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Judah & the Lion Roar to First Alternative Songs No. 1

The folk-tinged "Take It All Back" rises 2-1. It also hits the Hot Rock Songs top 10.

Banjos return to the top of Billboard‘s Alternative Songs airplay chart (dated Jan. 7, 2017), as Judah & the Lion rise 2-1 with “Take It All Back,” the band’s first entry on the tally. The song reigns in its 19th week on the tally.

Judah & the Lion, thus, become the first act in the 2017 chart year to land an Alternative Songs No. 1 with a first charted title at the format. Four acts accomplished the feat in 2016: Nothing But Thieves (“Trip Switch”), The Strumbellas (“Spirits”), Kaleo (“Way Down We Go”) and The Head and the Heart (“All We Ever Knew”).


The Nashville-based Judah & the Lion, which formed in the early 2010s as a folk band featuring bluegrass undertones, with banjo and mandolin part of its sound, adopted more of an alternative rock approach (although folk instrumentation remains) for its third album, Folk Hop N’ Roll, which debuted and peaked at No. 7 on Americana/Folk Albums in March 2016. A deluxe version of the set released later in the year includes a re-recorded version of “Take” that was serviced to radio.

Of course, the group isn’t the only act with folk leanings to rule Alternative Songs this decade. Mumford & Sons made a career out of it (before their more alt-rock makeover in 2015), with five top 10s in 2010-13, including two No. 1s: “Little Lion Man” and “I Will Wait.” Imagine Dragons‘ first hit, “It’s Time,” which peaked at No. 4 in 2012, prominently features mandolin. And, The Lumineers continue to add hits, with “Ophelia” ruling for four weeks in 2016 after “Ho Hey” led for two weeks in 2012. (“Ophelia” went on to become the No. 1 hit on the 2016 year-end Alternative Songs chart.)

Concurrently, “Take” hits a new high on the multi-format Rock Airplay chart, rising 8-7 with 8 million audience impressions (up 5 percent), according to Nielsen Music. The track also hits the Hot Rock Songs top 10 (13-10) in its 18th week on the multi-metric chart, additionally fueled by its 14-12 push on Rock Digital Song Sales (6,000 downloads sold, up 15 percent).