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Sam Hunt Takes ‘Road’ to No. 1, Kelsea Ballerini Jumps & Chris Stapleton Debuts

Sam Hunt's "Body Like a Back Road" shifts into an even higher gear, leading Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart (dated May 6) for an 11th week -- tying for his longest reign on the tally -- and…

Sam Hunt‘s “Body Like a Back Road” shifts into an even higher gear, leading Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart (dated May 6) for an 11th week — tying for his longest reign on the tally — and taking over atop Country Airplay. Meanwhile, it continues to top the Country Streaming Songs and Country Digital Song Sales charts, making for a rare domination of all four country song surveys.

Hunt earns his fifth Country Airplay leader, as “Road” travels 2-1 with a 4 percent gain to 44 million audience impressions in the week ending April 23, according to Nielsen Music. He notched four from his debut full-length Montevallo in 2014 through 2016 (all for a week each): “Leave the Night On,” “Take Your Time,” “House Party” and “Make You Miss Me.” (No sophomore album is yet in sight, with Hunt recently telling Billboard of the so-far stand-alone “Road,” “Putting out music as it’s made, versus holding it until an album’s finished, allows me to be more timely.”)


“This single is simply in the stratosphere,” says Mike Dungan, UMG Nashville Chairman/CEO. “I think America likes it!” At 12 weeks, “Road” easily marks Hunt’s fastest flight to No. 1 on Country Airplay, passing the 21-week ascent for “Leave.” Adds Katie Dean, MCA Nashville vp promotion, “Our partners at country radio immediately jumped on [the song] and the audience responded with some of the best research stations have seen in years.”

The airplay advance helps “Road” match Hunt’s longest rule on Hot Country Songs, as it equals the 11-week command of “Time,” which reached No. 1 on Feb. 21, 2015.

“Road” additionally leads Country Digital Song Sales for an 11th week (61,000 downloads sold, down 12 percent) and Country Streaming Songs for a 10th frame (14.9 million U.S. streams, up 1 percent). (“Time” led the lists for 12 and 22 weeks, respectively.)

“Road” is the fourth smash to top Hot Country Songs, Country Airplay, Country Digital Songs and Country Streaming Songs simultaneously (dating to the launch of Country Streaming Songs, the youngest of the four surveys, in April 2013). It’s the first since Keith Urban‘s “Blue Ain’t Your Color” on Jan. 21. Before that, Luke Bryan‘s “Play It Again” (May 31 and June 14, 2014) and Jason Aldean‘s “Burnin’ It Down” (Nov. 1 and 8, 2014) quadrupled up at the same time.

‘YEAH,’ GIRL: Kelsea Ballerini bounds to her fourth Hot Country Songs top 10, as “Yeah Boy” rises 12-10. All four top 10s are from her debut LP The First Time. “Love Me Like You Mean It” reached No. 5 in June 2015, “Dibs” hit No. 7 in February 2016 and “Peter Pan” flew to No. 1 for two weeks beginning Sept. 24, 2016.

Ballerini is the first solo female to bank at least four Hot Country Songs top 10s from a first LP since Taylor Swift, who notched five between 2006 and 2008 from her self-titled debut: “Tim McGraw” (No. 6), “Teardrops on My Guitar” (No. 2), “Our Song” (No. 1, six weeks), “Picture to Burn” (No. 3) and “Should’ve Said No” (No. 1, two weeks). Among all artists, Ballerini is the first to generate at least four Hot Country Songs top 10s from a debut LP since Sam Hunt, who collected five (including four No. 1s) from Montevallo in 2014-16.

“Boy” bumps into the top five on Country Airplay — where Ballerini’s three prior hits all hit No. 1 — up by 8 percent to 34.7 million in audience.

STAPLETON STARTS: Chris Stapleton returns to Hot Country Songs, as “Broken Halo” bows at No. 13. Sales account for 84 percent of the song’s points on the chart, as it soars onto Country Digital Song Sales at No. 2 with 37,000 first-week downloads sold (in the week ending April 20). Stapleton achieves his third-highest-charting entry on Hot Country Songs, after “Tennessee Whiskey,” which led for two weeks in November 2015, and “Parachute” (No. 12 in January).

“Halos” is the first taste of Stapleton’s second studio album, From A Room: Volume 1, due May 5. His first, 2015’s Traveller (which houses “Parachute” and “Whiskey”), has reigned for 28 total weeks (and ranks at No. 2 on the May 6-dated list).