Jimmie Allen and Brad Paisley‘s “Freedom Was a Highway” rides into the top 10 of Billboard‘s airplay-, sales- and streaming-based Hot Country Songs chart (dated Jan. 15), revving from No. 13 to No. 9.
On Country Airplay, the track holds at its No. 8 high, up by 3% to 19.5 million impressions in the week ending Jan. 9, according to MRC Data.
After Allen performed the song on CBS’ New Year’s Eve Live: Nashville’s Big Bash, it also surged by 35% to 5.3 million streams and 135% to 2,300 sold in the week ending Jan. 6.
The single, which Allen wrote with Ash Bowers and Matt Rogers, marks Allen’s third Hot Country Songs top 10 and first since “Make Me Want To,” which hit No. 7 in March 2020. It also led Country Airplay that month, marking his second No. 1.
“Highway” grants Paisley his 33rd Hot Country Songs top 10 and first since March 2017, when “Today” reached No. 7. Paisley initially reached the tier with “He Didn’t Have to Be,” which became his first of 18 leaders in December 1999.
‘TO’ THE TOP 10 Parker McCollum nets his second Hot Country Songs top 10, as “To Be Loved By You” pushes 14-10. The single, which McCollum authored with Rhett Akins, rises 12-11 for a new high on Country Airplay (15.2 million, up 7%). It also drew 2.1 million streams (up 4%) and sold 1,000 downloads in the tracking week.
In his maiden Hot Country Songs appearance, McCollum’s “Pretty Heart” hit No. 4 in December 2020. The track became his first Country Airplay leader the same month.
‘LIKE’ STILL LOVED Walker Hayes’ “Fancy Like” banks its 23rd week atop Hot Country Songs. Only four titles have led the list longer since it became an all-encompassing genre chart in 1958, paced by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line’s “Meant to Be” (50 weeks, 2017-18).
“Fancy” leads Country Digital Song Sales for a 24th week (7,300, up 10%) and Country Streaming Songs for a 20th frame (11.4 million streams, up 11%). The single, which crowned Country Airplay in November, also drew 22.7 million impressions in all-format radio audience in the tracking week.
SIX-CESS Dustin Lynch’s “Thinking ‘Bout You,” featuring MacKenzie Porter, rules Country Airplay for a sixth week (27.1 million impressions).
The song ties for the chart’s longest leading hit of the 2020s so far, matching Luke Combs’ “Forever After All,” which began its six-week reign in June 2021. “Thinking” sports the longest command since Combs’ “Beautiful Crazy” logged seven weeks on top starting in March 2019.
“Thinking” is the 23rd song to dominate Country Airplay for at least six weeks, among 884 total toppers dating to the chart’s 1990 inception (or a feat achieved by only 3% of all No. 1s). Two songs have led for a record eight weeks each: Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (2003) and Lonestar’s “Amazed” (1999).
NOT ‘HALF’ BAD Kelsea Ballerini’s “Half of My Hometown,” featuring Kenny Chesney, hits the Country Airplay top 10, lifting 11-10 (16.6 million, up 8%).
Ballerini adds her eighth top 10 on the chart, a sum including four No. 1s.
Chesney banks his 60th Country Airplay top 10, pushing him to within one of George Strait’s record 61 (in a race that baseball historians will appreciate).
BACK IN ‘TOWN’ Maren Morris scores her highest Country Airplay debut, as “Circles Around This Town” enters at No. 25 based on its first three days of airplay. Released Jan. 7 (when it received hourly plays on participating iHeartMedia stations), it drew 6.9 million audience impressions through Jan. 9.
Morris previously bowed at a No. 28 best on Country Airplay with two eventual No. 1s: “Girl,” in January 2019, and as featured on Thomas Rhett’s “Craving You” in April 2017.
The new single follows “Chasing After You,” Morris’ collaboration with her husband, Ryan Hurd; the song reached No. 2 in November.
“Town,” which Morris co-wrote, is the first single from her upcoming album, as well as her first new solo music since Girl, which opened at No. 1 on Top Country Albums in March 2019.