Chart Beat

Taylor Swift Earns First Top 40 Country Airplay Hit Since 2013, Thanks to Sugarland Collab 'Babe'

Sugarland Taylor Swift
Christopher Polk/ACMA2010/Getty Images for ACMA

Sugarland and Taylor Swift pose from the audience at the 45th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 18, 2010 in Las Vegas.

Plus new top 10s from Luke Combs and Blake Shelton

"Babe," the latest single from the newly reunited Sugarland, the duo of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, features Taylor Swift, and the collaboration debuts at No. 27 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart (dated April 28) with 8.1 million impressions, according to Nielsen Music.

On Hot Country Songs, which blends airplay, streaming and sales data, "Babe" begins at No. 48.

The track is from Sugarland's June 8 LP Bigger, the duo's first album since 2010.

Notably, Swift scores her first top 40 Country Airplay hit since December 2013, when "Red" reached No. 7. Before shifting to pop, Swift banked seven Country Airplay No. 1s among 18 top 10s (in 2006-13).

"[Taylor] reached out. We [have] known each other for many years," Nettles told Billboard at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards on April 15. "When she was first getting started, we had just had our first little EP out, called Premium Quality Tunes. She still has a copy of it that we signed for her when we played a couple of shows together. She was excited we were getting back together and reached out and said, 'Hey, I have a song.'

"That is a short list, ladies and gentlemen, of people to whom she has said, 'Hey, I have a song, you want to sing it?' So we said, 'Yeah!' "

Swift peaked at No. 41 on the Country Airplay chart dated Jan. 6 with ballad "New Year's Day," from her latest album, reputation. "Babe," "New Year's Day" and her four-week Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 "Shake It Off" (a week at No. 58 in 2014, thanks to adventurous country programmers) mark Swift's three entries on Country Airplay since "Red."

BLAKE'S BIG 3-0: Blake Shelton scores his 30th Hot Country Songs top 10, as "I Lived It" darts 14-10. After he performed the song at the ACM Awards April 15, it hikes by 226 percent to 19,000 sold; 6 percent to 3.7 million U.S. streams; and 3 percent to 24.6 million in radio audience.

TOP 10 'NUMBER': Luke Combs' third hit lifts into the Country Airplay top 10 (11-9), increasing by 11 percent to 24.7 million audience impressions. It follows his "Hurricane" and "When It Rains It Pours," which ruled for two weeks apiece.