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Top 10 Female Country Music Stars

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Craig Butler. They fight for respect, their careers and their men – and they do it all with a twang in their voices. The themes of country music are universal and timeless, which is why the genre continues to pump out new stars. From younger singers like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, to crossover successes like Shania Twain, to classic idols like Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, there’s no shortage of strong-willed, feisty women to keep cranking out C&W tunes. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 female country music stars of all time.

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Script written by Craig Butler.

Top 10 Female Country Music Stars

They fight for respect, their careers and their men – and they do it all with a twang in their voices. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 female country music stars of all time.

#10 – Carrie Underwood

Carrie Underwood shot to stardom on “American Idol” in 2005 – and she’s one veteran of that program who definitely deserves the spotlight. Audiences’ love for Underwood’s girl-next-door style is demonstrated by her worldwide sales of over twenty-five million singles and upwards of 15 million albums. With a Guinness World Record for female with the most number one country hits since 1991, she’s an idol around the world – not just in America.

#9 – Taylor Swift

Ex-boyfriends may see Red over being fodder for many of her songs, but, hey, that’s what comes with dating a country music superstar. Taylor Swift hit it big at 16 and has since sold an amazing number of records – 26 million and counting. She’s already won a slew of Grammys, including album of the year for Fearless – so all you’re ever gonna be is “mean” to think that there aren’t more awards in her future.

#8 – Shania Twain

Singers from the United States tend to dominate country music, but the artist with the best-selling country album in history is Canada’s own Shania Twain. Her 1997 effort Come On Over sold an astounding 40 million copies across the globe, towering in comparison over the 20 million sold of 1995’s The Woman in Me. She’s not called the Queen of Country Pop for nothin’.

#7 – Kitty Wells

Shania may be the Queen of Country Pop, but the title of Queen of Country Music goes to Kitty Wells. Her 1952 breakthrough “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” made Wells the first female country music star, and proved a woman could have a successful country career. Her willingness to take risks paved the way for all the other ladies on this list.

#6 – Patsy Cline

If Wells paved the way, then it was Patsy Cline who blazed new trails in country music and demanded respect from the male-dominated industry. Cline’s heartfelt vulnerability and impeccable phrasing made classics of “Crazy,” “Sweet Dreams, and “I Fall to Pieces.” The 1963 plane crash that tragically claimed her life at age 30 deprived country music of one of its most charismatic performers.

#5 – Tanya Tucker

Tanya Tucker burst onto the scene at age 13 after scoring a top 10 country hit with “Delta Dawn.” But unlike the character “Delta Dawn,” Tucker didn’t become a faded rose; she blossomed into an adult country music sensation, with ten number one country hits and dozens more that zoomed into the top 10.

#4 – Tammy Wynette

When Tammy Wynette recorded “Stand By Your Man” in 1968, she didn’t know it would become her signature track, let alone one of the most famous songs in country music history. The tune was just one of the 20 country number ones for the artist voted Female Vocalist of the Year three years running by the Country Music Association. Wynette died in 1998 at age 55 after years of health problems, but left a body of work that continues to inspire.

#3 – Reba McEntire

The most successful female country star of the 1980s and ‘90s, Reba McEntire is tied with Dolly Parton as the female country artist with the most number ones. Down-home yet sexy and clearly nobody’s fool, McEntire popularized a more contemporary view of women than was typical in country music at the time.

#2 – Loretta Lynn

This “Coal Miner’s Daughter” brought the legitimate but not-often-discussed concerns of women into country music: she sang about birth control, sexual double standards, the struggles of motherhood and even tackled the Vietnam War, all on the way to becoming “The First Lady of Country Music.” Though she was a country music phenomenon starting back in the 1960s, Loretta Lynn proved she was still a powerful force in 2005 when Van Lear Rose won the Grammy for Best Country Album.

#1 – Dolly Parton

With a shape that matches her outsized personality, Dolly Parton is probably the most recognizable figure in country music, and one of its true legends. Parton has been a towering presence in the Nashville scene almost since her 1967 debut album and it is estimated she has sold more than 170 million albums over her career. Buoyant, gutsy, charmingly outspoken and blessed with a one-of-a-kind voice, there’s no doubt “we will always love you,” Dolly.

Do you agree with our list? Which female country singer is your favorite? For more entertaining top 10s, be sure to subscribe to

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