As Harlan Howard once said, "country music is three chords and the truth." But truth can be expressed in any number of ways and country music has never been afraid to tell it like it is — even if it means going a little off the wall.
These songs aren't just by comedians or lesser-known artists. Household names cut some very famous songs over the years that'd fit this discussion, from Hank Williams' honky-tonk standard "Move It On Over" to Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy," Joe Nichols' "Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off" and Willie Nelson and Toby Keith's "Beer For My Horses."
From a woman's quest for romance to a classic country comeback, here are 12 of the quirkiest country songs of all time.
"Did I Shave My Legs For This?," Deana Carter
Best lyric: "When we first met you promised we'd get a house on a hill with a pool/now this trailer stays wet and we're swimmin' in debt and now you want me to go back to school"
"You're the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, " Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty
Conway and Loretta had a string of great duets, but it doesn't get better than this 1978 song about a little good-natured marital teasing.
Best lyric: "You're the reason our kids are ugly, little darlin'/but looks ain't everything and money and everything and I love you just the same"
"She Got the Ring (I Got the Finger)," Chuck Mead
Chuck Mead's delightful ode to a breakup is the newest song on this list, but it's already gone down in history as one of the greatest country song titles ever written.
Best lyric: "She wanted all the bling that married life could give her/she got the ring, I got the finger"
"That's the Way That the World Goes Round," John Prine
Best lyric: "I was sittin' in the bathtub just countin' my toes when the radiator broke and the water all froze/I was stuck in the ice without my clothes, naked as the eyes of a clown"
"Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart," Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash's "Flushed From the Bathroom of Your Heart" was clearly written to get some laughs and it succeeded, as heard on this live recording from Folsom Prison.
Best lyric: "I've been washed down the sink of your conscience/In the theater of your love I lost my part/And now you say you've got me out of your conscience/I've been flushed from the bathroom of your heart"
"Tennessee Bird Walk," Jack Blanchard & Misty Morgan
Hands down one of the oddest country songs to ever hit No. 1, "Tennessee Bird Walk" hit the top of the country chart in 1970. Not so bad for a novelty song about birds.
Best lyric: "Take away their feathers and the birds will walk around in underwear"
"Watermelon Crawl," Tracy Byrd
It's not every song that advises responsible drinking and inspires a dance craze, but Tracy Byrd's "Watermelon Crawl" did just that in 1994.
Best lyric: "Well we got a hundred gallons of sweet red wine made from the biggest watermelons on the vine/Help yourself to some but obey the law/If you drink don't drive, do the watermelon crawl"
"Take an Old Cold Tater and Wait," Little Jimmy Dickens
Little Jimmy Dickens was known for his humorous song titles and this 1949 song about an impatient kid waiting for dinner is one of his standout hits.
Best lyric: "That's why I look so bad and have these puny ways/Because I always had to take an old cold tater and wait"
"Dropkick Me, Jesus (Through The Goalposts of Life)," Bobby Bare
Bobby Bare is no stranger to fantastic, offbeat songs. He recorded several songs written by the great Shel Silverstein, after all. But this 1976 song takes the cake.
Best lyric: "Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life/End over end, neither left nor to right/Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights/Drop kick me, Jesus, through the goalposts of life"
"You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd," Roger Miller
It's difficult to choose a Roger Miller song for this list. The songwriter behind gems like "My Uncle Used to Love Me But She Died" and "Do-Wacka-Do" had a knack for penning songs that were equally oddball and brilliant. But the wacky "You Can't Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd" will always be remembered as one of Miller's finest and quirkiest works.
Best lyric: "You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd/But you can be happy if you've a mind to"
"She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)," Jerry Reed
Another contender for the greatest country song title of all time, Jerry Reed's 1982 hit "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft)" humorously follows a redneck down on his luck after a not-so amicable divorce.
Best lyric: "While she's livin' like a queen on alimony, I'm workin' two shifts, eatin' baloney"
"May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose," Little Jimmy Dickens
In the hall of fame of great country song titles, Little Jimmy Dickens would have to win the top prize. Who could forget "Hey Worm! (You Wanna Wiggle)" and "Walk Chicken Walk ('Cause You're Too Fat To Fly)"? But Dickens' best-known hit is the 1965 song "May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose." The track was inspired by one of Johnny Carson's famous lines on The Tonight Show.
Best lyric: "May the bird of paradise fly up your nose/May an elephant caress you with his toes/ May your wife be plagued with runners in her hose/May the bird of paradise fly up your nose"
This story originally ran on April 15, 2019.