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Rosanne Cash Hit the ‘Top’ of Hot Country Songs: Chart Rewind, 1988

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On Feb. 13, 1988, Rosanne Cash’s “Tennessee Flat Top Box” hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

The song, about a young boy aspiring to become a country music star, was authored by Cash’s father, the legendary Johnny Cash. The Man in Black’s version reached No. 11 in 1962.


“Tennessee,” from Cash’s LP King’s Record Shop, marked her seventh of 11 Hot Country Songs No. 1s among 15 top 10s banked in 1981-89.

With a quartet of Hot Country Songs No. 1s in 1988 alone, Cash is one of just nine acts with four or more leaders in a single year. Charlie Rich logged a one-year record five No. 1s in 1974, while Buck Owens (1965), Sonny James (1970), Dolly Parton (1974), Merle Haggard (1975), Ronnie Milsap (1980), Alabama (1985) and Garth Brooks (1991 and 1993) have each tallied four, in addition to Cash.

Here’s a recap of Cash’s 11 Hot Country Songs No. 1s:

“Seven Year Ache,” May 23, 1981
“My Baby Thinks He’s a Train,” Nov. 14, 1981
“Blue Moon With a Heartache,” March 13, 1982
“I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me,” Sept. 7, 1985
“Never Be You,” Jan. 25, 1986
“The Way We Make a Broken Heart,” Oct. 10, 1987
“Tennessee Flat Top Box,” Feb. 13, 1988
“It’s Such a Small World,” with Rodney Crowell, April 30, 1988
“If You Change Your Mind,” July 16, 1988
“Runaway Train,” Nov. 12, 1988
“I Don’t Want To Spoil the Party,” June 24, 1989

Cash, who wrote or co-wrote four of her Hot Country Songs No. 1 hits, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015. “This is the award that I’ve always wanted,” she told Billboard at the time. “[The] most compelling force in my life is to be a songwriter, and a good songwriter.”

The versatile artist, now 67, has infused rock, pop, and folk influences during her career. Her 2018 set She Remembers Everything reached No. 16 on Top Country Albums and No. 5 on Americana/Folk Albums.

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