Views on pop culture through my eyes

When Pop Goes Country

Here’s the sequel to my previous post “When Country Goes Pop.” I will highlight artists whose careers have followed more the pop/rock vein and then ventured into country occasionally.

Darius Rucker

Darius Rucker
Lead singer of 90’s hitmakers Hootie and the Blowfish, he’s found a second act in his career as a country crooner. He even toured with Lady Antebellum. Essential songs: “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “Alright” and “This.”

Kid Rock
Notorious rap-rocker Kid Rock has been able to capitalize on country’s love of classic rock and come up with a few hits on the country chart. Essential songs: “Picture” (with Sheryl Crow), “Cowboy” and “All Summer Long.”

Kelly Clarkson
She is from Texas after all, so this is not surprising. She’s got love for Reba (one of her idols) and is friends with Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. Essential songs: “Don’t You Wanna Stay (with Jason Aldean), “Because of You (duet version with Reba) and “Mr. Know It All” (country version).

Aaron Lewis (Staind)
Lead singer for rock band Staind, he has recorded a few albums in the country genre. Essential songs: “Country Boy” (w/ George Jones and Charlie Daniels) and “Forever.”

Tommy Shaw (Styx)
One of the founding members of 70-80’s hitmakers Styx, he has also shown a love for country music too recording a country album between touring dates with Styx. Essential songs: “The Next Right Thing” and “Boat on a River.”

Sheryl Crow
She toured with Michael Jackson, and found success as a solo artist. Guitar oriented singer-songwriter doesn’t seem too far from a country artist. Essential songs: “Everyday is a Winding Road,” and “Strong Enough.”

Lionel Richie
He’s from Tuskegee, Alabama, so he’s got the Southern roots. His song-writing ability was able to draw together a who’s who of contemporary country artists for his comeback album “Tuskegee.” Essential songs: “Deep River Woman,” “My Love” and “Easy.”

Part of the 70’s rock scene in California, they always seemed to write songs that fit both country and pop genres from the beginning. Essential songs: “Desperado,” “Hotel California” and “Heartache Tonight.”

Bonnie Raitt
Blues oriented rock is not too far from country in my opinion. Essential songs: “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” “Something to Talk About” and “Love’s Sneakin’ Up on You.”

Justin Timberlake
He is from Memphis after all, and famously tried out for “Star Search” with a cowboy hat and boots. Essential songs: “God Must Have Spent (A Little More Time On You) (w/ NSync and Alabama), and “The Only Promise That Remains” (duet with Reba).

Michelle Branch
She’s had hits on top 40 radio, and is one of the founders of the Wreckers, a country duo consisting of her and Jessica Harp. They even opened for Keith Urban on one of his tours. Unfortunately, they broke up after 1 album. Essential songs: “My Oh My,” “Leave the Pieces” (both with the Wreckers) and “All You Wanted.”

And lastly, these women have had hits in many different genres:

Olivia Newton-John
She was definitely a country artist when she first came out, then transitioned more to adult contemporary, and then to more pop-dance. Essential songs: “Let Me Be There,” “Please Mr. Please” and “I Honestly Love You.”

Linda Ronstadt
Also part of the So-Cal rock scene along with the Eagles and Jackson Browne. She has a very versatile voice and can sing country, pop, rock, standards, jazz, latin — you name it. Essential songs: “Silver Thread, Gold Needles,” “Blue Bayou” and “Hurts So Bad.”

Spice69man is a Los Angeles-based writer and designer. Be sure to check out the latest T-Shirts for sale here, including Marriage Equality and  Rock the Kilt lines. They make great gifts for friends, family and loved ones.


Comments on: "When Pop Goes Country" (1)

  1. Marcelo Castilho Rogedo said:

    Considering your list, I know a few names: Kelly Klarkson, Olivia Newton-Jonh, Justin Timberlake, Eagles, Lionel Ritchie, Sheryl Crow….My sister bought a CD that Lionel and Shania are on a duet. I didnt know Kelly firstly had the country in her vains…..Hotel California is famous here…and it has a good melody….

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