It's easy to make fun of country music. The stereotypical music about the tough life of the common person: drinkin' and lovin' and fightin' and ridin', tributes to dogs and trains and America and Mama. But that cliché ignores the tremendous influence country has had on pop music in general and vice versa. David Cantwell and co-author Bill Friskics-Warren have tried to remedy that oversight with "Heartaches by the Number: Country Music's 500 Greatest Singles" (Vanderbilt University Press/Country Music Foundation Press). The book, modeled on rock critic Dave Marsh's classic "The Heart of Rock and Soul," features essays on 500 key songs in the development of country and pop music. The top five contains one "typical" Elvis recording.
The Top 5
1. "Help Me Make It Through the Night," Sammi Smith
2. "Lost Highway," Hank Williams
3. "Crazy," Patsy Cline
4. "Can the Circle Be Unbroken," The Carter Family
5. "Don't Be Cruel," Elvis Presley