For the first time since 2008, a various-artists compilation leads Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. The new Now That’s What I Call Country, Volume 8 (Sony Music/Universal/Universal Music Entertainment) bounds in atop the tally (dated June 27) with 19,000 copies sold in the week ending June 14, according to Nielsen Music.
The title, which includes songs by Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt, is the first compilation to lead the list since another Now set, the first Now That’s What I Call Country album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Sept. 13, 2008 ranking. Just six various-artists titles (not including soundtracks) have reached No. 1 in the chart’s 51-year history: Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles (1993), Rhythm Country & Blues (1994), Totally Country Vol. 4 (2005), Totally Country 6 (2007) and the two Now titles.
Two notches lower on Top Country Albums, A Thousand Horses trot in at No. 3 with their self-titled debut (Republic Nashville/Big Machine Label Group). The set starts with 17,000 sold in its first week and includes lead single “Smoke,” which crowned the June 13 Country Airplay chart, and follow-up “(This Ain’t No) Drunk Dial,” which goes for adds June 29.
Montgomery Gentry starts at No. 13 on Top Country Albums with Folks Like Us (Blaster) (5,000). The pair (Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry) tallied nine top 10s on the chart 1999-2011. Two rose as high as No. 2: 2004’s You Do Your Thing and 2005’s Something to Be Proud Of: The Best of 1999-2005.
On Hot Country Songs, quartet Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” (Capitol Nashville) rules for an eighth week, marking the longest reign by a group (of at least three members) in 16 years. It’s the longest command by such an act since Lonestar also logged eight weeks on top in 1999 with “Amazed.” Only one song by a group has led longer since the list launched as a multimetric ranking in 1958: Trio The Browns’ classic “The Three Bells” rang up 10 weeks at No. 1 in 1959. The most weeks on top by any act? Duo Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” dominated for 24 frames in 2012-13.