Florida Georgia Line Flies to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs; Dierks Bentley's 'Beach' Blankets Radio

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Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley of Florida Georgia Line attend the 2016 American Country Countdown Awards at The Forum on May 1, 2016 in Inglewood, Calif. 

"H.O.L.Y.", the new single from Florida Georgia Line (Tyler Hubbard, Brian Kelley), vaults 39-1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart (dated May 21). Written by Nate Cyphert, William Larsen and busbee (aka Michael Busbee), "H.O.L.Y." (named from the song's "high on loving you" chorus) is the first single from FGL's third studio full-length, Dig Your Roots, due in August.

On Country Digital Songs, "H.O.L.Y." enters at the summit with 125,000 downloads in its first week (ending May 5), according to Nielsen Music. It also starts atop Country Streaming Songs with 5.8 million first-week U.S. streams. Following its first full week of airplay, "H.O.L.Y." bumps 26-25 on Country Airplay, up 6 percent to 10.7 million in audience.

The track's 39-1 vault on Hot Country Songs is the third-greatest in the history of the chart (which launched as an all-encompassing genre survey in October 1958) and -Florida Georgia Line's second-best. Jason Aldean's "Burnin' It Down" scorched 42-1 in its second week (Aug. 9, 2014), leading for 14 weeks total. FGL's "Dirt" ranks second, having leapt 40-1, also in its second week (July 26, 2014).

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(Why does "H.O.L.Y." make such a jump? It debuted on the May 14 tally due only to its first two-plus days of airplay following its April 29 arrival, as the Hot Country Songs chart's airplay tracking week runs Monday-Sunday. Sales and streaming are measured Friday-Thursday, however, so the song soars to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs with the addition of its first week of those two metrics.)

In addition, the track's two-week trip to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs is the fastest since Chris Stapleton's "Tennessee Whiskey" crowned the chart in its second frame (Nov. 21, 2015).

"H.O.L.Y." is FGL's fifth Hot Country Songs No. 1. Its first, "Cruise," holds the record for the lengthiest stay on top: 24 weeks (2012-13). Notably, "H.O.L.Y." marks a maturity in the pair's sound. "Seth England, our manager, sent us the song, and we knew it was a big one," FGL's Tyler Hubbard tells Billboard. "We just weren't sure it was for us. After listening a lot, we knew it was the exact direction we wanted to go. There were three instances where our wives asked us about 'H.O.L.Y.,' and when we said we were considering it for FGL, they said we had to cut it. We feel like the song is anointed."

Says Big Machine Label Group executive vp/Republic Nashville president Jimmy Harnen, "As we all know, music and art are subjective; beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Artists, managers and record executives have a responsibility to find music that inspires and moves people, because art that doesn't sell is an obsession with a storage problem ... When we played 'H.O.L.Y.' for country radio programmers and fans in the months prior to release, it completely connected with them, evoking huge emotion and reaction."

BENTLEY BEACHES AT NO. 1: Dierks Bentley achieves his 14th Country Airplay leader, as "Somewhere on a Beach" rises 2-1 (49.9 million, up 8 percent). The song is the lead single from his eighth studio set, Black, due May 27.

"'Somewhere on a Beach' is setting up our summer just like we wanted, putting the fans in the mood to party," says Bentley. "It's hard to believe that it's my 14th No. 1, and I'm blown away at the reception of the new music. I can't wait to start peeling back more layers from the album."

MILESTONE: Kenny Chesney's "Noise" rises 12-10 (26.6 million, up 2 percent) to become his landmark 50th Country Airplay top 10. In the chart's 26-year history (dating to its Jan. 20, 1990, launch), he trails only George Strait (61), Tim McGraw (55) and Alan Jackson (51).

McBRIDE RETURNS: As Chris Stapleton's Traveller leads Top Country Albums for a 20th week (25,000 sold), Martina McBride's Reckless debuts at No. 2 (16,000). She scores her 11th top 10 and first since Everlasting debuted as her fifth No. 1 in April 2014.

This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.

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