Like Ray Charles, Chuck Berry and Louis Armstrong, Buck Owens was a pioneering individualist who nonetheless managed to translate his particular music vision to a mass audience. Between 1959 and 1974 Owens remained a major force on the country charts, but the period between 1963 and 1967 represents an unparalleled dominance. During those years, every single Owens released became a #1 hit, and he averaged about three singles a year. Those songs — including “Act Naturally,” “I’ve Got a Tiger By the Tail,” “My Heart Skips a Beat,” “Together Again” and many others featured in this collection — form one of country music’s foundational bodies of music. The Ultimate Collection is not ordered chronologically but it mixes in several essential but lesser-known #1 songs that Owens released outside of that golden mid-career run. 1969’s “Johnny B. Goode” (recorded live in London) is gloriously raucous, especially for a radio single, and it remains one of the all-time great renditions of that rock standard. His final #1 — 1972’s “Made In Japan,” a wistful romance — is a lost classic.