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A Lot About ‘Living’: Dierks Bentley Scores 17th Country Airplay No. 1

"The dream is to write and record songs that are authentically personal to me, but also have commercial success; I want both," Bentley tells Billboard. "Usually, you wind up with a little bit of one…

Dierks Bentley earns his 17th No. 1 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart, as “Living” lifts 2-1 on the list (dated Sept. 28), up 12% to 39.5 million audience impressions in the week ending Sept. 22, according to Nielsen Music.

On the Hot Country Songs chart, which is fueled by airplay, streaming and sales data, “Living” rises 8-6.

“The dream is to write and record songs that are authentically personal to me, but also have commercial success; I want both,” Bentley tells Billboard. “Usually, you wind up with a little bit of one and a little bit of the other. But with ‘Living,’ I got it both ways. I got to write something that has deep meaning for me, a song with the importance of gratitude at its core. And, I get to go out there on stage and pound my chest and sing it at the top of my lungs along with all our fans, who know it by heart thanks to country radio. That is the dream, and it came true with this one.”

Bentley co-authored “Living” with Ashley Gorley, Jon Nite and Ross Copperman. It’s the third single from Bentley’s ninth full-length, The Mountain, which was produced by Copperman and Jon Randall and launched as Bentley’s seventh No. 1 on the Top Country Albums chart in June 2018.

The set’s lead single, “Woman, Amen,” led Country Airplay for a week in June 2018. Second single “Burning Man” (featuring Brothers Osborne) reached No. 2 this February.

Bentley landed his first Country Airplay leader with his debut single, “What Was I Thinkin’,” for a week in September 2003. He’s the 13th artist with as many as 17 No. 1s since the chart began in January 1990. Kenny Chesney leads all acts with 30 chart-toppers.

As “Living” crosses the finish line in its 30th week on Country Airplay, Bentley ties the ascent of “Say You Do” (2014-15) for his second-longest journey to the summit; “I Hold On” took a 31-week trip to the top in 2013-14. He made his speediest sprint to No. 1 with “Somewhere on a Beach”: 16 weeks, in 2016.


STELL’S FIRST TOP 10 Matt Stell earns his first Hot Country Songs top 10, as his first charted single, “Prayed for You,” climbs 11-9 in its 36th week on the tally. On Country Airplay, “Prayed” hops 9-6, up 19% to 29 million in radio reach. It also drew 4.7 million U.S. streams and sold 5,000 downloads in the tracking week.

COMBS & BROOKS & DUNN Also on Hot Country Songs, Luke Combs’ new single “Even Though I’m Leaving” flies 20-10, marking his seventh top 10. After its official video arrived on Sept. 9, the song scored 7.1 million U.S. streams (up 34%) and 9,000 downloads sold (up 34%) in the Sept. 13-19 tracking week, On Country Airplay, “Leaving” leaps 21-16 (14.8 million in audience, up 44%).

Meanwhile, the latest sample of Combs’ sophomore LP, What You See Is What You Get, due Nov. 8, is the 90’s- country-inspired “1, 2 Many,” with Brooks & Dunn. Released on Sept. 12, the track sold 16,000 downloads in its first full week and launches at No. 1 on Country Digital Song Sales. The coronation marks Combs’ fourth on the survey and Brooks & Dunn’s first.

Additionally earning 4.4 million U.S. streams in its first full week, the track debuts at No. 20 on Hot Country Songs, representing Brooks & Dunn’s highest-career entrance among 64 appearances starting in 1991. Combs and the duo chart their second shared entry on the survey: their collaborative update of Brooks & Dunn’s debut No. 1 “Brand New Man” bowed and peaked at No. 30 in February.

Concurrently, Combs’ first LP, This One’s For You, rebounds 2-1 on Top Country Albums (20,000 equivalent album units, up 6%). The set scores a 48th week at No. 1 and is now only two weeks from potentially tying the record for the longest reign in the chart’s history (which dates to 1964). Shania Twain’s Come On Over ruled for 50 weeks beginning in 1997.