Sam Hunt Scores His Highest Country Airplay Chart Debut With 'Downtown's Dead'

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Sam Hunt accepts the Top Country Song award for 'Body Like A Back Road' onstage during the 2018 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 20, 2018 in Las Vegas. 

Plus, Kane Brown notches his first multi-week No. 1 & top 10 action for Darius Rucker.

Sam Hunt debuts his first new single since "Body Like a Back Road," which ruled Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart for a record 34 weeks (starting on Feb. 25, 2017) and led Country Airplay for three weeks. "Back Road" also won for top country song at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards Sunday (May 20).

New track "Downtown's Dead" surges in at No. 18 on Country Airplay (dated May 26) with 13.1 million audience impressions in the week ending May 20, according to Nielsen Music.

The song starts with five days of airplay, following its release May 16. It also received hourly plays at participating iHeartMedia stations starting at 6 a.m. ET that day.

Hunt notches his highest Country Airplay debut, surpassing "Back Road," which debuted at No. 21 (Feb. 18, 2017). He logs the highest arrival among all acts since Miranda Lambert's "Vice" also vaulted in at No. 18 on Aug. 6, 2016.

On Hot Country Songs, "Dead" starts at No. 24, also driven by 520,000 U.S. streams and 10,000 sold in the tracking week ending May 17.

Hunt wrote the new single with Zach Crowell, Josh Osborne and Shane McAnally (the quartet that also penned "Back Road") and Ryan "Charlie Handsome" Vojtesak.

'HEAVEN' EXTENDS: Atop Country Airplay, Kane Brown achieves his first multi-week No. 1 as "Heaven" leads for a second week (43.8 million, down 3 percent). On Hot Country Songs, it ranks at its No. 2 peak for a ninth week.

"Heaven," from Brown's self-titled debut full-length, which debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart dated Dec. 24, 2016, follows his first Country Airplay leader, "What Ifs" (featuring Lauren Alaina), which led for one week (Oct. 28, 2017) and topped Hot Country Songs for five frames.

Brown performed "Heaven" on NBC's The Voice May 15, and the song rockets by 48 percent to 25,000 sold in the week ending May 17, rising 3-1 on Country Digital Song Sales to rank at the summit for the first time since the chart dated Oct. 28, 2017, when it opened at the pinnacle. On Country Streaming Songs, it holds at No. 2 (14.6 million U.S. streams, up less than 1 percent).

TOP 10 'FOR THE FIRST TIME': Darius Rucker's "For the First Time" rises 11-10 on Hot Country Songs to become his 10th top 10. It gains by 5 percent to 39.2 million in audience, bumping 4-3 on Country Airplay.

Rucker first reached the Hot Country Songs top 10 with his first entry in the country genre, after logging pop hits for over a decade as Hootie & The Blowfish frontman, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," which topped Hot Country Songs for two weeks starting Oct. 4, 2008. He's notched six Hot Country Songs No. 1s to date.

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