Country Songs of Summer Ranked: Sam Hunt’s ‘Body’ Leads the Pack
We ranked the top five on Billboard's hybrid Hot Country Songs chart, which combines airplay, streaming and sales data, along with our radio-fueled Country Airplay survey.
It’s that time — pools and beaches are still bustling, but already in some states, kids are gearing up for school. We’re about two-thirds of the way through the summer of 2017, so we’re taking a look at the top country songs of the season so far, recapping the span of time between the June 17 and Aug. 12-dated charts.
We ranked the top five on Billboard‘s hybrid Hot Country Songs chart, which combines airplay, streaming and sales data, along with our radio-fueled Country Airplay survey. We also surveyed a number of country radio programmers for their top picks, considering their respective research methods, audience response and, of course, good old-fashioned personal taste.
Hot Country Songs Top Five:
1. Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road” (MCA Nashville) (No. 1, 26 weeks)
2. Brett Young, “In Case You Didn’t Know” (Big -Machine Label Group) (No. 2 peak)
3. Luke Combs, “Hurricane” (River House/Columbia Nashville) (No. 3)
4. Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris, “Craving You” (Valory) (No. 3)
5. Keith Urban featuring Carrie Underwood, “The Fighter” (Hit Red/Capitol Nashville) (No. 2)
Country Airplay Top Five:
1. Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris, “Craving You” (Valory) (No. 1, one week)
2. Dylan Scott, “My Girl” (Curb) (No. 1, one week)
3. Rascal Flatts, “Yours If You Want It” (BMLG) (No. 1, one week)
4. Sam Hunt, “Body Like a Back Road” (MCA Nashville) (No. 1, three weeks)
5. Keith Urban Featuring Carrie Underwood, “The Fighter” (Hit Red/Capitol Nashville) (No. 2 peak)
Nancy Wilson, PD, WHKO Dayton, Ohio: “Our top-testing song so far this year is still Brett Young’s ‘In Case.’ This song is the perfect storm: high love, low burn and it resonates with all ages. Second, it goes without saying Sam Hunt’s ‘Body’ is a monster. We’re still getting requests for this song that celebrates women.”
Charlie Cook, Cumulus Media vp country programming: “There is no question that the song of summer, and likely the most impactful song of the year, is ‘Body.’ The song will not quit. The country audience loves it as much today as when it came out. The other is ‘In Case.’ Brett has a distinctive sound, and the fans have embraced it wholeheartedly. Cumulus has kept both songs in power current, based on research and audience input.”
Johnny Chiang, PD, KKBQ Houston: “I have two: Midland‘s ‘Drinkin’ Problem’ [Big Machine], because when I hear it, I visualize some dude getting wasted in a dingy bar on a hot summer night, and Danielle Bradbery‘s ‘Sway’ [Big Machine]. The video should show her -swaying on the beach.”
Lance Houston, PD, WBWL Boston: “‘Walker Hayes’ ‘You Broke Up With Me’ [Monument/Arista -Nashville] is a great song that is reacting with our -audience like I’ve never seen. Every time we play it, we see Shazam spikes in the market. The other is Chris Janson’s ‘Fix a Drink’ [Warner Bros./WAR]. If this doesn’t scream -‘summer,’ I’m not sure what does.’
Kerry Wolfe, PD, WMIL Milwaukee: “The two top songs of summer, with all demographics … are Hunt’s ‘Body’ and Rhett and Morris’ ‘Craving You.’
Nate Deaton, GM, KRTY San Jose, Calif.: “Of course, ‘Body’ is a no-brainer, and not just for summer, but so far this year. Second is Walker Hayes’ ‘You Broke Up With Me’ [Monument/Arista Nashville], which is just a dang hit.”
MEANWHILE: As Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” leads Hot Country Songs for a record-extending 26th week, it breaks another record. “Body” reigns on Country Digital Song Sales for its 26th week (40,000, down 4 percent), passing Florida Georgia Line’s 2012/2013 hit “Cruise” (25 weeks). To date, “Body” has sold 1.4 million downloads, according to Nielsen Music.
MAYBE YOU ‘DIDN’T KNOW’: While Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” was setting the record for most weeks atop Hot Country Songs, Brett Young’s “In Case,” which declines 2-3 on the Aug. 19 chart, quietly set its own record for the longest run at No. 2 among all songs that peaked in the runner-up position. Before dropping 2-3, “In Case” spent 16 weeks at No. 2. The second-longest run in that position is Hunt’s No. 2-peaking “Break Up in a Small Town,” which spent 11 weeks at No. 2 in 2015 and 2016.
NEW TOP 10: Cole Swindell banks his seventh Hot Country Songs top 10 as “Flatliner” (Warner Bros./Warner Music Nashville) hops 12-10. It’s aided by its 4-2 bump on Country Airplay (38 million, up 5 percent) and an 11 percent burst to 4.4 million U.S. clicks, stepping 18-17 on Country Streaming Songs.