Blake Shelton's 'Story' Resumes at No. 1

John Russell/CMA
Blake Shelton performs at LP Field on Friday, June 6 during the 2014 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville.

The set makes a record return to No. 1 on Top Country Albums. Plus, moves for Maddie & Tae, Joe Nichols and Lady Antebellum.

Ending the longest gap between stands at No. 1 for a title on Top Country Albums, Blake Shelton's Based on a True Story… surges 12-1 to spend a sixth cumulative week at the summit. It hadn't ranked at No. 1 since the June 22, 2013, chart.

Shelton's 13-month, two-week span between No. 1 ranks with the same set surpasses Waylon Jennings' six-month, three-week hiatus with his Greatest Hits in 1979-80. (Later in 1980, Jennings would score his biggest crossover hit: his "Theme From the Dukes of Hazzard (Good Ol' Boys)" would rev to No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100.)

Shelton's set also makes the biggest leap for an album returning to No. 1 in the 23-year-old Nielsen SoundScan era, topping Dixie Chicks' "Taking the Long Way," which flew 11-1 on the March 7, 2007 list (marking the seventh of nine cumulative weeks at No. 1 for the set).

Shelton's surge is due largely to its $5.99 sale pricing at iTunes during the tracking week ending July 20. The album soared by 386 percent to 22,000 sold, with download sales accounting for 88 percent of the sum. The set has also maintained longevity thanks to its record-tying five Country Airplay No. 1s.

Meanwhile, Shelton's Ten Times Crazier tour boasted a sellout for more than 40,000 fans at Chicago's Wrigley Field on July 19. Upcoming sold-out venues on the tour include an Aug. 1 date at Madison Square Garden in New York and an Oct. 4 stop at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

TOP SOIL: Florida Georgia Line's "Dirt" logs a second week at No. 1 on Hot Country Songs and Country Digital Songs (99,000 downloads sold, down 49 percent). The duo also holds the top two slots on Country Streaming Songs, with "This Is How We Roll" (2 million U.S. streams, down 4 percent, according to Nielsen BDS) and "Dirt" (1.7 million, down 21 percent), respectively.

HOT 'COUNTRY SONG': Rookie duo Maddie & Tae debuts at No. 39 on Hot Country Songs with "Girl in a Country Song." The first single from the pair (Maddie Marlow and Tae Dye) skewers numerous "bro-country" hits of late: "We used to get a little respect. Now we're lucky if we even get to climb up in the truck, keep our mouths shut, ride along … and be the girl in a country song."

The bow also marks the first charted song on the latest incarnation of the Dot imprint. Dot was recently relaunched by the Big Machine Label Group as part of a joint venture with Republic Records.

With a storied history in country, pop, rockabilly and R&B music, the imprint first appeared on Billboard's country singles lists thanks to Jimmy Newman's "Cry, Cry Darling" in 1954. It last ranked in the Hot Country Songs top 10 with Joe Stampley's "Take Me Home to Somewhere" (No. 5, 1974).

NICHOLS BACK AT NO. 1: Joe Nichols claims his second multi-week No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart, as "Yeah," his fifth leader, bullets for a second week at the summit (48 million audience impressions, up 6 percent). His third No. 1, "Gimmie That Girl," reigned for two weeks in 2010.

Nichols' summer touring schedule includes dates with Lady Antebellum, including gigs July 25 in Columbus, Ohio, and July 26 in Harrington, Del. On July 15, he sang "God Bless America" at the MLB All-Star Game in Minneapolis.

DRINK UP: Speaking of Lady Antebellum, the trio scores its 12th Country Airplay top 10 with "Bartender" (11-9). The threesome had last reached the upper region with "Compass," which became its eighth No. 1 in March.

Since Lady Antebellum's first week in the top 10 (May 3, 2008), only Zac Brown Band (which scored its first top 10 in November 2008) boasts more top 10s among groups (13). Dating to the chart's 1990 inception, Lady Antebellum ranks eighth among groups with the most top 10s: Rascal Flatts leads with 29, followed by Alabama (24), Diamond Rio (19), Lonestar (18), Dixie Chicks and Sawyer Brown (14 each). Below Zac Brown Band and Lady A are Shenandoah (10), Little Texas and The Band Perry (eight each).

On July 18, Lady Antebellum announced details of its upcoming fifth studio album. Co-produced with Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift, the Band Perry, Keith Urban), 747 is due Sept. 30.


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