Chart Beat

Willie Nelson Makes Billboard Top Country Albums History With 'First Rose of Spring'

Willie Nelson
Jason Davis/Getty Images for SiriusXM

Willie Nelson speaks onstage at his album premier on April 4, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The set also opens at No. 1 on Americana/Folk Albums.

The legendary Willie Nelson, now 87 years young, becomes the first artist with top 10s in every decade --seven in all -- since Billboard's Top Country Albums chart originated in January 1964, as First Rose of Spring blooms at No. 5 on the July 18-dated survey with 12,000 equivalent album units, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

Nelson adds his record-extending 53rd Top Country Albums top 10. His first entry, Country Favorites-Willie Nelson Style, hit No. 9 in 1966. His top 10 totals by decade: '60s (three), '70s (14), '80s (19), '90s (one), 2000s (six), '10s (nine) and '20s (one).

Nelson's new LP also launches at No. 1 on Americana/Folk Albums. It's his third leader in as many visits, following Ride Me Back Home (July 2019) and Last Man Standing (May 2018).

First Rose of Spring, produced by Nelson's longtime collaborator Buddy Cannon, was originally slated for release on April 24 but was pushed back to July 3 due to the coronavirus crisis.

With the '20s still young, three artists have a chance to join Nelson in claiming top 10s on Top Country Albums in every decade beginning in the '60s: late icon Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Hank Williams Jr. all tallied top 10s in every decade from the '60s through the '10s.

Similarly, Aretha Franklin could also hit seven decades of top 10s on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums with one in the '20s, as the late Queen of Soul earned her first in the '60s and followed with at least one in every decade through the '10s.

On the all-genre Billboard 200 albums chart, The Rolling Stones have notched at least one top 10 in every decade from the '60s through the '10s, amassing a record 37 top 10s overall.