Once upon a time, rock and country went together about as well as oil and water, cats and dogs, or Montagues and Capulets. One of the most famous moments in country music history is when in 1975 Charlie Rich, after announcing the CMA award for Best Entertainer had gone to John Denver, lit the nomination envelope on fire in protest. But things have changed in the decades since then, and crossover recordings are becoming more accepted. When once country stars “broke out” into rock, now the rock stars are going the other way, mainly because country music fans still buy music and their demographic is older, so the market is much more stable. Here are the most surprising country wannabe artists and how well they were received:
Mr. “Bringing Sexy Back” teamed up with country star Chris Stapleton at the 2015 Country Music Awards (aka CMAs) for a duet of “Tennessee Whiskey.” While the song and performance were well received he didn’t follow it up with more offerings, despite the persistent rumors of Timberlake crossing over. Whether or not he’ll do a solo country single is anyone’s guess.
In 2011, Lady Gaga surprised a lot of people, tweaking the lyrics to “Born This Way” to fit a more country music style in what is known as “Born This Way (The Country Road Version).” Unfortunately, the country music press was less than impressed, with a CMT reporter stating, “I doubt a song that even hints at things like drag queens would ever make it on country radio.”