The best Early Thomas Conley songs represented what would be known as "Thinking Man's Country." The '80s hitmaker was a dependable force on country radio for more than a decade, delivering 30-plus charting songs and 18 No. 1 hits.

These are the Top 10 Earl Thomas Conley songs, as chosen by fans and media with consideration for chart performance and awards. Thomas died on April 10, 2019 at the age of 77 following a battle that his brother described to the Tennessean as similar to dementia. Stars like Toby Keith and Blake Shelton quickly lamented the loss, both speaking to the profound influence of his songs on their respective careers. Other contemporary singers followed as the news spread.

After some early songwriting success and a hit song for Conway Twitty, Conley signed with Warner, but that label contract did not produce any hits. As an independent artist he recorded "Fire and Smoke," a song that would become his first No. 1 hit after RCA Records signed him. Mixing a smokey, soulful delivery with contemporary, if not progressive production by '80s standards, the Ohio-born singer was able to find success with songs like "Once on a Blue Moon," "Holding Her and Loving You" and "Somewhere Between Right and Wrong."

His last taste of commercial success would come in 1991 with "Brotherly Love," a song he cut with Keith Whitley before he died in 1989. This Top 5 hit would be nominated for several ACM Awards, but also mark his last Top 10. After a lengthy hiatus in the mid-'90s Conley recorded sparsely, but still toured some on the strength of his many hit songs.

Here Are Earl Thomas Conley's 10 Best Songs: