Blake Shelton's 'River' Runs to No. 1 on Billboard 200
Blake Shelton's 'River' Runs to No. 1 on Billboard 200

Shelton notches his quickest trip to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs with "Sure Be Cool If You Did."

As Blake Shelton prepares for the March 26 release of his 10th studio album, "Based on a True Story," the set's lead single, "Sure Be Cool If You Did," becomes his 13th, and quickest, No. 1 on Hot Country Songs (eight weeks). The track is Shelton's first leader since "Over" reigned for two weeks in September, a month before the ranking's methodology changed from measuring core country radio audience to a streaming, digital download and an expanded radio panel hybrid. Under the previous formula, Shelton's quickest No. 1 ascent was 10 weeks with "Honey Bee" in 2011.

"Cool" logs a third cumulative week atop Country Digital Songs with 71,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, rises 10-7 on Country Airplay (28 million audience impressions, up 9%) and ranks as the week's fourth-most-streamed country title (up 28%), according to Nielsen BDS. Shelton's new album precedes his "Ten Times Crazier" tour, which begins on July 19 in Virginia Beach, Va.

"Story" was made available for pre-order staring Feb. 19 on Shelton's website and on iTunes Feb. 27. The deluxe digital edition includes three bonus tracks, the music video for "Cool" and other bonus content.

No. 'ONE' HIT: Tim McGraw celebrates his 25th Country Airplay No. 1, as "One of Those Nights" rises 2-1. Dating to the chart's Jan. 20, 1990, inception, McGraw trails only Alan Jackson and George Strait, each of whom has collected 26 chart-toppers. "One" rules with 38 million audience impressions (up 1%), according to Nielsen BDS.

While McGraw trails Jackson and Strait for the most Country Airplay No. 1s, he leads for the most weeks at No. 1 in the chart's 23-year archives. Now with 70 frames on top, he outshines Kenny Chesney (68), Strait (66), Jackson (60) and Toby Keith (53).

Before this week, McGraw had most recently crowned Country Airplay with "Felt Good on My Lips" for three weeks in January 2011. He first reigned with "Don't Take the Girl" for two weeks beginning May 28, 1994.

FAST 'DRIVE'-R: With his quickest ascent to the Country Airplay top 10, Lee Brice logs his fourth top 10, as "I Drive Your Truck" motors 11-10 in its 13th week. The rise bests his previous best top 10 pace, achieved on the Sept. 29, 2012, chart, when "Hard to Love" jumped 13-10 in its 19th chart week.

Brice reached the top 10 in 23 weeks with "A Woman Like You" a year ago and scored his first top 10 with "Love Like Crazy," which needed 46 weeks to reach the upper tier in 2010.

Brice is seeking his third Country Airplay No. 1, and third in-a-row after five prior chart entries. "Woman" led for one week (April 21, 2012) and "Hard to Love" for two beginning Nov. 10, 2012.

CROW FLIES: Sheryl Crow makes her third solo appearance on Country Airplay, as "Easy" checks in at No. 58. She hadn't graced the list on her own since inking a pair of chart titles nine years ago: her Rod Stewart remake "The First Cut Is the Deepest," which peaked at No. 35 in January 2004, and "No Depression in Heaven," which spent one week on the chart at No. 55 later that year.

Her collaborative history on Country Airplay spans 11 years and includes shared billings with Kid Rock, Brooks & Dunn, Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn, Miranda Lambert and Bob Seger.

Crow premiered "Easy" on the much buzzed-about Jan. 24 "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" episode on ABC in which Matt Damon staged his wry mock takeover as host. The song introduces Crow's debut country album (on Warner Bros. Nashville, after a two-decade run on A&M), expected this fall.

McCREADY REMEMBERED: In more dour chart news, Mindy McCready draws her first Billboard chart ink in three years following her Feb. 17 suicide. Her debut single "Ten Thousand Angels" enters Country Digital Songs at No. 31 (12,000), while "Guys Do It All the Time" bows at No. 39 (10,000). The former rose to No. 6 on Hot Country Songs in June 1996, while follow-up "Guys" became her only No. 1 on the list three months later. "Guys" and "Angels" were the third- and sixth-most-streamed country songs of the week, up by 78% and 98%, respectively.

On the Billboard 200, McCready's "Super Hits" compilation debuts at No. 156, marking her first appearance on the chart since 1999.