20 awesome country songs from rock bands

File photo of the eagles

At its core, rock n ‘roll is half country and half blues, but sometimes there is a little more of one of these elements in a song than the other. Other times there are many more. Hence the often used descriptors “blues rock” and “country rock”. The Eagles are perhaps the best-known example of a band specializing in the latter, and ’70s Southern California singer / guitarist Glenn Frey was especially good at invoking the country aesthetic into a fabric. rock. The Dude’s notoriously dissenting opinion on the Eagles, “The Big Lebowski”, be to hell. In honor of Frey, here are 20 awesome country rock songs, starting with one of his band’s signature songs.

By Matt Wake | [email protected]

“Peaceful and easy feeling” Les Aigles, 1972

Jack Tempchin wrote this sweet, harmony-saturated number with a lead vocals of Frey on the 1972 debut LP “Eagles”. Tempchin also co-wrote several other songs that ended up on the Eagles albums, including “Already Gone “and two of Frey’s most memorable solo tracks from the 80s” You Belong to the City “and” Smuggler’s Blues “.

“Hot Dog” Led Zeppelin, 1979

Some rock fans hate this song. But John Paul Jones’ honky-tonk piano and Jimmy Page’s insane country-fried guitar breaks are truly infectious even if you find Zep frontman Robert Plant’s lemony voice on “Hot Dog,” from the band’s latest studio album. “In Through the Out Door”, too caricature of Elvis.

“Act naturally” The Beatles, 1965

A number one country hit for Buck Owns and his band The Buckaroos two years earlier, The Beatles cut this charming version sung by Ringo Starr for their “Help!” album. George Harrison’s twang-tastic guitar licks are a highlight of the track. Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison wrote “Act Naturally”.

“Ramblin ‘Man” Allman Brothers Band, 1973

Dickey Betts ‘country-flavored vocals and guitar power his flagship song, “Ramblin’ Man”. The highway-themed classic remains the only Allmans top 10. “Ramblin ‘Man” was partially inspired by a 1951 track by Hank Williams also titled “Ramblin’ Man” and is said to date back to the sessions of the “Eat a Peach” album. Betts’ graceful slide guitar glissandos at the end of the song are particularly tasteful.


Rolling Stones “Dead Flowers”, 1971

The Rolling Stones really wanted to be black bluesmen. British rogue rockers named their band after a song by Muddy Waters and they adored Chuck Berry. But Glimmer Twins Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were also big fans of country artists like Merle Haggard. “Dead Flowers” is one of the many country nuggets of the Stones, which also include “Far Away Eyes”, the redux “Honky Tonk Women” “Country Honk” and of course the Muscle Shoals recorded gem “Wild Horses”.

“Act Nice and Gentle” The Black Keys, 2004

Black Keys singer / guitarist Dan Auerbach applies his moving tips to a 1967 cover of Kinks on “Act Nice and Gentle”. And the national quotient is significantly increased here compared to the original. And kudos to Patrick Carney’s barn dance drums on the track.

“Truckin ‘” Grateful Dead, 1970

When a song gets played a lot on the radio and appears in the top collections, it’s easy to get bored of it and become oblivious to why the song touched so many people. This is the case with “Truckin” from the Grateful Dead. Cowboy hat shuffle beat and Jerry Garcia’s guitar bends give the song – which despite its notoriety was never quite a hit, peaking at 64 – country kicks.


“Passenger side” Wilco, 1995

Country music had a somewhat popular image in the 1980s. Then came more serious artists like Steve Earle. And a little later, the Illinois combo Uncle Tupelo and the start of the “alternate country”. Uncle Tupelo broke up in 1994. The band’s two former lead songwriters, Jay Farrar and Jeff Tweedy, went on to found two other notable bands, Son Volt and Wilco, respectably. Although Wilco continued to create experimental music, as on their LP “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot”, their debut album contained many twangy delicacies, including the buzzing ballad “Passenger Side”.

“In a hundred years” The Byrds, 1968

Our list of great country rock band songs doesn’t include any recordings of the famous Flying Burrito Brothers because the Burritos were always a country group. Although the one who rocked drugs. And wore rock pants. Before founding the Flying Burrito Brothers, country prodigy Gram Parsons made a stint with folk rockers The Byrds, and his presence resulted in a Nashville-tinged masterpiece: the record “Sweetheart of the Rodeo” from 1968.

