Luke Bryan Extends Trend Of Multiweek Country Airplay No. 1s; Dylan Scott Completes Record Trip To No. 2

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Luke Bryan performs onstage during the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 15, 2018 in Las Vegas. 

Luke Bryan notches his 12th multiweek No. 1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart as "Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset" (Capitol Nashville) spends a second frame at the summit (on the list dated Sept. 22). The track reigns with 42.6 million audience impressions, down 3 percent, in the week ending Sept. 16, according to Nielsen Music.

"Sunrise," Bryan's 20th total Country Airplay leader, is his second multiweek No. 1 in 2018 following "Most People Are Good," which led for three weeks beginning March 31. Bryan's longest-leading No. 1 is "Play It Again" (four frames, 2014).

"Sunrise" marks the 11th multiweek Country Airplay No. 1 of 2018 -- clearly a rising trend in recent years. Nine songs crowned the chart for over one week in the same time frame in 2017, after five did so in the same span in 2016.

"I am in favor of more multiweek No. 1s and think it's baloney to have 45 or so No. 1s in a year," says Cumulus vp country Charlie Cook. (The most No. 1s in a year since Country Airplay began in 1990? Forty, in 2016. The number fell to 33 in 2017, while 26 songs have hit No. 1 so far this year. Notably, those totals are up significantly from 1998, 1999 and 2003, the years with the fewest annual leaders: 18 apiece.)

"We like it when strong songs are rewarded with staying at the top of the chart for extra weeks," says Cook. "We keep strong-testing songs in power rotation long after they've dropped off the chart."

One example of a track that Cook feels was No. 1 on Country Airplay for less time than it may have deserved is Sam Hunt's "Body Like a Back Road," which led for three weeks in May 2017. As it topped Country Streaming Songs for 34 weeks and Country Digital Song Sales for 31, "that song should have stayed at No. 1 [on Country Airplay] for six weeks," he says.

On the Hot Country Songs chart, which blends airplay, streaming and sales data, "Body" ruled for 34 weeks, the second-longest run in the chart's 59-year history; Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line's "Meant to Be" (Warner Bros./Big Machine Label Group) passed "Body" and on the Sept. 22 chart dominates for a 42nd week (after leading Country Airplay for a week).

"I certainly hope this is a trend," says Entercom Communications KILT Houston pd Bruce Logan of the rising tide of multiweek No. 1s. "Real hits are songs that connect with the audience, sell, stream, research and move on to solid recurrent airplay. As a format, for us to be healthy, we have to make real hits, not the conveyer belt that became 'push week' [by labels to send a song to No. 1] with [a big decrease in airplay] the minute the push is over. Anything you have to push for isn't a hit."

HOOKED ON 'HOOKED': Dylan Scott's "Hooked" (Curb) ascends 4-2 in its 55th chart week on Country Airplay, up 12 percent to 40.1 million impressions. The track completes the longest climb to the top two, a mark previously held by William Michael Morgan's "I Met a Girl," which peaked at No. 2 in its 52nd week (Oct. 15, 2016).

"Hooked" also jumps to the Hot Country Songs top 10, romping 11-6. In addition to its airplay gain, it surges by 27 percent to 4.1 million U.S. streams. Scott banks his second Hot Country Songs top 10 following "My Girl," which peaked at No. 3 (and topped Country Airplay) in summer 2017.

CARRIE ON: Carrie Underwood's "Love Wins" (Capitol Nashville) debuts at No. 34 on Country Airplay (3.8 million). The song is the second single from her album Cry Pretty, released Sept. 14. The title track became her 27th top 10 when it reached No. 9 on the chart dated Sept. 1.