Two genres that have gone through many iterations over the years are rock and country, resulting in the inevitable combination of country rock music.
Over the decades, many of the biggest bands in the world tested this combination and created iconic music filled with meaningful lyrics, stunning guitar riffs, and energetic rhythms.
While we can’t list them all, here are 19 of the best country rock songs ever written.
Related: For more, check out our list of the greatest country songs of all time here.
1. “Sweet Home Alabama” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Right from the intro guitar riff, you know you’re in for a wild ride with “Sweet Home Alabama,” one of the most memorable country rock songs that has a legacy that many others simply can’t match.
The song, by country legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, is a response to Neil Young – Skynyrd felt Young was blaming the entire South for the Civil War, slavery, and segregation.
It’s a protest of the time and found many critics. From rejecting racial segregation to criticizing Nixon, Skynyrd holds nothing back in the iconic song.
The song was also the biggest hit for Lynryd Skynyrd, peaking at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
2. “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Our second song is also from Lynyrd Skynyrd who released “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” in 1974.
While the song never received commercial success, it has since gone on to enjoy cult status and critical success. It’s often cited on best-of-country songs lists.
The song is a story about a young boy who visited a blues musician named Curtis Loew. Written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zant, it’s a story about several people that lived in Van Zant’s hometown.
The song was only played live once before the notorious Lynryd Skynrd plane crash.
3. “Take It Easy” by The Eagles
Next, we have the Eagles’ first ever single, “Take it Easy,” which was released in 1972.
The song was a success and peaked at number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and, after “Hotel California,” is one of the most recognizable Eagles tracks.
Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey collaborated during writing “Take It Easy.” Browne was having a hard time completing the song but met with Frey at the studio. Frey put the finishing touches on the arrangement of the song, and the rest is history.
While the song never received a Grammy Award, “Take It Easy” found its way onto The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll list.
4. “Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers Band
Next, we have the incredibly catchy “Ramblin man” by The Allman Brothers Band, which is the epitome of a good country rock and has one of the most infectious chorus hooks.
Released in 1973, it was their biggest hit at the time, and the song peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The song’s inspiration came from a Hank Williams Sr. song also called “Ramblin’ Man,” but the two couldn’t be more different in style.
While writing the song, the band was reluctant to record it since it sounded “too country.”
Luckily, they agreed to record it, and now it’s remembered as one of the greatest country rock songs ever written.
5. “Lodi” by Credence Clearwater Revival
Originally a B-Side to “Bad Moon Rising,” “Lodi” is a seamless mix of country and rock and one of Credence Clearwater Revival’s most memorable tunes.
Released in 1969, the song follows the story of a musician having a hard time playing music in Lodi, CA.
While the song describes Lodi as a dull town, writer John Fogerty admitted that he never visited the city. He chose the town thanks to its cool-sounding name and how it fits in the song.
Overshadowed by the A-side of the single, “Lodi” still became a fan-favorite country rock song and well deserving of a place on our list!
6. “Girl From the North Country” by Bob Dylan
While not a major hit for Bob Dylan, “Girl From the North Country” is Bob Dylan playing his best version of a country folk-rock ballad.
Dylan originally recorded the song in 1963 for his second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” Dylan also recorded a second version as a duet with Johnny Cash in 1969.
It combines elements of country, rock, and folk music, with Dylan’s signature voice anchoring the song and giving the song melancholic ballad vibes as well.
The song also had a major impact on many other artists. Throughout the years, cover versions by Joe Cocker, Counting Crows, Rod Stewart, and others kept the track relevant.
7. “Wild Horses” by The Rolling Stones
It’s hard to believe an English rock band released one of the most soulful country rock songs of all time.
While the song only reached 28 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Wild Horses” is often seen as one of the Rolling Stones’ most influential songs.
Part ballad, part country rock, The Stones recorded the song in Alabama in 1969. The song has a distinct country sound thanks to the Nashville tuning of the acoustic guitar used in the song.
The lyrics also follow several country music themes, including sadness, traveling on the road, and loneliness.
8. “One Hundred Years From Now” by The Byrds
Next, we head over to a song by The Byrds, who set out to create a new sound on their 1968 album, “Sweetheart of the Rodeo.”
Arguably the first country rock album, each song features a mix of rock and country influences.
But, “One Hundred Years From Now” is definitely the standout track on the album, which took major influences from a new member and country-rock icon, Gram Parsons.
The Byrds sparked a new movement with the album, making country music trendy once again.
9. “Gimmie All Your Lovin'” by ZZ Top
Next, we look to the legendary bearded band ZZ Top who revived southern country rock in the 1980s.
Their song “Gimmie All Your Lovin” was a big hit and peaked at 37 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1983.
Thanks to their unique style, and creative videography, which led to extensive airplay on MTV, they used creative music videos to get their hard-rocking country sound out to the masses.
The band’s country rock sound was a huge departure from most other 80s pop music. Still, ZZ Top found legions of fans and helped continue Southern country rock traditions.
10. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band
At number ten, we’re going to head over to The Band, who take on the history of the American Civil War in “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.”
The song tells the story of a suffering southerner during the end of the Civil War.
It shows a human side to the war and helps give an understanding of the hardships during this time.
Although the song wasn’t an instant hit, it’s often cited as one of The Band’s best songs and made it onto Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time list.
11. “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain
While it’s more hard rock with a southern feel, we couldn’t not include one-hit wonder “Mississippi Queen” by Mountain, who recorded it for their debut album.
As you can hear if you press play on the video above, the song fuses hard rock guitar riffs and country music themes flawlessly.
It is one of the greatest rock hits of the 1970s, reaching number 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and went on to be covered by many other artists, including Ozzy Osbourne, Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and Sam Kinison.
12. “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band
Another classic country rock song, “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band, was a modest hit upon release and reached number 75 on the Hot 100.
Released in 1973 and praised and noted as one of the Marshal Tucker Band’s most iconic songs, the lyrics tell a depressing story. The song describes a man going through heartache and running away.
With its brooding flute and guitar sound, the blend of country and rock music adds to the tension that builds throughout the song and helped to make it so popular.
In fact, it was also released by Waylon Jennings in 1976, hitting number 4 on the US Hot Country Songs charts!
13. “Take the Money and Run” by Steve Miller Band
Country music is a fantastic vehicle for storytelling, and Steve Miller Band delivers an exciting tale in “Take the Money and Run.”
The song follows Billy Joe and Bobbie Sue, a pair of lovers who are bored of and high and become bandits!
They end up shooting someone and robbing them, which inevitably leads a detective trying to track them down.
A classic example of country rock that peaked at number 11 on the Hot 100 chart when it was released in 1976, it’s still just as popular today.
14. “Train, Train” by Blackfoot
Beginning with a country harmonica solo imitating a train, the Blackfoot song “Train, Train” quickly returns to its hard rock roots once the guitars start.
Blackfoot released the song on their third studio album in 1979. The song went on to modest success and peaked at number 38 on the Billboard Hot 100.
But, if you’re not so fond of the more metal country rock, then check out Dolly Parton’s version who covered it in 1999.
15. “Turn the Page” by Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
While “Turn The Page” wasn’t originally released as a single, it has since gone on to become one of Bob Seger’s most iconic recordings.
Even though the original never charted, the tune has sold over one million units since its release in 1973.
The song follows the life of a rockstar on the road and the hardships associated with touring. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and hits a nerve every time you listen to it.
But, despite it not charting on its original release, the song found new life when Metallica recorded a version for their 1998 album, “Garage Inc.”
The Metallica version spent 11 weeks at the top of the Hot Mainstream Rock charts.
16. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by The Charlie Daniels Band
The Charlie Daniels Band brought country and bluegrass sounds to the rock mainstream with their tune “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” which is arguably the pinnacle of country and rock fusion.
The song is a story about how a fiddle player beats the devil at his own game. The lyrics are on the edgy side with talk of sin, demons and devils which led many radio stations to censor the song.
But, censorship and threats from religious groups didn’t stop the popularity of the song. “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” saw massive success upon release and reached number one on the US Hot Country charts while peaking at number three on the Hot 100.
17. “Green Grass & High Tides” by The Outlaws
With a runtime of almost 10 minutes, “Green Grass & High Tides” by The Outlaws never had a chance for a single release. Still, the song found huge success on album-rock stations in the 1970s.
Released on The Outlaws’ debut album, the song sings the praise of many major rock musicians of the time, like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix.
The title of the song is a play on the Rolling Stones album “High Tides and Green Grass.”
The iconic guitar solos make the song one of their most memorable the band closed many of their shows with it, even playing 20+ minute versions of the song!
18. “Song of the South” by Alabama
Next, we have “Song of the South” which found its way onto albums by Bobby Bare and Johnny Russell in the 1980s.
But the 1988 version from Alabama is easily the most memorable which took the iconic song to number one on the US Country Charts.
Despite its catchy hook and chorus which gives it a cheerful feel, the lyrics of the tune follow cotton farmers during the Great Depression. While the song features melancholic imagery, it also has a happy ending.
19. “Our Country” by John Mellencamp
And rounding up our list, John Mellencamp delivers an anthemic song about the United States in “Our Country,” an inspirational take on the American dream and the land of opportunity.
When recording the song, Mellencamp wanted to take elements of southern rock from the 1960s but add a contemporary style to the recording.
He succeeded, and “Our Country helped Mellencamp’s album, “Freedom’s Road,” reach number five.
The song was also nominated for Best Solo Rock Vocal at the 2008 Grammy Awards.
Summing Up Our List Of Country Rock Songs
From politically charged anthems to exciting stories, country rock is a genre that has it all.
If you like hard-hitting guitar riffs combined with heartfelt emotion, this genre is for you.
But, this list is far from complete as we couldn’t possibly list off the amazing country rock songs out there.
Did we miss your favorite song? Let us know which ones we left out and we’ll try to add them in when we update this post.