MercyMe’s 1999 classic “I Can Only Imagine,” propelled by the new movie of the same name which chronicles the life of the group’s frontman and the song’s author, Bart Millard, crowns Billboard‘s Hot Christian Songs chart for the first time. The song lifts 2-1 on the survey dated March 31.
“Imagine” marks the band’s record-extending 13th No. 1 on Hot Christian Songs (which began in 2003; the track dominated Christian radio in 2001 and crossed over to a No. 5 peak on Adult Contemporary in 2003).
The film’s box office success helps spark the ballad’s 175 percent surge to 27,000 downloads sold and 60 percent boost to 3.6 million U.S. streams in the week ending March 22, according to Nielsen Music. The song tops Christian Digital Song Sales for a third week and ranks at No. 2 on Christian Streaming Songs.
Concurrently, new, more uptempo “Imagine (The Movie Session)” jumps 29-19 on Hot Christian Songs. It lifts 27-26 on Christian Airplay (1.3 million in audience).
TOBYMAC RULES RADIO: tobyMac notches his ninth Christian Airplay leader, as “I Just Need You” ascends 2-1. The song reigns with 9 million in audience (up 1 percent).
tobyMac ties Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin for the second-most No. 1s, after MercyMe’s record 14.