Luke Bryan 'Lights' Up Country Albums Chart; Zac Brown Band Is Tops at Radio
The set opens with 320,000 in pure album sales in the week ending Aug. 13, according to Nielsen Music. While Top Country Albums ranks pure sales, the Billboard 200 ranks the most popular albums of the week based on multimetric consumption, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums and streaming equivalent albums. Kill the Lights starts with 345,000 equivalent album units to top the multigenre survey.
Bryan previously topped the Billboard 200 with Spring Break … Here to Party and Crash My Party, both in 2013. Notably, Lights' start marks the largest sales week for a country album in three years, since Crash My Party, Bryan's last studio effort, bowed at No. 1 with 528,000 copies sold (Aug. 31, 2013).
Bryan's new set is the second country album to sell more than 100,000 copies in its debut week in 2015. It joins Zac Brown Band's Jekyll + Hyde, which arrived with 214,000 sold (May 16).
'EASY' DOES IT: Speaking of Zac Brown Band, the third single from Jekyll + Hyde, the soulful "Loving You Easy" (co-written by Zac Brown, Niko Moon and Al Anderson), lands atop the Billboard Country Airplay chart, rising 2-1 in its 17th week on the list (47.7 million audience impressions, up 5 percent).
"Easy" is ZBB's 12th No. 1 on Country Airplay and second from Jekyll + Hyde. "Homegrown" led for three weeks in April.
PERFECT 10s: The Country Airplay chart welcomes three new top 10s, including a pair by Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, each of whom pads lofty top 10 totals. Chesney's "Save It for a Rainy Day" climbs 13-10 (30 million, up 20 percent) in its ninth week to become his 49th top 10. While he remains in fourth place for the most top 10s in the chart's 25-year history, he moves closer to George Strait, the leader with 61, Tim McGraw (53) and Alan Jackson (51). Meanwhile, Urban's "John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16" advances 11-8 on the list in its 10th week, aided by an 11 percent rise to 32.2 million impressions. The track is Urban's 34th top 10, tying him with Garth Brooks for the eighth-best total.
RAY SHINES: As Luke Bryan leads Top Country Albums, Michael Ray's self-titled first studio set debuts on the list at No. 4 with 11,000 sold. Ray's first single, "Kiss You in the Morning," reached No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart dated Aug. 22.
'PARTY' ON: On Hot Country Songs, Sam Hunt's "House Party" ranks at No. 1 for a second week. His third No. 1 on the chart, all from his debut album, Montevallo, gains by 4 percent in overall activity, highlighted by its 2-1 coronation on Country Streaming Songs (3.3 million U.S. streams, up 13 percent). It also tallies a second week atop Country Digital Songs (45,000, down 8 percent) and rises 4-3 on Country Airplay (44.2 million, up 10 percent).
Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield.
This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.