List of country performers by era

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Below is a list of notable country performers alphabetically by period, with each listing followed by a description of the artists' work.

Early innovators[edit]

Performers of The Golden Age and country pop in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s[edit]

  1. Dick Curless, Singer/songwriter known mostly for his trucking songs.
  • Kris Kristofferson, songwriter and one of the leaders of the "outlaw" country sound
  • k.d. lang, Canadian country-pop singer-songwriter, known for her campy performances, androgynous look, and mezzo-soprano range, winning CCMA's Entertainer of the Year Award in 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990, Best Album 1988 for Shadowland, and the American Grammy Awards for Best Country Vocal Collaboration 1989 for "Crying" (shared with Roy Orbison), and Best Female Country Music Performance 1990, for Absolute Torch and Twang.
  • Loretta Lynn, arguably country music's biggest star in the 1960s and early 1970s
  • Barbara Mandrell, first artist to win Country Music Entertainer of the Year back to back. 1980 and 1981 from both the ACM & CMA. Known for having songs crossover to the pop charts. Had the last successful country music variety show on NBC 1980-1982. Had multiple hits in the late 70's thru the late 80's. Could sing, dance and play over 10+ instruments.
  • Roger Miller, songwriter and Grammy record-breaker
  • Ronnie Milsap, country's first blind superstar and arguably the most popular country star of the late 1970s and early 1980s; scored 40 No. 1 hits (35 of which reached the top spot on Billboard)
  • Melba Montgomery, duet vocalist in the 60s, who launched a solo career in the 70s
  • Anne Murray, Prominent Canadian country-pop vocalist best known for the songs Snowbird, Could I Have This Dance, You Needed Me and other hits in the 1970s-1980s.
  • Willie Nelson, songwriter and one of the leaders of the outlaw country sound
  • Marie Osmond, Youngest female to date to have a No. 1 country hit, with "Paper Roses" in 1973, and also had a string of country hits in the mid-1980s such as;"Meet Me in Montana" (with Dan Seals), "There's No Stopping Your Heart", "Read My Lips", "You're Still New To Me" (with Paul Davis), and "I Only Wanted You".
  • Norma Jean, gifted "hard country" vocalist, known also as Pretty Miss Norma Jean
  • Buck Owens, Hottest artist of the '60s, pioneer innovator of the Bakersfield sound
  • Dolly Parton, one of the most successful female country artist in history
  • Charlie "Sugartime" Phillips, Author of Sugartime with traditional country music on charts in the 50's, 60's and 70's- 65 year career
  • Ray Price, traditional country star of the '50s and '60s, who experienced pop success in the '70s and '80s
  • Charley Pride, the first black country music star
  • Jeanne Pruett, female vocalist of the 70s, best known for the song "Satin Sheets"
  • Bonnie Raitt, an American blues singer-songwriter and a renowned slide guitar player
  • Susan Raye, Buck Owens' protégée who became a solo star with moderate success
  • Jim Reeves, crossover artist, invented Nashville Sound with Chet Atkins
  • Charlie Rich, '50s rock star who enjoyed greatest success in '70s country
  • Marty Robbins, one of the most popular artists in country music history. Named artist of the decade (1960–1969) by the Academy of Country Music
  • Jeannie C. Riley, sexy girl in a miniskirt who socked it to the pop charts with "Harper Valley PTA."
  • Kenny Rogers, unique-voiced storyteller who also recorded love ballads and more rock material. He defined what was known as country crossover and became one of the biggest artists in country and any music genre.
  • Jeannie Seely, known as "Miss Country Soul"
  • Billy Joe Shaver, songwriter, wrote all but one song on Waylon Jennings' groundbreaking Honky Tonk Heroes album
  • Connie Smith, recorded "Once a Day, the longest stay at No. 1 for any female country artist
  • Margo Smith, known for her sexy come-on songs
  • Sammi Smith, best known for her "husky" voice and 1971 hit song "Help Me Make It Through the Night"
  • Sylvia, Countrypolitan sensation the early to mid-80s
  • Billie Jo Spears, a hard-country vocalist with primarily international popularity
  • Ray Stevens, comedy crossover artist, Branson businessman
  • Mel Tillis, country music legend and father of country singer Pam Tillis.
  • Tanya Tucker, teen Country star whose career later spanned well beyond her teen years
  • Conway Twitty, scored 55 No. 1 hits(The most all time)
  • Townes Van Zandt, songwriter, troubador
  • Porter Wagoner, pioneer on country television
  • Gene Watson, Texas country music cult legend, who gained national success after Love in the Hot Afternoon
  • Dottie West, one of Country music's most influential and groundbreaking female artists
  • The Wilburn Brothers, popular male duet for decades
  • Don Williams, aka "The Gentle Giant" with many popular hits
  • Hank Williams, Jr., Leader in the Outlaw country movement. Multi-instrumental talent, and song writing star. Won several awards. Son of Hank Williams Sr.
  • Tammy Wynette, three-time CMA top female vocalist
  • Faron Young, a country chart topper for three decades
  • Ferlin Husky, country music singer who was equally adept at the genres of traditional honky honk, ballads, spoken recitations, and rockabilly pop tunes
  • Hank Locklin, early honky-tonk singer-songwriter who had hits that charted from 1949–1971

Country-rock performers[edit]

Early 1980s country-music performers[edit]

Late-1980s country-music performers[edit]

Early-1990s country-music performers[edit]

Late-1990s country-music performers[edit]

2000–2009 country-music performers[edit]

Modern country-music performers, since 2010[edit]

Red Dirt modern country-music performers[edit]

Country-music performers outside North America[edit]

See also[edit]