Carrie Underwood rings in 15th country airplay No. 1; Sam Hunt earns high five
Carrie Underwood's "Church Bells" rises 2-1 in its 16th week on Billboard's Country Airplay chart (dated July 30), increasing by 4 percent to 48.9 million audience impressions, according to Nielsen Music.
The track becomes Underwood's 15th Country Airplay No. 1, extending her mark for the most leaders among women, dating to the chart's launch on Jan. 20, 1990. Reba McEntire is second among women with 11 No. 1s; Tim McGraw leads all acts with 28.
"Church," the third single from Underwood's fifth studio album, Storyteller, follows "Heartbeat," which paced the Country Airplay chart dated March 26, and "Smoke Break," which peaked at No. 2 (Dec. 5, 2015). Storyteller, her sixth No. 1 on Top Country Albums (encompassing all of her appearances), has sold 621,000 copies in the United States, dating to its chart-topping debut (Nov. 14, 2015).
On the Hot Country Songs chart, which combines -airplay, sales and streaming data, "Church" holds at its No. 2 high.
FROM 'CHURCH' TO 'H.O.L.Y.': Florida Georgia Line's "H.O.L.Y." crowns Hot Country Songs for an 11th week. The song from the duo (Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard) also leads Country Streaming Songs (6.6 million U.S. streams, essentially even from last week) and Country Digital Songs (61,000 downloads sold, down 11 percent) for an 11th frame each. On Country Airplay, the lead single from FGL's third full-length, Dig Your Roots (due Aug. 26), pushes 3-2 (45.6 million, up 6 percent).
FIVE FOR FIVE: Sam Hunt scores his fifth top 10 on both Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay from his debut album, Montevallo, as "Make You Miss Me" jumps 11-8 on Hot Country Songs (up 7 percent) and 11-10 on Country Airplay (27.3 million, up 9 percent). Three of Hunt's singles have topped both Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay: "Leave the Night On," "Take Your Time" and "House Party, while "Break Up in a Small Town" climbed to No. 2 on each survey. Montevallo, which has spent nine weeks atop Top Country Albums after arriving at No. 1 on the chart dated Nov. 15, 2014, has sold 1.2 million total copies.
As "Make" enters the top 10 on Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay, Hunt is the first artist to roll up five top 10s on both charts from a debut full-length major-label album since Zac Brown Band in 2008 and 2009, as its major-label bow, The Foundation, yielded the No. 1s "Chicken Fried," "Toes," "Highway 20 Ride" and "Free" and the No. 2-peaking "Whatever It Is." Prior to ZBB, Taylor Swift logged five top 10s from her self-titled 2006 debut album: "Tim McGraw," "Teardrops on My Guitar," "Picture to Burn" and her first two No. 1s, "Our Song" and "Should've Said No."
The last solo male before Hunt to score five top 10s on Hot Country Songs (and Country Airplay) from a debut album? Mark Chesnutt, who, coincidentally, also recorded for MCA. Chesnutt's 1990 launch LP, Too Cold at Home, produced five top 10 singles: the title track, the No. 1 "Brother Jukebox," "Blame It on Texas," "Your Love Is a Miracle" and "Broken Promise Land."
SPEAKING OF CHESNUTT... How's this for good timing? Mark Chesnutt makes his highest Top Country Albums debut in 17 years as his new 15th studio LP Tradition Lives arrives at No. 22 (2,000 sold).
Chesnutt, who has earned 20 top 10s on Hot Country Songs, including eight No. 1s, lands his highest start and rank on Top Country Albums since 1999, when I Don't Want to Miss a Thing began at its No. 6 peak. Tradition Lives is Chesnutt's first appearance on the survey in six years (since 2010's Outlaw).
'AMERICAN' MUSIC: On Hot Country Songs, Jake Owen's "American Country Love Song" lifts 12-10 to become his eighth top 10 on the chart and his first in two years, following the 2014 No. 1 "Beachin' " (July 19, 2014). On Country Airplay, "Love Song" ascends 10-8 (30 million, up 7 percent).
This article first appeared in Billboard's Country Update -- sign up here.