“The Weight” The Group, 1968

The original version of the group “The Weight” is not even the best version of the song. That honor goes to Aretha Franklin’s sactified cover, which benefited from Duane Allman’s oily slide guitar. Still, the source material is one of those songs that sound like it’s been around for a hundred years. In a wonderful way. Band guitarist Robbie Robertson wrote “The Weight” while drummer Levon Helm and bassist Rick Danko contributed lead vocals for the song, which appeared on the band’s “Music from Big Pink” record.

“Hotel Yorba” The white stripes, 2001

Guitar-drum duo The White Stripes evokes Johnny Cash’s punk rock on “Hotel Yorba”, a song former Stripes frontman Jack White continued to perform frequently live during his solo career. The song references a seedy real-life building in the band’s hometown of Detroit.

Kiss “Lucky Woman”, 1976

Yes, Kiss singer / guitarist Paul Stanley wrote this song as a Rod Stewart track. But a Rod Stewart cut for Stewart’s influenced by the country “Maggie May” period. The ragged rasp of Kiss drummer Peter Criss proved to be ideal for “Hard Luck Woman”, which would eventually be performed by ’90s country mega-star Garth Brooks.

“Teach Your Children” Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, 1970

The Sterling Steel Pedal Guitar, played by Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead, is the first thing you hear on “Teach Your Children”. Although CSNY’s sweet voice leans more toward folk, Garcia’s brisk steel licks throughout the song give it an undeniable country glow.

“Picture” Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow, 2001

Kid Rock may be the poet laureate of strippers and methamphetamine dealers, but he’s actually pretty good at country ballads. Due to the label’s paperwork, a second version of the “Picture” duo was created which replaced the fantastic voice of Sheryl Crow with … the fantastic voice of Allison Moorer. It gets confusing from there. But “Picture” remains an undeniable song, which Kid Rock performed on stage with many different female stars, including LeAnn Rimes, Gretchen Wilson and Martina McBride.

“Squeeze Box” The Who, 1975

Goofy double-sided! Guitar picking chickens! “Squeeze Box” has it all, although the animated classic Who doesn’t include any sound from a real squeeze box. Don’t you think it’s a country enough to be a country? There’s a banjo solo on it, man (played by remarkable guitar smasher The Who Pete Townshend). So there is that.

“Look Out My Back Door” Creedence Clearwater Revival, 1970

Lyrical imagery sounds great like its benchmark party favors. But in interviews, ex-CCR lead man John Fogerty has argued that’s not the case. The CCR recorded “Lookin ‘Out My Back Door” fresh off the tour and country music icon Duck Owens gets a scream on the first verse.

“I’m on Fire”, Bruce Springsteen & The E. Street Band, 1984

Who said you couldn’t have a synthesizer on a country song? One in seven – seven! – Top 10 singles from the album “Born in the USA” by The Boss, “I’m on Fire” will finally be covered by two country artists representing the opposite ends of the gravitas meter: Waylon Jennings and Kenny Chesney.

“Love Me, Save Me” U2, 1988

The album and accompanying film “Rattle and Rum” was Irish quartet U2’s love letter to American roots music. “Love Recue Me,” co-written and featuring harmony vocals from none other than the bard himself, Bob Dylan, is the most country tribute on the LP.

“I Used To Love It” Guns N ‘Roses, 1988

Murdering your significant other has never sounded so loud. A clear tip of the Stones ‘”Dead Flowers” top hat, Sunset Strip rockers Guns N’ Roses tucked their leather pants into cowboy boots on “Used to Love Her.” Lest the Los Angeles homicide detectives open a case based on the song’s lyrics, the 1988 EP cover art “GN ‘R Lies” claimed that “Used to Love Her” was “A Joke, nothing more”.

“I Got You” Stone Temple Pilots, 1999

Stone Temple Pilot’s 1994 hit “Interstate Love Song” is the band’s most obvious country nod. But “I Got You” from the band’s underrated album “No. 4” also flaunts their country flair, even though they gave the chorus some Beach Boys harmonies. Guitarist Dean DeLeo plays a lead Telecaster role on the track. Last year, a few months before his death from drug-related causes on a tour bus, I asked former STP frontman Scott Weiland if he had ever considered making a country album.. Weiland’s response? “I’ve thought about it before, but the country market isn’t what it was when I grew up in country. Merle Haggard and Jerry Jeff Walker and Johnny Cash. There’s Americana, which is a bit more true as Nashville country today. ”Sadly, we’ll never know if Weiland would have finally tried his hand at a full-blown, traditional country LP. I think he could have made a good one.

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