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Kelsea Ballerini Collects Fourth Country Airplay No. 1 With ‘Legends’

Kelsea Ballerini's "Legends" (Black River) ascends 2-1 in its 37th week on Billboard's Country Airplay chart (dated Feb. 24).

Kelsea Ballerini‘s “Legends” (Black River) ascends 2-1 in its 37th week on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart (dated Feb. 24). The song claims Most Increased Audience honors, leaping by 14 percent to 38.6 million audience impressions in the week ending Feb. 18, according to Nielsen Music. The coronation marks the singer-songwriter’s fourth No. 1.

“Legends” was co-written by the 24-year-old Ballerini with Hillary Lindsey and Forest Glen Whitehead. The ballad is the lead single from Ballerini’s second full-length, Unapologetically, which debuted at its No. 3 high on the Top Country Albums chart dated Nov. 25, 2017.

Was “Legends” Ballerini’s natural pick as the album’s maiden single “Yes and no,” she tells Billboard. “I love that the meaning of the lyrics can change depending on the perspective you listen to it with, and I really felt like it covered the heartbreak, life and love story that sums up Unapologetically as an album. It was definitely not the easiest radio pick, just being a mid-tempo story-driven song, but that makes seeing it go to No. 1 even sweeter.”


Ballerini scored her first No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart dated July 4, 2015, with her debut single “Love Me Like You Mean It.” The song made Ballerini the first woman to top the tally with a launch format single since Carrie Underwood, whose “Jesus, Take the Wheel” led the list dated Jan. 21, 2006.

“The success that ‘Love Me’ had was surreal for our whole team,” Ballerini says. “I think it got the shot it did because of the women before me: Shania [Twain], Carrie, Faith [Hill], Reba [McEntire]. I hope to keep blazing the trail behind them, but definitely don’t consider myself the solo ceiling-breaker. I really believe that good music and hard work will find its way, and we’re seeing that right now with Carly Pearce, Maren Morris, Walker Hayes and Brett Young.” 

After “Love Me” (which reached the Country Airplay summit in its 38th week), Ballerini reigned with “Dibs” (March 5, 2016) and “Peter Pan (Sept. 24, 2016); the latter two songs took 34 and 26 weeks, respectively, to hit No. 1. “Yeah Boy,” the fourth single from Ballerini’s first full-length, The First Time, peaked at No. 3 (May 13, 2017).

Since Ballerini first topped Country Airplay, her four leaders rank first among women; Lauren Alaina, Maren Morris and Underwood follow with two each in that span.

On Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart, which blends streaming, airplay and sales data, “Legends” lifts into the top 10 (11-10). Ballerini earns her fifth top 10 on Hot Country Songs, where “Peter Pan” flew to No. 1 for two weeks.

‘MEANT TO’ REIGN: Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line‘s crossover hit “Meant to Be” (Warner Bros./Big Machine Label Group) tops Hot Country Songs for a 12th week. On the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, it rises to a new peak (9-7).

“Meant” is being driven in part by multi-format support at both pop and country radio, where it’s being dually promoted. On Country Airplay, it jumps 20-16, up 12 percent to 13.8 million impressions. (It bullets at No. 13 on both Pop Songs and Adult Pop Songs.)


NEW TOP 10s: Also on Country Airplay, Luke Bryan banks his 25th top 10, and 24th in succession (counting singles promoted to country radio and excluding holiday fare), as “Most People Are Good” (Capitol Nashville) climbs 12-8 (24.1 million, up 8 percent).

Starting with 2008’s No. 10-peaking “Country Man,” Bryan’s second Country Airplay top 10, all of his official singles have reached the top tier (with his last 10 prior to “People” hitting No. 1, the longest current streak among all artists). Bryan boasts the third-longest active top 10 streak, after Keith Urban (38) and Carrie Underwood (26).

Brett Eldredge banks his seventh Country Airplay top 10, as “The Long Way”(Atlantic/Warner Music Nashville) rises 11-9 (23.6 million, up less than 1 percent).


Plus, Jordan Davis notches his first Country Airplay top 10 as his debut hit, “Singles You Up” (MCA Nashville), strides 14-10 (22.2 million, up 6 percent).

FANS ARE ‘LOVING’ LANGSTON: Finally, Jon Langston makes his second Hot Country Songs appearance, following the No. 44-peaking “Right Girl Wrong Time” last May. His new self-released single, “When It Comes to Loving You,” arrives at No. 29, the chart’s highest debut, on the strength of 21,000 downloads sold, as it starts at No. 3 on Country Digital Song Sales.