You'll recognize the album covers of several of these iconic country music albums released in 1984.

Be warned: They come with strong, emotional memories.

Each album listed below turns 40 years old in 2024, which is nearly impossible to believe, because so many artists listed are not only still alive, but active today. Reba McEntire, George Strait, Dolly Parton and Vince Gill are a few who dropped formative albums that year.

Related: 50 Albums Turning 50 in 2024

So too did the Judds, Alabama, Exile and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. This was perhaps the golden age for country groups!

1984 in Country Music

In 1984, country music was beginning to emerge from the polished "urban cowboy" sound that defined the early part of the decade. Neo-traditionalism hadn't quite defined itself, however, so the radio pulsed with sonic diversity.

Country Music Association Awards
CBS via Getty Images

Kenny Rogers and Mickey Gilley represented the pop-country mix, while successful albums from Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Ricky Skaggs rooted our format. Parton was somewhere in the middle: Her year was strange, as she released a motion picture soundtrack with Sylvester Stallone that year, and a cover of '50s and '60s pop covers that few remember.

More: 40 Rock Albums Turning 40 in 2024

We've organized this list to put the most important and memorable albums up top and the lesser listens towards the bottom. Scroll through to read about a project you've heard of, but never tried.

40 Country Albums Turning 40 in 2024

Some of country music's iconic albums were released 40 years ago, in 1984. Hank Williams Jr., Reba McEntire, the Judds and Barbara Mandrell lead the genre with iconic projects. How many of these albums did you spin?

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

50 Country Albums Turning 50 in 2024

Dolly Parton's most famous album turns 50 years old in 2024. So too do iconic albums from Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker, John Denver, Charlie Rich and Conway Twitty.

Each album on this list of 50 country albums turning 50 in 2024 is memorable, but not all of them will bring good memories. There's a lot of great country music on this list, quite a bit of good and some bad, but the songs will objectively take you back to a time when outlaw country and R&B-infused pop-country lived together in Nashville.

Take special note of how common it was for one star to cover another's recent hit. (Release dates are estimates based on information from several databases, including Billboard.)

Gallery Credit: Billy Dukes

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