Chart Beat

Garth Brooks' 'People' Debuts In Country Airplay Chart's Top 20

Garth Brooks
Getty Images

The star returns with 'People Loving People,' which soars in at No. 19

Garth Brooks surges back onto Billboard's Country Airplay chart dated Sept. 20, as "People Loving People," his first proper radio single in six years, debuts at No. 19. The country/rock track, which starts with 20.5 million in first-week audience, according to Nielsen BDS, previews his first studio album of new material in 13 years (since 2001's Scarecrow), expected Nov. 11.

All charts, including Country Airplay, refresh each Thursday on Billboard.com.

Garth Brooks Releases Comeback Single 'People Loving People'

With "People" released Sept. 3 and aided significantly by coordinated hourly play that day on iHeartMedia-owned stations, Brooks matches his third-highest Country Airplay debut. He opened at higher ranks only with "More Than a Memory," which became the only song in the chart's 24-year history to launch at No. 1 (Sept. 15, 2007), and "Good Ride Cowboy" (No. 18, Oct. 22, 2005). He first entered at No. 19 with his classic "The Thunder Rolls" (May 18, 1991).

"People" is just the 16th title to debut inside the top 20, with Brooks boasting the most such high-starters (four) of any act. Others with multiple top 20 debuts: Kenny Chesney (three); Jason Aldean and Blake Shelton (two each).

Kenny Chesney's 'American Kids' Crowns Country Airplay

As announced late last week, GhostTunes.com and garthbrooks.com will be the only digital outlets for Brooks' entire catalog, providing a platform for consumers to purchase album downloads, and for online streaming. "People" is not available on the sites as a stand-alone single (thus, hindering its chances for a similarly lofty arrival on the airplay/sales/streaming-based Hot Country Songs chart).

Garth Brooks' Top 25 Billboard Hits

Brooks had most recently appeared on Country Airplay with the self-released "The Call" (with wife Trisha Yearwood), which peaked at No. 49 in December. Before that, he had last charted with the No. 36-peaking "Midnight Sun" and the No. 19 hit "Workin' for a Livin' " (with Huey Lewis, who originally recorded the song) in 2008. Both songs followed his historic No. 1 debut with "Memory." Brooks' Hot Country Songs chart history boasts 36 top 10s, including 19 No. 1s.

Garth Brooks Calls Off Retirement for New Album, Massive Tour

"No other artist, save for Taylor Swift, has done more for this format in the last two decades," says WXCY Wilmington, Del., operations manager Brad Austin. "Garth still commands attention and there has been real buzz about his tour announcements. Our audience seems excited he's officially 'back.'

"A second track I've heard [from the album] is actually a stronger ballad. It sounds even more vintage Garth to my ears."