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Country’s Biggest Stars – Top 5

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Who is the biggest male country star of the last 20 years? CMT is gearing up for a special “What’s Your 20? 20 Greatest Men, 20 Years,” so we wanted to know who you thought should top the list. It was a close race between Garth and George for the top spot.  Check out our Top 5 according to your votes


Stephen Chernin/getty Images
Stephen Chernin/getty Images
 

The Man in Black has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Johnny Cash not only had a number of country hits, he also sang rock n roll, blues, folk and gospel music. He's in the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Cash sold appliances in Memphis before landing a record deal in 1955. Despite his outlaw image, Cash never served a prison sentence. There were a number of misdemeanor charges but Cash was behind bars no longer than 24 hours. Cash passed away September 12th, 2003, less than four months after his wife June Carter Cash died.

 
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
Christopher Polk/Getty Images
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Toby Keith's career didn't kick into high gear until he left his record label in 1998 and took the rights to his music with him. 'Should've Been a Cowboy' was his first #1 and the most played song on country radio in 1990 ,but his breakout came with 'How Do You Like Me Now.' It was the #1 song of 2000.

Toby started his own record company in 2005 and has released five albums since.  He's also tried his hand at acting; although I think he should stick to music.  And he's been on a number of USO tours to perform for our troops overseas.   In his free time, Toby opened a golf course and several 'I Love This Bar & Grill' restaurants.

And lets not forget his big feud with the Dixie Chicks in 2003

 
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
 

Alan Jackson has recorded 14 studio albums.   More than 50 of his singles have appeared on Billboard's list of the "Top 30 Country Songs," 26 were number-one hits.   Jackson is also a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2001.    He also is behind the award winning song 'Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).'

Jackson started in the mailroom of a record company before his wife Denise connected him with Glen Campbell, who helped jumpstart his career. Jackson eventually signed with Arista Records in 1989 and has been going strong ever since with his traditional sounding country music.

 
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
 

George Strait is getting ready to release his 39th studio album. That in itself says enough about the 'King of Country.' His longevity in the country music world is astonishing.

Strait appeared on the country music scene in 1981 and his first hit 'Unwound' reached the Top 10. George Strait holds the record for more #1 hit singles than any other artist in history, having recorded 57 #1 hit singles as of 2010. He's also been nominated for more CMA and ACM awards and has more wins in both categories than any other artist. It was difficult to decide between King George and Garth as to who should take the top spot. Since Garth is the guy who got me into country music, I have to put George at #2, even if a lot of country music fans disagree.

 
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
 

Garth Brooks is the reason I'm a country fan today. Before hearing his music I assumed country music was twangy, or what they call 'traditional country.' Garth changed my opinion.

Brooks has enjoyed one of the most successful careers in history, breaking records for both sales and concert attendance. Garth still continues to sell well and he's he best-selling albums artist in the United States. Garth retired in 1991 to spend more time with his family. He came out of retirement to headline shows at the Wynn hotel in Vegas in 2009.

 

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