10 Best Country TV and Movie Theme Songs
Country stars have contributed theme songs to some great television shows and movies over the years. Garth Brooks, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and George Strait are among the country stars who have recorded songs for television and film, and you’ll also find two very different songs from two very different films from Dolly Parton on the list of the best country TV and movie theme songs.
It’s no surprise to see artists like Lady Antebellum and Trisha Yearwood make the cut, but we bet you won’t guess which country duo made the list — and while the top song on the best country TV and movie theme songs list is one that you might not have expected, we bet you won’t argue with it.
“Keep Your Eyes on Me”
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill gave fans a huge gift when they recorded “Keep Your Eyes on Me” for the soundtrack of McGraw’s film, The Shack, in 2017. It’s certainly not the first time the country couple have collaborated, but their passionate performances on the track make “Keep Your Eyes on Me” a must for the list of the best country TV and movie theme songs.
“To Make You Feel My Love”
Garth Brooks scored one of the biggest hits of his career with a Bob Dylan song that was the lead track for a film. Brooks cut “To Make You Feel My Love” for the Hope Floats soundtrack, and he also included it as a bonus single from Fresh Horses on the Limited Series box set, and on all later pressings of the album. Brooks’ recording topped the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, earning him a nomination for Best Male Country Vocal Performance at the 41st annual Grammy Awards, where Dylan also received a nomination for Best Country Song. Trisha Yearwood‘s version of the song also appears on the Hope Floats soundtrack.
“I Did With You”
Lady Antebellum headed up an all-star cast of country performers who contributed songs to the soundtrack for The Best of Me in 2014. The superstar trio performed “I Did With You,” which was released as the single from the soundtrack, and they also contributed another song, “Falling for You.” The film features songs from Kacey Musgraves, Hunter Hayes, Thomas Rhett and many more.
“Tennessee Homesick Blues”
Rhinestone might not have been the high point of Dolly Parton’s (or any else’s) cinematic career, but the project — which starred Parton as a manager trying to teach a haplessly miscast Sylvester Stallone how to be a country singer — wasn’t a total loss. The soundtrack featured a Parton original titled “Tennessee Homesick Blues” that topped Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart when it was released as a single in 1984. Another of her songs from the film, “God Won’t Get You,” was also a hit.
“Where Are You Christmas?”
Faith Hill’s Christmas classic originated as a song called “Christmas, Why Can’t I Find You?” The song appeared in the 2000 movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and songwriters James Horner and Will Jennings collaborated with Mariah Carey on a new version of the song titled “Where Are You, Christmas?” that Carey recorded for the film. Her version could not be released due to a legal case with her husband, music executive Tommy Mottola, and consequently, Faith Hill re-recorded it for the soundtrack of the film. Her version reached No. 26 on the U.S. Billboard Country Songs chart.
“I Cross My Heart”
George Strait contributed a hit song to a movie in which he also starred. He played the lead role in Pure Country, and he also recorded “I Cross My Heart” for the soundtrack to the film. The song hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart in 1992, and it’s gone on to be a career single for Strait, who interestingly enough has never starred in another film.
“How Do I Live?”
Trisha Yearwood inadvertently found herself embroiled in controversy when she recorded “How Do I Live?” for Con Air in 1997. Written by Diane Warren, the song was originally recorded by LeAnn Rimes for the soundtrack, but producers decided the then 14-year-old was too young for the subject matter and her recording leaned too much toward pop music, so they asked Yearwood to record a more country version. Yearwood has said she did not know about Rimes’ recording when she did hers, and the result was that both songs were released simultaneously, with both earning Grammy nominations for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. In a very uncomfortable moment, Yearwood won that award directly following Rimes’ performance of the song on the broadcast. Bizarrely, though Yearwood’s version was in the film, neither version was featured on the resulting soundtrack album.
“9 to 5″
Dolly Parton made her film debut in 9 to 5, starring opposite Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. The film was a huge hit, and so was the title song, which Parton wrote and took to No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs, Adult Contemporary and Hot 100 in 1980. “9 to 5″ garnered Parton an Academy Award nomination and four Grammy Award nominations, and she ended up winning Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Country Vocal Performance, Female. The female empowerment anthem has gone on to become one of her most career-defining singles.
“The Ballad of Jed Clampett”
Pretty much everyone who’s grown up in the age of television could probably sing “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” from start to finish. The song is the title music for The Beverly Hillbillies, setting up the backstory of a mountaineer who becomes a millionaire. Jerry Scoggins sings the theme for the TV show, accompanied by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ instrumentation. However, Flatt sang the version that reached No. 1 when it was released as a single in 1962.
“Good Ol’ Boys”
Waylon Jennings scored one of the biggest hits of his career and the most iconic country television theme song of all time with “Good Ol’ Boys,” which he wrote for the television show The Dukes of Hazzard. An abbreviated version appears on the show, while Jennings also scored a No. 1 hit with the longer version that was released as a single from his album Music Man. Jennings was also the voice of the unseen narrator on the show, and his hands are shown on the neck of the guitar in the opening credits, which led to the tongue-in-cheek alternate line, “I’m a good ol’ boy, you know my mama loves me, but she don’t understand why they keep showing my hands and not my face on TV.”