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Guess Who’s The Top Country Artist Of The Past 25 Years?

Our Country

Music-industry bible Billboard took the opportunity this week to comb through its chart records and compile the top 25 Country artists of the past 25 years--and who do you think is topping the list?

Nope, it's not Garth Brooks, who I would say is a more than reasonable guess. However, Garth landed at No. 2, falling short only to George Strait.

Yup, Strait leads the pack. Garth may be the number-one U.S. album-selling artist in SoundScan history, but George holds more country-related accolades altogether in the Billboard world. According to the publication, he's had 44 No. 1 hits on the Hot Country Songs chart (which has been around for 64 years now). He can boast of 82 top 10 singles. And, he's the only artist in Billboard's history to achieve top 10 singles in 30 consecutive years. Three decades of top hits, folks!

The rest of Billboard's 25 is pretty interesting to check out, as well. Reba McEntire follows Strait and Brooks at No. 3 and is the only woman to make the top 10--although the Judds, Dixie Chicks, Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, and LeAnn Rimes made the overall list, resulting in a healthy amount of female talent represented. Singer-songwriter Ricky Van Shelton, who quit touring in 2006, landed at No. 21. Kenny Chesney, who topped a Forbes list of 2009's biggest earners in country music, is at No. 8--behind Toby Keith (No. 7) and Tim McGraw (No. 5).

Billboard explained its ranking system for this list as based on performance on the weekly Hot Country Songs and Top Country albums charts from January 5, 1985 to May 29, 2010. You can find the full list, as well as more detailed information on how it was compiled, here.

So--now that Billboard's had its say, who's your personal top country artist of the past 25 years? (If you can even clearly remember back to 1985--which I admit I'm having problems doing, myself.) Be sure to chime in and let me know.

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