Why: Over 20 No. 1 hits goes a long way in a category that has more up-and-comers than certified legends. More important than the hits, however, was the original Bakersfield sound Buck Owens pioneered -- one still heard from artists like Dwight Yoakam and Dierks Bentley today. The '60s were Owens' decade, but he recorded music that charted through the '80s and continued to play live until the night of his death in 2006.

Honorable Mention: Oak Ridge Boys.

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