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Reba McEntire, George Strait & Dwight Yoakam Return to Country Charts

All three stars pad their impressive legacies with debuts, including McEntire, who scores her 12th Top Country Albums No. 1, extending her record for the most among women.

Reba McEntire returns to familiar hallowed ground on Billboard‘s Top Country Albums chart, as Love Somebody debuts at No. 1 with 58,000 first-week copies sold, according to Nielsen Music. The set is McEntire’s first leader on the list since Keep on Loving You spent its first two weeks at the summit in September 2009. (In between, All the Women I Am debuted and peaked at No. 3 in November 2010.)

McEntire extends her record for the most Top Country Albums No. 1s among women to 12. Loretta Lynn ranks second in the category with 10. Among all acts with the most leaders, McEntire pulls into a tie for eighth place. George Strait leads with 25, followed by Merle Haggard and Tim McGraw (15 each); Garth Brooks (14); Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson and Willie Nelson (13 each). Buck Owens and Charley Pride have also each earned 12 toppers.


McEntire additionally joins Strait as the only acts with No. 1s on Top Country Albums in the 1980s, ’90s, 2000s and ’10s.

Aiding the strong start of Love Somebody: lead single “Going Out Like That,” which reaches a new peak (32-25) on Hot Country Songs. It’s her best rank since her remake of Beyonce’s “If I Were a Boy” hit No. 22 more than four years ago.

The new album’s coronation also marks the first No. 1 on a Billboard chart for the Nash Icon imprint, to which McEntire became the first signee in October.

Sam Hunt’s ‘Take Your Time’ Tops Country Airplay

STRAIT TALK: Speaking of Strait, the King of Country debuts on Hot Country Songs at No. 29 with “Let It Go” (not a remake of Idina Menzel‘s smash from Frozen). His 121st career entry bows with the majority of its chart points (89 percent) from digital sales, as it starts on Country Digital Songs with 27,000 first-week downloads sold. It lifts 52-47 in its second week on Country Airplay.

Strait performed his new single, his first following his June 2014 retirement from touring, on the 50th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, broadcast live April 19 on CBS. (He also took home the Milestone Award.) Other acts likewise parlay exposure on the ACMs to chart growth. Performer and winner Florida Georgia Line earns the second-largest unit gain on Top Country Albums, as Anything Goes rises 5-4 with a 74 percent blast to 13,000 sold.

Plus, Little Big Town rides a performance of “Girl Crush” to the biggest sales week for a country song in 2015: 97,000 downloads sold (up 126 percent). Parent set Pain Killer nets the greatest gain on Top Country Albums (12-7; up 165 percent to 11,000).

‘HEART’ BEATS STRONG: Another venerable star returns to Top Country Albums, as Dwight Yoakam‘s Second Hand Heart bows at No. 2 with 21,000 sold, marking his best sales frame since 1998.

Dwight Yoakam Goes Back to Cali with New Album, ‘Second Hand Heart’

The album marks the California-based (and musically influenced) singer/songwriter’s highest-charted title on Top Country Albums since 1988, when Buenas Noches From a Lonely Room became his third career-opening No. 1. It followed 1987’s Hillbilly Deluxe and his 1986 debut, Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc. Second Hand Heart marks his 16th top 10 on the tally.

Yoakam has charted 39 hits on Hot Country Songs, including 14 top 10s. Two reached No. 1: “Streets of Bakersfield,” with Buck Owens, in 1988, and “I Sang Dixie” in 1989. In 1993-94, he added three consecutive No. 2 hits: “Ain’t That Lonely Yet,” “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” and “Fast as You.”

–Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield