The veteran group bows at No. 8, and No. 2 on Top Country Albums, with its collaborative tribute collection. Plus, Luke Bryan leads Hot Country Songs for a third week
Alabama posts its best rank and sales week in seven years on Top Country Albums, as "Alabama & Friends" bows at No. 2 with 32,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The collaborative tribute set is the group's 42nd charted title on the survey.
The set also gives Alabama a career-best rank on the Billboard 200, as it launches at No. 8. The band had previously risen as high as No. 10 with "The Closer You Get..." in 1983.
Honored with a Country Music Hall of Fame induction two years after its 2003 farewell tour, Alabama attains its highest Top Country Albums perch and best SoundScan week since "Songs of Inspiration" opened at No. 1 in 2006 with 41,000 sold.
In addition to its nine star-studded covers, a pair of new Alabama tracks appears on "Friends," with founding members Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook adding vocal layers on every collaborative track except Florida Georgia Line's cover of "I'm In a Hurry (And Don't Know Why)." The song opens at No. 47 on Hot Country Songs and No. 31 on Country Digital Songs (13,000). Alabama's original version spent two weeks at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs in 1992.
Among the new album's other collaborators are Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Trisha Yearwood.
BENTLEY CRUISES: Dierks Bentley posts a career-high bow on Hot Country Songs (No. 35) with "I Hold On," the second track from "Riser," his upcoming seventh studio album. Lead track "Bourbon in Kentucky" peaked at No. 40 in July.
His previous best was a No. 38 start (and eventual No. 1 peak) with "Sideways" four years ago.
YOU GO, 'GIRL': In Hot Country Songs' upper tier, Billy Currington scores his 11th top 10 with "Hey Girl." It's his first top 10 since "Let Me Down Easy" topped the list in April 2011.
Over on the Nielsen BDS-based Country Airplay chart, "Girl" jumps 10-7, marking Currington's best rank in more than two years. The song introduces his album "We Are Tonight," due Sept. 17.
LUKE LEADS: With Streaming Gainer honors (1.4 million streams, up 57%, according to BDS) and a No. 2 rank on Country Streaming Songs, Luke Bryan spends a third week at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs with "That's My Kind of Night." The cut leads Country Digital Songs for a third straight week (112,000).
After two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Bryan's "Crash My Party" dips to No. 2, but holds at No. 1 for a third week on Top Country Albums (92,000).
"Night," meanwhile, surges 15-10 in its fifth week on Country Airplay, marking the quickest top 10 climb in 14 months on the tally and the fastest of Bryan's 11 solo top 10s. The radio-driven chart hadn't welcomed a top 10 trip so swiftly since Kenny Chesney's "Come Over" posted a fifth-week jump (12-10) (June 30, 2012) before eventually spending two weeks at No. 1. No song has managed a top 10 rank in fewer than five weeks in nearly five years: Taylor Swift's "Love Story" needed just four frames to enter the region in October 2008.
Garth Brooks remains the quick-trip king since the chart launched in January 1990. Led by "More Than a Memory," which debuted at No. 1 in 2007, Brooks is the only artist in the chart's history to reach the top 10 in fewer than three weeks. His two-week top 10 risers are "The Thunder Rolls" (1991), "She's Every Woman" (1995), "Longneck Bottle" (1997) and "It's Your Song" (1998).
'LITTLE BIT' MORE: Keith Urban claims a second week at No. 1 on Country Airplay with "Little Bit of Everything," marking the eighth of his 15 leaders to hold on top for more than one week. His longest reign is six weeks, first achieved in 2002 with "Somebody Like You" and repeated three years later with "Better Life."
As Urban's chart-topping stand continues, his label is preparing to release a second track from his new album "Fuse" to radio, the Miranda Lambert duet "We Were Us." Stations will receive the cut on Tuesday (Sept. 10), which doubles as the new set's retail release day.
EASTON NORTH: Elsewhere in the Country Airplay top 10, Easton Corbin posts his best rank in almost three years with "All Over the Road," which motors 5-3 in its 35th week.
Corbin hadn't held a spot this lofty since scoring back-to-back leaders in 2010 with his maiden entries "A Little More Country Than That" and "Roll With It." He then peaked at No. 14 with "I Can't Love You Back" the following spring and rose to No. 5 last October with "Lovin' You Is Fun."