Hunter Hayes Completes Record Run To No. 1 On Top Country Albums
With Greatest Gainer honors and his second-biggest Nielsen SoundScan week (40,000 sold; up from 6,000), Hunter Hayes completes the longest climb to No. 1 on Top Country Albums during the 22-year SoundScan era, as his self-titled debut set reigns at last in its 89th chart week. The set soars following the release of the deluxe edition of the album, released June 18.
Hayes' protracted ascent on Top Country Albums surpasses the 51 weeks it took Dixie Chicks' "Wide Open Spaces" to reach the summit in 1999.
"Hunter Hayes" concurrently vaults 80-7 on the Billboard 200, marking the album's first top 10 placement. It had previously reached No. 17 in March after debuting at No. 18 the week of Oct. 29, 2011.
The expanded version of "Hunter Hayes" features five additional tracks, including his current single, "I Want Crazy," which reaches a new peak with a 6-3 hop on the Hot Country Songs tally. During the SoundScan tracking week, Hayes performed "Crazy" on the season finale of NBC's "The Voice" with the season's winner, Danielle Bradbery (June 18), and sang it solo two days later on the network's "Today."
With 110,000 downloads sold during the tracking week (up 78%), the song takes the Digital Gainer nod on Hot Country Songs.
'VOICE' LESSON: Danielle Bradbery, meanwhile, arrives with Hot Shot Debut honors on Hot Country Songs at No. 20 with a cover of Sara Evans' "Born to Fly," marking her highest rank yet on the survey. It's the latest chart action for the 16-year-old with an appreciation of recent country music history. "I wanted to make sure Nashville respected her as much as they could," Bradbery's "Voice" coach Blake Shelton says in the June 29 Billboard issue. "I wanted them to know she respects country music. That's why we kept throwing it back to hits from 10, 20 years ago."
Indeed, Bradbery previously charted with her takes on hits by format vets Pam Tillis, Jo Dee Messina, the Judds and Tim McGraw. Bradbery also debuts with a cover of Patty Loveless' 1989 hit "Timber, I'm Falling in Love," with Shelton (No. 30).
Here's a recap of the four "Voice"-fueled debuts on Hot Country Songs this week and how their originals fared:
Cover: No. 20, "Born to Fly," Danielle Bradbery
Original: No. 1 (one week), 2001 for Sara Evans
Cover: No. 29, "I Can't Tell You Why," the Swon Brothers
Original: The Eagles' recording didn't chart on Hot Country Songs, but it rose to No. 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980, marking the act's 10th (and last to date) top 10
Cover: No. 30, "Timber, I'm Falling in Love," Blake Shelton & Danielle Bradbery
Original: No. 1 (one week), 1989 for Patty Loveless, her first of five leaders on the list
Cover: No. 47, "Celebrity," Blake Shelton & the Swon Brothers
Original: No. 3, 2003 for Brad Paisley
AT SEVENTEEN: Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" logs a 17th week atop Hot Country Songs, the most for any title since Leroy Van Dyke's "Walk On By" spent 19 weeks in the chart's penthouse in 1961-62. With 21 weeks apiece, the all-time record for the most weeks atop the 69-year-old chart (including its various early versions) is a three-way tie among Eddy Arnold's "I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)" (1947), Hank Snow's "I'm Moving On" (1950) and Webb Pierce's "In the Jailhouse Now" (1955).
"Cruise" leads with Airplay Gainer (up 6%) and Streaming Gainer (3.1 million streams, up 8%, according to Nielsen BDS) honors in its 48th week on Hot Country Songs. The track also dominates for an 18th cumulative week on Country Digital Songs, where the remix with rapper Nelly accounts for 165,000 of the 244,000 total downloads it sold last week. It reaches a new peak at No. 11 on the Adult Pop Songs chart and holds at No. 8 after peaking at No. 7 last week on Pop Songs (although with a new peak in plays this week on the latter chart).
'ANYWHERE' IS No. 1: Jake Owen claims his fourth No. 1 on the BDS-based Country Airplay tally, as "Anywhere with You" steps 2-1.
Counting only his non-seasonal, radio-promoted singles, Owen's four leaders have occurred consecutively, starting with "Barefoot Blue Jean Night," which led for two weeks in September 2011. He spent two weeks atop the chart in April 2012 with "Alone With You," followed by "The One That Got Away," which crowned the Dec. 8, 2012, list.
Peaking in its 25th chart week, "Anywhere" grants Owen his second-quickest No. 1 climb, outpaced only by "Night" (24 weeks). "Alone" crowned the chart in its 26th week and "One," in its 29th.
HAPPY HOUR: Following a No. 26 start on last week's Country Airplay chart, Toby Keith's "Drinks After Work" takes a second-week dip to No. 36, reflecting a loss of hourly plays on June 11 at participating Clear Channel stations which impacted last week's ranking. The track was released digitally June 25, and introduces Keith's next studio album (title and release date TBA).
Keith's current "Hammer Down" tour has dates on the books through October, while his "Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert" is slated for July 6 at University of Oklahoma's Gaylord Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla.
Additional reporting by Gary Trust