In its 46th week, Jon Pardi's traditional-flavored "Head Over Boots" steps 3-1 on Billboard's Country Airplay chart (dated Aug. 27), increasing 9 percent to 43.2 million audience impressions, according to Nielsen Music.
Only three songs have needed more time to reach No. 1 than the Pardi and Luke Laird-penned "Boots," dating to Country Airplay's Jan. 20, 1990, launch. Chris Young's "Voices" completed the longest rise to the top: 51 weeks, culminating (during two release cycles) on Feb. 19, 2011. Tied for second place with twin 49-week trips are Canaan Smith's "Love You Like That" (July 25, 2015) and David Nail's "Let It Rain" (featuring Sarah Buxton) (Jan. 21, 2012).
"Head Over Boots" marks Pardi's fifth Country Airplay appearance. His previous best showing was the No. 11-peaking "Up All Night" in 2014. "It means a lot to have this No. 1," the 31-year-old from Dixon, Calif., tells Billboard. "I've had four years of experience with radio, and we've had some wins and we've had some losses. 'Head Over Boots' is a very traditional song, and it's no secret that I'm a traditional-leaning artist. I'm flattered and proud to be in that category. Everyone has their own lane, and this is mine."
Was the song a tough sell to radio programmers at first? "To be honest, 'Boots' wasn't one of my favorites when it was released," says KKBQ Houston PD Johnny Chiang. "But once it got on the air, our audience clearly loved it; 1,400 spins and counting. I am very glad that the song, which has a throwback feel to it, resonates with today's country audience."
WKLB Boston PD Mike Brophey concurs. "This is another example of a great song and a great artist, and persistence pays off," he says. "We [first] put it in rotation back in September."
On the hybrid Hot Country Songs chart, which combines airplay, sales and streaming, "Boots" hops 8-5 (up 2 percent), reaching a new best rank.
SOME WORDS ABOUT 'WORDS’: Blake Shelton achieves his 26th top 10 on Hot Country Songs, as "She's Got a Way With Words" lifts 12-10. It's buoyed by a 3 percent increase on Country Airplay, where it bumps 12-11 with 25.8 million in audience.
Shelton's If I'm Honest, his 10th studio album, reclaims the No. 1 spot on Top Country Albums due to a 99-cent sale tag in the Google Play music store. It logs a fourth total week at the summit, ascending 3-1 and -ballooning by 93 percent to 44,000 copies sold. On the all-genre, consumption-based Billboard 200, the set surges 9-4 (49,000 equivalent albums, up 72 percent).
CAREER BEST: On Top Country Albums, Cody Johnson's sixth studio set, Gotta Be Me, gives the Texas singer-songwriter his most successful week on the list, arriving at No. 2 with 23,000 sold. On the Billboard 200, it begins at No. 11 (25,000). Johnson's 2014 LP Cowboy Like Me became his first Top Country Albums entry, starting at its No. 7 peak (8,000).
Among other debuts in the Top Country Albums top 10: The Cadillac Three's second set and first to hit the chart, Bury Me in My Boots (No. 5; 11,000), and Chris Lane's first full-length, Girl Problems (No. 8; 6,000).
AIRPLAY ACTION: Dierks Bentley's "Different for Girls," featuring Elle King, enters Country Airplay's top 10 (11-9), gaining by 10 percent to 28.7 million. It's his 21st top 10 and alt-pop-rock artist King's first ... Ronnie Dunn's "Damn Drunk," with old friend Kix Brooks, opens on Country Airplay at No. 58 (1 million, up 244 percent). As a duo, Brooks & Dunn rolled up 20 Country Airplay No. 1s (1991-2005); the pair is tied for sixth place among all acts for the most leaders in the chart's history.