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Excerpts: 'Heartaches by the Number'

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(CNN) -- Here's what "Heartaches by the Number" has to say about several notable songs. List numbers are given in parentheses:

"Help Me Make It Through the Night," Sammi Smith (1) -- "In its grooves, song and singer, its arranger, musicians and producer, all comes together to create something more powerful than either the sum of its parts, or its antecedents in the Nashville Sound, might have predicted."

"Stand By Your Man," Tammy Wynette (11) -- "... 'Stand' isn't the invitation for women to become doormats that its detractors have made it out to be. ... More than anything, [Wynette's] reaching out to women who, for better and for worse, share her vision of commitment, women who know the cost of loving, and perhaps of loving too much."

"Folsom Prison Blues," Johnny Cash (21) -- "Even more than the stone walls and steel bars that hold him, it's that injustice that makes him hang his head and cry. Then again, that corrosive snarl of his sounds like it could be just enough to send that locomotive barreling straight to hell."

"I Can't Stop Loving You," Ray Charles (44) -- "Brother Ray's version comes off like the Nashville Sound to the tenth power, plus Atlantic soul, plus Tony Bennett pop."

"Atlantic City," Bruce Springsteen (68) -- " 'Atlantic City' hews close to the antediluvian sounds of the Monroes [the Monroe Brothers, whose 'What Would You Give in Exchange?' is No. 67] ... but don't let those similarities fool you. The harrowing picture of urban desperation it paints is straight out of 'In the Ghetto,' 'Living for the City,' and 'The Message.' "

"Rose Garden," Lynn Anderson (85) -- "Anderson crosses her arms, taps her foot, and smiles in sunny defiance. Well? What'll it be? Are you in or are you out?"

"He Stopped Loving Her Today," George Jones (147) -- "... Even after we've played the record a hundred times, it can still render us defenseless."

"Wichita Lineman," Glen Campbell (187) -- "... Whatever the tension keeping him up there is, if he doesn't deal with it soon, it'll be his circuits, not the ones he's working on, that'll overload."

"Mystery Train," Elvis Presley (238) -- "More than just some torqued-up, phantom train, Scotty Moore's lashing guitar, Elvis' Olympian defiance, and that boundless Sun [Records] echo must have sounded like a whole new set of tracks."

"You Never Even Called Me by My Name," David Allan Coe (489) -- " ... The hilarious final verse, which in just four lines references Mama, trains, trucks, prison, and gettin' drunk, at least makes the song one quarter of a perfect country and western parody."

From "Heartaches by the Number" by David Cantwell and Bill Friskics-Warren, (c) 2003, published by Vanderbilt University Press and the Country Music Foundation Press

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