she was afraid to work with the group The Jordanaires because they might drown her voice when the song is recorded. Another reason was that Cline despised the arrangement her producer made. However, despite all of these, Cline ended giving us a superb version of “I Fall to Pieces.”
A Classic Country Song
This classic piece became a standard country song and was also considered to be one of the earliest pure country songs to cross over the pop chart. Furthermore, Rolling Stone included this as one of the Greatest Songs of All Time.
Before Patsy Cline
“I Fall to Pieces” was written by Hank Cochran and Harlan Howard. It was first given to Brenda Lee and Roy Drusky, but both of them refused the song with their own reasons.
“Fancy” by Reba McEntire and Bobbie Gentry
The Story of the Song
Aside from the performances of these singers, the song has an amazing story. “Fancy” shows us the difficulty of living in poverty that the mother in the song spends their last money to make her daughter look good. She wanted her daughter to find a rich man and get out of their poor life.
We didn’t have money for food or rent
To say the least we was hard-pressed
When Momma spent every last penny we had
To buy me a dancin’ dress.
Gentry is truly an amazing storyteller because before “Fancy” became a song, it was a short story written in her diary.
Bobbie Gentry’s Version
Her rendition reached number twenty-six on the country chart, and it also secured a spot on the Adult Contemporary and Hot 100 chart.
Reba McEntire’s Version
After twenty-two years, the country singer Reba McEntire took Gentry’s song into the spotlight. Her rendition of “Fancy” reached number eight on the chart. McEntire almost didn’t record the song because her producer won’t allow her to do so. However, after changing her producer, she eventually covered “Fancy.” Now what was known to be a Gentry classic became McEntire’s signature song.
“9 to 5” by Dolly Parton
Working a 9 to 5 job or any kind of job is stressful, especially when all you do is work and your dreams go nowhere. This is what Parton’s song “9 to 5” is all about. It’s a story about a hardworking woman, whose efforts are not recognized. To top it up, she has to deal with a difficult boss.
They just use your mind
And you never get the credit
It’s enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it
Parton wrote the song for the film she was starring in. The movie 9 to 5 came from the name of an organization that fights for the equal treatment of women in their workplace.
Performance of the Song
The song written was first included in her album 9 to 5 and Odd jobs in 1980. When the song was released in the same year, it reached number one on three charts of the US. Furthermore, it secured positions on charts from the UK, Australian, Canada, and more.
“Man! I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain
Last in our list of top ten country songs from female country singers is Shania Twain‘s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.” This female empowering song captured the hearts of many listeners making Twain’s single placed at number four on the country chart. However, it was not only in the US that the song gained recognition. “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” also made an appearance on charts outside of the US.
This now became her signature song, and it also won her a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. This Twain-penned single celebrates and empowers every woman who listens to this song.
Other Country Songs
Here are other songs that didn’t make it to our list, but are still considered as one of the best songs from female country singers are:
- “Before He Cheats,” Carrie Underwood
- “Strawberry Wine,” Deana Carter
- “I Hope You Dance,” Lee Ann Womack
- “A Broken Wing,” Martina McBride
- “Seven Year Ache,” Rosanne Cash
There you have it, folks! The ten best country songs from female country singers.
Bobbie Gentry, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline, Reba McEntire, Shania Twain, Tammy Wynette