PERFECT ‘T(H)EN’: Brad Paisley becomes one of just five acts in the 65-year history of Hot Country Songs to collect 10 consecutive No. 1s (excluding unpromoted album cuts and holiday songs), as “Then,” his 14th career leader, rises 2-1. Paisley takes his place alongside four format heavyweights:
Alabama, 21 consecutive No. 1s (1980-87)
Sonny James, 16 consecutive No. 1s (1967-71)
George Strait, 11 consecutive No. 1s (1986-89)
Ronnie Milsap, 10 consecutive No. 1s (1980-83)
Paisley’s streak began with “When I Get Where I’m Going,” featuring Dolly Parton, in March 2006. He had most recently led with “Start a Band,” his duet with Keith Urban, in January.
Bookending the chart’s top tier, Paisley’s Arista Nashville labelmate Alan Jackson logs his landmark 50th top 10, as “Sissy’s Song” advances 12-10. Jackson first reached the upper bracket with his second single, “Here in the Real World” (No. 3), in April 1990. (His first entry, “Blue Blooded Woman,” cooled at a No. 45 peak in 1989). Since Jackson’s top 10 discography began, only George Strait (54) has more top 10s.
The new song’s rise makes Jackson’s current album, “Good Time,” his first with four top 10 tracks since “Drive” in 2001-02. The first three singles from “Good Time” – “Small Town Southern Man,” the title cut and “Country Boy” – all reached No. 1.
‘STORY’-BOOK SUCCESS: A deeper perspective on how long Paisley has been continuously conquering Hot Country Songs? When his streak of 10 No. 1s started in March 2006, Taylor Swift was four months away from drawing her first Billboard chart ink. Now a household name, Swift this week celebrates her first Adult Contemporary No. 1, as “Love Story” lifts 2-1.
The song is just the fifth No. 1 on Hot Country Songs, where it led for two weeks in November, to top Adult Contemporary since the latter chart converted to Nielsen BDS data in 1993. Here are the select five (of 109 total Adult Contemporary No. 1s) to lead both lists in that span:
“Love Story,” Taylor Swift, 2008-09
“What Hurts the Most,” Rascal Flatts, 2006-07
“I Hope You Dance,” Lee Ann Womack, 2001
“Breathe,” Faith Hill, 2000
“You’re Still the One,” Shania Twain, 1998
In February, “Love Story” became the first former No. 1 on Hot Country Songs to rule the Mainstream Top 40 airplay chart.
The song takes over the top of Adult Contemporary in its 31st week, tying for fourth-longest ascent to the summit in the chart’s 48-year history. Matchbox Twenty’s “If You’re Gone” holds the record with a 42-week trek to the top in 2001. Unlike its measured rise to the Adult Contemporary summit, “Love Story” rose to No. 1 on Hot Country Songs in its ninth frame, becoming one of just 11 songs this decade to zoom to the chart’s top spot in nine weeks or less.
THEY ARE THE CHAMPIONS: The Adult Contemporary format also welcomes newly-crowned “American Idol” king Kris Allen. His coronation song “No Boundaries” garners enough spins since it was serviced to radio immediately following the series’ eighth season finale (May 20) to enter at No. 27 after just four days or airplay.
A year ago this week, last season’s “Idol” victory song, “The Time of My Life” by David Cook, opened at No. 30. That ballad departs this week after 52 weeks – 15 spent at No. 1 – but Cook again claims the chart’s anchor spot with a debut for “Come Back to Me.”
‘NEW’ IS NEW: Linkin Park posts its third top 10 debut on the Modern Rock airplay chart, as “New Divide” roars in at No. 6. The group is the fifth act to land a trio of top 10 entrances in the chart’s 20-year history, joining U2 (eight), R.E.M. (six), Pearl Jam (four) and Red Hot Chili Peppers (three).
“Divide” marks the chart’s highest bow since the Offspring’s “Hammerhead” launched at No. 5 a year ago. The new cut previews the movie soundtrack “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” due June 23.
COMPLETE BEAT: We’re not done with Kris Allen and Linkin Park. Check back tomorrow when we run down feats from among all our charts, including the Billboard Hot 100, where “Idol”-related tracks from Allen, runner-up Adam Lambert and David Cook will blast in due to hefty digital download sales. Another track from a Fox TV series – “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” by the cast of “Glee” – will also soar in. Linkin Park was one of the few acts not to appear on Fox last week, but its latest will also start strong when the Hot 100 is finalized.
The Billboard 200 is also bustling, with high-powered arrivals from Eminem, Kenny Chesney and Dane Cook among seven top 10 debuts. The “Idol” finale similarly spurs an entrance for one of the show’s special guest performers, Steve Martin. Though he didn’t claim the “Idol” crown, as he dryly confessed to host Ryan Seacrest he hoped he would, the comedian/banjoist returns to the album chart for the first time since 1981.