50 Country Albums Every Rock Fan Should Own - Rolling Stone
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50 Country Albums Every Rock Fan Should Own

Johnny Cash’s ‘American Recordings,’ Loretta Lynn’s ‘Van Lear Rose,’ and more essential country LPs

johnny cash loretta lynn

Late-period albums by Johnny Cash and Loretta Lynn are among the 50 essential country LPs for rock fans.

(from left) Michael Putland/Getty Images; Robert Gauthier/"Los Angeles Times"/Getty Images

For decades, rockers have looked to country music when they grew tired of brash flash or deafening volume — or they simply heard a George Jones record that blew their hair back with its sheer devastation. Country’s core strengths — intimate storytelling, realistic adult emotion, accomplished musicianship — have appealed to artists from the Rolling Stones to Elvis Costello to Bruce Springsteen, who’ve created their own convincing versions.

So, here are 50 country albums for any rock fan looking to explore the genre’s vast library of sorrow, rebellion, monster chops, and whiskey-drinking attitude.

[This list was originally published in 2014.]

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