Garth Brooks reaches the top 10 on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart for the 35th time, and the first time in almost 10 years, as “Ask Me How I Know” rises 12-10 on the list dated Nov. 4. It gains by 9 percent to 27.5 million in audience, according to Nielsen Music.
The track is the second single from his 2016 Gunslinger set, following the No. 15-peaking “Baby, Let’s Lay Down and Dance.” The set has sold 126,000 copies, adding to Brooks’ standing as the top-selling album artist since Nielsen began tracking sales in 1991. He has sold 71.9 million albums since then. The Beatles follow with 68.9 million, while Metallica ranks third with 58.3 million.
Brooks scores his first Country Airplay top 10 since “More Than a Memory,” the only song ever to debut atop the chart. “Memory” soared in at No. 1 on Sept. 15, 2007, becoming his 18th leader. After its week on top, it spent 14 more weeks in the top 10 (through Dec. 22, 2007).
Brooks also joins 10 other acts in notching Country Airplay top 10s in the ’90s, ’00s and ’10s. The others to accomplish such triple-decade top 10 success: Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley, George Strait and Clay Walker.
Meanwhile, “Ask” becomes Brooks’ first Billboard Hot 100 entry in nearly 10 years, debuting at No. 98. He’d last appeared on the all-genre ranking with “Memory,” which reached No. 53 in December 2007. (His highest Hot 100 rank? Perhaps surprisingly, “Lost in You,” which debuted at peaked at No. 5 in 1999 … as credited to “Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines,” his fictional rock star persona.)
“In looking over the songs Garth has released for the last 10-plus years, [‘Ask’] is testing better than anything I’ve seen [since ‘Memory’],” says WDAF Kansas City program director Wes Poe. “The younger part of our audience actually embraced this single first. It’s awesome to see that part of this story unfold. And, after seven sold-out shows last spring in Kansas City, it’s hard to ignore that the Garth force is still strong here.”
“‘Ask Me How I Know’ has been a consistent solid tester for us,” echoes KKBQ Houston pd Johnny Chiang. “Considering the question of whether Garth is still relevant today, it’s clear-cut: yes! He’s a transcendent superstar and our audience loves him.”