It was 70 years ago this month — January 1944 — that Billboard began charting the popularity of country tunes with the format’s main chart now known as Hot Country Songs. In celebration the vital genre’s continued vibrancy, we’re honoring the chart’s anniversary with a look at the top 70 songs of the past 25 years — a time during which superstar acts like Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift and more have helped take country music to ever greater heights.
The Top 70 County Songs of 1989-2014 rankings are based on actual performance on the weekly Hot Country Songs chart, through the Billboard chart dated January 18, 2014. Titles are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at the lower end of the chart earning the least. Prior to the Hot Country Song’s implementation in January 1990 of monitored radio airplay by Nielsen BDS, titles on those lists had shorter reigns at No. 1 and shorter chart lives. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits from all 25 years, certain eras were weighted to account for the difference between turnover rates from those decades and the turnover rates that have occurred since the advent of Nielsen Music data.