Chart Beat

Little Big Town Leads Hot Country Songs With Taylor Swift-Written 'Better Man'

Little Big Town
Matthew Welch

Little Big Town

LBT earns its third No. 1, while Swift scores her eighth as a writer.

Little Big Town notches its third No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart (dated Feb. 11), as the Taylor Swift-penned "Better Man" climbs 2-1. The act inks its first No. 1 since "Girl Crush" ruled for 13 weeks beginning May 9, 2015. LBT first led with "Pontoon" for two weeks in 2012.

"Man" tops Country Digital Song Sales for a second week (26,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen Music) and rises 6-4 on Country Airplay (35.2 million impressions) and 7-6 on Country Streaming Songs (4.2 million U.S. streams).

Notably, the track is the first Hot Country Songs leader penned by only one person since Tim McGraw's "Humble and Kind," written by singer-songwriter Lori McKenna (April 23, 2016). Before "Humble," Swift had scored the last single-author No. 1: her own "Ours" (March 31, 2012). "Man" is additionally the first Hot Country Songs No. 1 by a group penned by just one author since The Band Perry's "If I Die Young," written by the act's Kimberly Perry, topped the Dec. 11, 2010, chart.

"Man" marks Swift's eighth Hot Country Songs No. 1 as a writer, and her first for another act. (It follows another chart-topper that Swift crafted for an act other than herself: Calvin Harris' "This is What You Came For," written, as "Nils Sjoberg," with Harris and featuring Rihanna, ruled Hot Dance/Electronic Songs for three weeks in July-August.)

NEW TOP 10s: Also on Hot Country Songs, two tracks enter the top 10. Michael Ray's "Think a Little Less" sprints 12-8 to become his second top 10, following his debut No. 10-peaking "Kiss You in the Morning" (in August 2015). On Country Airplay, "Think" pushes 10-8 (27.8 million, up 12 percent).

Plus, Chris Young's "Sober Saturday Night," featuring Vince Gill, romps 11-9 on Hot Country Songs. On Country Airplay, it gains 11 percent to 32.7 million, bumping 7-5. Young earns his 11th Hot Country Songs top 10, while Gill scores his 28th. He'd last the region more than 10 years ago as featured (with Sheryl Crow) on Brooks & Dunn's "Building Bridges," which rose to No. 4 in September 2006. Gill first hit the top 10 in 1985 with the No. 10-peaking "If It Weren't for Him." Of his 28 top 10s, five have hit No. 1, beginning with "I Still Believe in You" in 1992.

'BOOTS' FIT IN TOP 10: Meanwhile, two songs ascend to the Country Airplay top 10, led by the second single from Jon Pardi's LP California Sunrise, "Dirt on My Boots," which struts 12-9 (26.4 million in audience, up 12 percent). Pardi's second Country Airplay top 10 follows "Head Over Boots," which topped the chart dated Aug. 27, 2016.

Eric Church's "Kill a Word," featuring Rhiannon Giddens, also enters the Country Airplay top tier (11-10), increasing 5 percent to 25.5 million. The track is his 12th top 10 on the list and follows his seventh No. 1, "Record Year," which topped the chart dated Aug. 13, 2016. Giddens reaches the top 10 in her first Country Airplay appearance.