100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time

From architects of the genre like Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers to game-changers Garth Brooks and Shania Twain

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Chris LeDoux
Chris LeDoux Beth Gwinn/Redferns92/100

92. Chris LeDoux

The life of the cowboy is one of country music's central narratives, to the point of being cliché, but it's the existence that Chris LeDoux actually lived. A bareback national rodeo champion, the Wyoming native's ranch songs were the real deal, and he played the part of the maverick to a T, even refusing to sign a record contract because he preferred to play by his own rules. Until, that is, Garth Brooks' shout-out on 'Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)" made it too tempting to not cash in. Their subsequent duet, "Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy," helped give LeDoux his due and his mystique has only grown since his untimely death at 56 from cancer in 2005. J.G.

Key Tracks: "This Cowboy's Hat," "Whatcha Gonna Do With a Cowboy"

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