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For King & Country’s ‘Burn the Ships’ Hits No. 1: ‘Wasn’t Sure a Song About Addiction Would Be Accepted’

For King & Country, the duo of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, banks its sixth No. 1 on Billboard's Christian Airplay chart, as "Burn the Ships" rises 2-1 on the chart dated Jan. 18.

For King & Country, the duo of brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone, banks its sixth No. 1 on Billboard‘s Christian Airplay chart, as “Burn the Ships” rises 2-1 on the chart dated Jan. 18.

In the week ending Jan. 12, “Ships” increased by 3% to 11.5 million Christian radio audience impressions, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.

For King & Country wrote “Ships” with Matt Hales and Seth Mosely, inspired by Luke Smallbone’s wife’s fight to overcome drug dependence. “‘Burn the Ships’ is deeply personal for my wife and me and, I’ve got to admit, I wasn’t sure how a song about the struggle of addiction would be accepted by people,” he tells Billboard. “I’m incredibly grateful and humbled because this song wouldn’t exist if not for my wife’s honesty, transparency and strength.”

With “Ships,” for King & Country adds its sixth Christian Airplay leader, among 11 top 10s. The act claims the eighth-most No. 1s in the history of the chart, which launched in 2003. MercyMe leads with 16, followed by Casting Crowns (11); Jeremy Camp, tobyMac and Chris Tomlin (nine each); Matthew West (eight); and Third Day (seven).

“Ships” also marks for King & Country’s third straight Christian Airplay leader (not counting holiday fare). “God Only Knows” led for 10 weeks starting last April, marking the duo’s longest-leading hit, after “joy.” reigned for four frames starting in August 2018.

On the streaming-, airplay- and sales-powered Hot Christian Songs chart, “Ships” holds at its No. 5 high. In the week ending Jan. 9, it attracted 1.2 million U.S. streams (up 16%) and sold 2,000 downloads.


WEST GOES NORTH Matthew West notches his 18th top 10 on Hot Christian Songs, a sum that includes five No. 1s, as “The God Who Stays” bumps 11-10, up 36% to 685,000 U.S. streams and 23% to 1,000 sold. The song also jumps 10-5 for a new high on Christian Airplay, gaining by 19% to 8.2 million in audience.

‘HOME’ RUN MercyMe rolls up its 26th Christian Airplay top 10, as “Almost Home” climbs 11-9, up 8% to 7.5 million in radio reach.

The act ties Casting Crowns for the most top 10s among groups. The bands are tied for second overall behind Chris Tomlin, who leads with 28.

‘FAITH’ REWARDED Charles Jenkins & Fellowship Chicago reach the Gospel Airplay top 10 with “Keep the Faith” (11-10). Jenkins earns his seventh top 10, with six marking collaborations with Fellowship Chicago, his longtime backing group.