Marking a first this year, the same song dominates Billboard’s Country Airplay chart (dated Oct. 7) for four weeks. Dustin Lynch’s “Small Town Boy” (Broken Bow) tallies a fourth week at the summit, earning 42.5 million audience impressions (down 4 percent) in the week ending Sept. 24, according to Nielsen Music. “Boy” scores the longest No. 1 stay since Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man” reigned for six frames starting on the survey dated Jan. 2, 2016.
“Sometimes you have a song that everyone knows is the right one: the artist, label, radio and listeners,” Broken Bow Records vp promotion Lee Adams tells Billboard. “Clearly, ‘Boy’ is that song.”
The track, written by Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip and Kyle Fishman, is Lynch’s fifth total and consecutive Country Airplay No. 1 among six top 10s. His debut hit, “Cowboys and Angels,” reached No. 2 in 2012.
“Boy” “is the perfect song for the core country audience, and it connected immediately,” says WYCD Detroit PD Tim Roberts. “It tested power from day one and is just a rare song that never burns. I could play it for another eight weeks in heavy rotation.”
For other programmers, “Boy” took a minute to connect with audiences. “The interesting thing is it did start a bit slow in research,” says KRTY San Jose, Calif., GM Nate Deaton. “A lot of times, long-running [hit] songs jump out immediately, but this one took a bit longer to kick in. Once it did, however, it was huge. It has the perfect end-of-summer groove.”
“Boy” is now halfway to the longest roll at No. 1 in the Country Airplay chart’s 27-year history: eight weeks. Two songs have accomplished that feat — Lonestar’s 1999 smash “Amazed” and Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffet’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” (2003).
BIG (& RICH) DEBUT On Top Country Albums, the sixth full-length album by Big & Rich, Did It for the Party (B&R/Thirty Tigers), opens at No. 2, earning 27,000 units (26,000 in pure sales) in its first week (ending Sept. 21). The duo, Kenny Alphin and John Rich, makes its highest Top Country Albums debut since Between Raising Hell and Amazing Grace began at No. 1 on the chart dated June 23, 2007 (with 103,000 sold). The new set marks the duo’s sixth Top Country Albums top 10. On the all-genre Billboard 200, Party starts at No. 9.
Elsewhere on Top Country Albums, Thomas Rhett’s Life Changes (Valory/Big Machine Label Group) rules for a second week with 39,000 equivalent album units (down 68 percent). The album also launches at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 and at No. 1 on Country Album Sales.
NEW TOP 10s While Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” (MCA -Nashville) leads for a record-extending 33rd week on the streaming, airplay and sales-driven Hot Country Songs, two acts achieve top 10 success on the chart for the first time.
LANco’s “Greatest Love Story” (Arista Nashville) jumps 14-9, buoyed by multiple new chart peaks: It logs a 22 percent hike to 16,000 downloads sold, romping 9-5 on Country Digital Song Sales; increases 13 percent to 3.3 million U.S. streams to lift 18-16 on Country -Streaming Songs; and gains by 12 percent to 17.9 million in radio audience as it rises 17-15 on Country Airplay. “Story” is the band’s second charted single, following “Long Live Tonight,” which peaked at Nos. 32 and 46, respectively, on Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs.
Carly Pearce’s debut single, “Every Little Thing” (Big Machine), pushes 12-10 on Hot Country Songs. It enters the top 10 on Country Digital Song Sales for the first time (12-9; up 16 percent to 11,000 sold) and returns to its high on Country Airplay (10-9; increasing 10 percent to 26.1 million).
‘DRINK’ TO THAT Chris Janson notches his second Country Airplay top 10 as “Fix a Drink” (Warner Bros./WAR) pushes 11-10 (23.5 million, up 12 percent). It follows 2015’s No. 3-peaking “Buy Me a Boat.”