For only the second time in 2015, a track debuts atop Billboard's Hot Gospel Songs chart, as "Wanna Be Happy?," from Kirk Franklin's new album (expected in November), arrives on top of the list (dated Sept. 19).
"Happy" is Franklin's fourth leader and first No. 1 debut on the multi-metric Hot Gospel Songs chart. The song sold 12,000 downloads in the week ending Sept. 3, according to Nielsen Music, and likewise launches at No. 1 on Gospel Digital Songs; Franklin previously topped the sales list with 2011's "I Smile" for 40 weeks.
"After 22 years, I'm still very humbled to play a part in people's journey to get to know God's love," the format cornerstone tells Billboard regarding his new song's breakout success. "It's more than I could have ever imagined."
"Happy" also debuts at No. 17 on Gospel Airplay (and No. 26 on Adult R&B), aided by hourly plays on participating iHeartMedia-owned gospel and adult R&B stations on its release day, Aug. 28. It starts on Gospel Streaming Songs at No. 12 (162,000 U.S. streams).
The only other title this year to debut at No. 1 on Hot Gospel Songs? "How Great Thou Art," by season eight finalist on NBC's The Voice Koryn Hawthorne (April 25).
A 'WORTH'-Y No. 1: On Gospel Airplay, Anthony Brown & group therAPY's scores its first No. 1 as "Worth" rises 2-1. The act previously reached a No. 3 peak with its 2013 debut entry "Testimony."
"Worth" drops to No. 2 after eight weeks atop Hot Gospel Songs, where it likewise became the collective's first leader.
SIDEWALK TALK: Sidewalk Prophets' Something Different is one of two titles new to the Top Christian Albums chart's top five, leaping 36-4 in its fourth week with a 440 percent blast to 4,000 sold. The set soars following its first week of wide release; it was previously sold only at live shows.
Of the group's four entries on Top Christian Albums, the new effort is its third top 10, following 2013's Merry Christmas to You (No. 8) and 2012's Live Like That (No. 3). "Prodigal," the first single from the new release, steps 13-12 on Christian Airplay and re-enters Christian Digital Songs at No. 28 with 2,000 download sold (up 73 percent).
The other new title in the Top Christian Albums top five is Top 25 Praise Songs: 2016 Edition, a debut at No. 3 (5,000 sold). The double-disc various artists collection features worship songs popular at Christian churches around the country.
Additional reporting by Alex Vitoulis