Up 2-1 in its 39th week, trio-turned-duo Love And Theft makes chart history with "Angel Eyes," which logs the longest No. 1 climb by a duo or group on Country Songs -- the fourth-slowest by any artist -- during the Nielsen BDS era (since January 1990), surpassing Eli Young Band's 38-week climb with "Crazy Girl" on the Nov. 19, 2011 chart.
Among all artists during that time, the longest climb is Chris Young's 51 weeks with the twice-released "Voices" last year, followed by David Nail's 49 weeks with "Let It Rain" in January, and Tracy Lawrence's "Find Out Who Your Friends Are," which needed 41 weeks to reign in 2007.
Love And Theft's new self-titled album sells 4,000 during its third week of release, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and ranks at No. 20 on Country Albums. Meanwhile, "Eyes" sells 40,000 downloads and holds at No. 6 on Country Digital Songs. The battle for top ink on the audience chart yields vigorous audience gains for the two leading titles, with Love And Theft gaining 2.9 million impressions, while runner-up Gloriana's "(Kissed You) Goodnight" spikes 2.2 million and reclaims its previous peak at No. 2 (3-2) in its 43rd chart week.
Up 3.1 million audience impressions with the radio chart's biggest overall increase, Hunter Hayes achieves his first top 10 in two tries, as "Wanted" steps 11-10 in its 25th chart week. Watch Hayes play the track in the Billboard offices:
He came close to the upper tier when his debut single "Storm Warning" spent two weeks at its No. 14 peak in February. Hayes' digital sales outpace his radio impact, with Nielsen SoundScan reporting 901,000 total downloads for "Wanted," which reclaims its previous peak at No. 3 on Country Digital Songs with 63,000 downloads in its 20th week on that chart. Hayes' self-titled debut album has sold approximately 205,000 so far, and ranks at No. 8 in its 44th week on Country Albums.
Country/rap fusion artist Colt Ford claims his first No. 1 on Country Albums as "Declaration of Independence" dominates with 31,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The Georgia native and former professional golf instructor's fourth full-length album is also the first No. 1 for his independent label, Average Joes. Ford's No. 1 is the best rank ever for a rap-styled country album, surpassing the No. 2 peak by Cowboy Troy's "Loco Motive" seven years ago. Ford's current single "Back" ranks at No. 54 on Country Songs.
With 93,000 downloads, Country Digital Songs is led for a fourth cumulative week by Little Big Town's "Pontoon." Watch for that list to be topped with an oversized debut next week by Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," which is also expected to bow somewhere in the upper quarter of Country Songs.