On Top Country Albums, Life marks McGraw's 16th leader, with all having debuted at the summit. The coronation ties him with Garth Brooks and Merle Haggard for the third-most No. 1s in the chart's nearly 54-year history. Among all artists, George Strait leads with 26, followed by Willie Nelson (17).
Speaking of Brooks, McGraw and Hill are the first married couple to crown Top Country Albums as a tandem since Brooks and Trisha Yearwood a year ago, as their Christmas Together topped the Dec. 3, 2016-dated tally. (Read on for even more Brooks chart news.)
The 11-song Life is McGraw's first Top Country Albums No. 1 since Sundown Heaven Town, which arrived at No. 1 on Oct. 4, 2014 (with 71,000 sold). McGraw earns his largest sales week since 2013's Two Lanes of Freedom entered at No. 1 with 107,000 sold.
Hill collects her fourth Top Country Albums leader (all of which have arrived in the penthouse) and first since Fireflies (Aug. 20, 2005; 329,000 sold).
Life has produced two singles so far: "Speak to a Girl" peaked at No. 6 on Hot Country Songs in April, becoming McGraw and Hill's sixth shared top 10, while the title track hurtles 25-18 this week.
'LOVE' FEST LANCO posts its first No. 1 on Hot Country Songs, as "Greatest Love Story" ascends 3-1 on the survey, which blends airplay, streaming and sales data.
"Story" holds for a second week atop Country Airplay, gaining 8 percent to 45 million audience impressions; rebounds 3-1 for a second week at No. 1 on Country Digital Song Sales (16,000 sold, down 4 percent); and slips 8-10 on Country Streaming Songs, but with a 1 percent gain to 5 million U.S. streams.
The track, written by LANCO frontman Brandon Lancaster, is the first solo-penned Hot Country Songs No. 1 since Little Big Town's Taylor Swift-written "Better Man," which topped the survey for two weeks in February. "I wrote this song before we had a record deal, and it feels like such a strong testament to the power of songwriting," Lancaster tells Billboard. "Anyone on any given day could sit down with a pen and paper and write lyrics that could one day resonate with millions of people."
BROOKS BOOKS BOW Garth Brooks debuts at No. 2 on Top Country Albums with his CD/book The Anthology: Part 1, The First Five Years, with 53,000 units, all from album sales. On the Billboard 200, Part 1 opens at No. 4. Brooks banks his 22nd Top Country Albums top 10 and his 19th on the Billboard 200.
In the collection, Brooks chronicles his 1989 to 1993 rise in his own words. "My favorite thing about Part 1 was what I learned," Brooks told Billboard in September. For instance: "I had no idea that [songwriter] Tony Arata's first cut in Nashville was 'The Dance.' I would have thought it had to be his 20th." The five CDs (52 songs) include never-before-released material, demos and master recordings.
ROARING IN Also on Top Country Albums, Chase Rice's new set Lambs & Lions enters at No. 6 with 15,000 units (12,000 in traditional sales), becoming his third top 10.
NEW TOP 10s Eric Church earns his 14th Hot Country Songs top 10, as "Round Here Buzz" rises 14-10. It gains by 10 percent to 31.7 million in airplay audience (and lifts 8-7 on Country Airplay) and 9 percent to 4.1 million U.S. streams.
Plus, Chris Young tallies his 13th Country Airplay top 10, as "Losing Sleep" climbs 6 percent to 26 million (12-10).