Who Was Country Music’s Most Popular ’00s Artist?

Carrie Underwood George Strait

Toby Keith and Alan Jackson were the two biggest country hitmakers early in the ’00s, but groups like Lonestar and Rascal Flatts came up quickly. Later, artists like Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban would start to dominate country radio. But who topped the decade?

Taste of Country recently tallied every No. 1 song from 1980-2020 to show who had the most No. 1 hits by decade. The ’80s were dominated by Alabama while the ’90s belonged to George Strait. The ’00s were ruled by Keith, right up to the very end when another superstar passed him. Can you guess who?

Producer Tony Brown on George Strait’s Cover of John Prine Co-Write ‘I Just Want to Dance With You’ (Book Excerpt)

Multi-week No. 1 hits for Tim McGraw (think “Live Like You Were Dying”) gave him a big boost on this list, while old faithful Strait continued to churn out No. 1 hits like flapjacks. His last No. 1 hit came in 2009 with “River of Love” — at least, that’s his last until now. We’re not going to be the ones to count the King out.

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Before you guess, remember that contemporaries like Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean were just getting started in the later part of the decade, so neither factor into the Top 10 on this list. But stay tuned — both will battle Blake SheltonTaste of Country’s list of the artists with the most weeks at No. 1 by decade was compiled using data from Billboard. The chart was created with the Flourish app.

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