Country Goes Christian: Reba McEntire No. 1, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill Debut

Justin McIntosh
Reba McEntire

McEntire tops Hot Christian Songs with "Back to God," while McGraw & Hill bow with "Keep Your Eyes on Me."

Country icon Reba McEntire's "Back to God," the lead single from her first faith-based set, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope, released Feb. 3, rockets 17-1 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart, marking her first leader on the list.

The jump marks the biggest to the top since Hillsong United's "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" vaulted 21-1 (Dec. 7, 2013) to begin its record 61-week reign.

"Back" also becomes McEntire's first leading title on Christian Digital Song Sales (3-1; 14,000 sold, up 236 percent, according to Nielsen Music) and debuts at No. 2 on Christian Streaming Songs (2.2 million U.S. streams, up 483 percent), following the Jan. 24 premiere of its official video.

IT'S STILL THEIR LOVE: Two other country superstars make a segue to the Christian genre, as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill log their first appearances on any Christian rankings with "Keep Your Eyes on Me," from the movie The Shack (in theaters March 3 and starring McGraw, among others). The duet arrives on Hot Christian Songs at No. 12 and Christian Digital Song Sales at No. 3 (8,000 sold).

The ballad also bows at No. 44 on Hot Country Songs, where it's McGraw and Hill's sixth charted collab and first since 2014's No. 7-peaking "Meanwhile Back at Mama's." The first five all hit the top 10, with the very first, "It's Your Love," reaching No. 1 for six weeks in 1997 (less than a year after they had married).

No. 1 ALBUMS: Another husband-and-wife team, Brian & Jenn Johnson, bows at No. 1 on Top Christian Albums with After All These Years (16,000 equivalent album units). The couple had made one prior appearance on the chart: We Believe, their last LP, spent a week at No. 48 back in 2006. Over the past decade, the Johnsons have been active in songwriting and worship leadership through Bethel Music.

Top Gospel Albums also welcomes a new leader: WOW Gospel 2017 (5,000 units, all from traditional sales). The 30-song set includes tracks from Kirk Franklin, Casey J and Tamela Mann. The album is the 20th edition of the series, which began in 1998; 17, all consecutively since 2000, have hit the summit.


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