GOT COUNTRY?: For the first time in its 54-year history, two country bands have led the Billboard 200 in the same year. That's the same amount of the genre's groups that topped the tally from its launch in 1956 through last year.
Zac Brown Band becomes the second country band to begin atop the Billboard 200 this year, as its sophomore major label set, "You Get What You Give," arrives at No. 1 (and begins atop Country Albums, while lead single, "As She's Walking Away," featuring Alan Jackson, rises 13-12 on Country Songs). The trio's prior effort, "The Foundation," peaked at Nos. 9 and 2 on the Billboard 200 and Country Albums, respectively.
Lady Antebellum became the first country group to command the Billboard 200 in 2010 when "Need You Now" bowed at No. 1 in February.
No country bands ruled the Billboard 200 until the Dixie Chicks entered at No. 1 with "Fly" the week of Sept. 18, 1999. The trio reigned again with "Home" (2002) and "Taking the Long Way" (2006).
Rascal Flatts claimed its first Billboard 200 No. 1 the week of Oct. 16, 2004, with "Feels Like Today." Since, the group's subsequent studio sets have started at the summit: "Me and My Gang" (2006), "Still Feels Good" (2007) and "Unstoppable" (2009).
(Duos, such as Sugarland, or non-core country groups, such as the Eagles, were not considered in analyzing prior Billboard 200 No. 1s).
Zac Brown Band has cultivated its rise in popularity almost solely on the strength of core country support, while Lady Antebellum topped Adult Contemporary and Adult Pop Songs, and reached No. 2 on Pop Songs, with the title cut from "Need You Now," after the ballad topped Country Songs.
This week, "Need You Now" spends a 59th week on the Billboard Hot 100, marking the list's seventh-highest sum. Only two country songs have logged more time on the chart: LeAnn Rimes' "How Do I Live" (69 weeks, 1997-98) and Carrie Underwood's "Before He Cheats" (64 weeks, 2006-07).
COLOUR BY NUMBERS: While Zac Brown Band begins on the Billboard 200 at No. 1, Maroon 5 enters at No. 2 with "Hands All Over."
Chart Beat reader, and ever-insightful contributor, Pablo Nelson of Berkley, Calif., notes the rather "hue-morous" coincidence of the colors brown and maroon appearing in the chart's top two positions.
Nelson points out that another Brown - Chris Brown - leads R&B/Hip-Hop Songs with "Deuces" for a fifth frame. The song jumps 19-15 on the Hot 100, where Cee Lo Green rises 35-27 with "F**k You (Forget You)" (which includes some colorful language ...) and Auburn bullets at No. 70 with "La La La," featuring Iyaz.
Additionally ranking on Billboard surveys: the Black Crowes, Black Label Society, Black Milk, Blonde Redhead, Eighth Blackbird, Evans Blue, Goldfrapp, David Gray, the Green Band, Liquid Blue, Pink Floyd, Pink Martini, Plain White T's, RedOne, Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Ultraviolet Sound and the White Tie Affair.
Oh, and three more Browns: Chuck Brown, Divine Brown and Norman Brown.