Lee Brice made history when the Garth Brooks hit "More Than a Memory" -- a song Brice co-wrote with Kyle Jacobs and Billy Montana -- became the first single to debut at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Now he's making history of a different sort. Brice's current single, "Love Like Crazy," claims the distinction of making the slowest climb into the top 10, taking 46 weeks.
"I've got the fastest-rising single in the history of the world that I wrote. And now, as an artist, I've got the slowest-rising single in history," he says with a laugh. "Hey, I'll take it any way I can get it. If it goes No. 1, then I'll have the fastest-rising No. 1 and the slowest-rising No. 1. That would be something I can hang my hat on."
"Love Like Crazy" is the title track to Brice's Curb debut album, which streeted June 8 and bowed at No. 9 on Top Country Albums. This week, the single slips to No. 11 but is still bulleted, gaining 413,000 impressions. It also moves 57-52 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The third single from Brice's album, "Love" is his highest-charting effort so far. In its 47th week, the single scores the fourth-longest chart run in the 66-year history of Hot Country Songs, surpassed by Eddie Arnold's 1948 hit "Bouquet of Roses" (54 weeks on the chart), Bobby Helms' 1957 hit "Fraulein" (52 weeks) and Gary Allan's "Right Where I Need to Be" (48 weeks in 2001).
Curb VP of promotion Adrian Michaels says there's a lesson in those stats. "Never give up," he says. "This song was declared dead at least a dozen times, and here we are inside the top 10 and setting records."
Brice thinks touring has helped fuel the single's climb.
"We've headlined a billion of our own dates from big clubs to fairs and festivals, and we've also opened up for everybody from Dierks Bentley to Willie Nelson and Randy Hauser. I just did Aquapalooza [July 10] with Brad Paisley. In the next few weeks, I'm opening for Jason Aldean, Alan Jackson and Hank Williams Jr."
Aiding that public exposure were promotional plugs on the NASCAR circuit, including Brice's name and logo painted on the car hoods at several Camping World Truck Series races and those featuring Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Whiskey River Nationwide team. Rounding out the picture: targeted spot market buys with a heavy emphasis on radio airplay and a strong correlation to digital sales. Having sold 326,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, "Love" moves 10-8 on Country Digital Songs and 61-54 on Hot Digital Songs.
"What worked with Lee is simply repeatability," Curb VP of marketing Jeff Tuerff says. "Consumers are constantly bombarded with entertainment choices. Our goal was to simply spur familiarity between the track and the artist through all avenues from radio to television to online, with purchase being the end result."