WHEN PUTTING TOGETHER this ranking of country music’s all-time greats, we looked to movie criticism for inspiration. For decades Citizen Kane topped nearly every list as the greatest film ever made, but with time, some started to realize that, hey, just maybe The Godfather is the better picture. Likewise, we reevaluated exactly where Hank Williams fits into country music, the true influence of Merle Haggard, and if an artist as clearly in the pop realm as Taylor Swift deserves inclusion.
But in the end, the common denominator for both legends and today’s stars was that they are all one-of-a-kind.
“Here’s the thing about history,” Vince Gill told Rolling Stone in 2014, “the greatest artists that had the greatest longevity were all original.”
Read the full list on Rolling Stone's website!