Monday, December 18, 2017

Country in the NEWS: Where New Country meets Old Country ....December 18, 2017 (Sam Hunt - Top Country Artist)

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The Year in Country Charts: Sam Hunt Rides 'Back Road' to Top Artist & Song Honors

Sam Hunt

Plus, Chris Stapleton boasts 2017's top two country albums.

On the strength of his massive hit "Body Like a Back Road," Sam Hunt is Billboard's Top Country Artist of 2017.

"Body" is also the No. 1 hit of the year on all of Billboard's country songs charts: Hot Country Songs, Country Airplay, Country Streaming Songs and Country Digital Song Sales.

Hunt made history, as his playful, R&B-flavored smash, which he co-wrote with Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, reigned for a record 34 weeks on Billboard's multi-metric Hot Country Songs chart, which blends sales, streaming and airplay data. It surpassed Florida Georgia Line's debut single "Cruise," which camped out in the penthouse for 24 weeks in 2012-13.

"Body" hit No. 1 on Feb. 25 (a week after debuting at No. 2) and reigned through Oct. 14. (As of the Dec. 16-dated chart, it has spent all 44 of its weeks on the survey in the top five.)


"I don't think breaking the record at the top of the Hot Country Songs chart was the goal when Hunt released the song," Cindy Mabe, Universal Music Group Nashville president, told Billboard earlier this year. "But, as summer met Sam's 15 in a 30 Tour, combined with the pent-up demand for new music, this record has become part of culture and [a] sexy soundtrack for the summer. I think this is just the tip of the iceberg of what's coming for Sam Hunt."

Along the way, "Body" scored other significant milestones. On Country Streaming Songs, it wrested the record for the most weeks at No. 1 (also 34) from "Cruise" (33). It also claimed the mark on Country Digital Song Sales, dominating for 31 weeks and passing, guess who? "Cruise" (25).

On Billboard's radio-powered Country Airplay list, "Body" ruled for three weeks starting on the chart dated May 6. Country Airplay is not normally where songs linger in the top tier. Showing its uncommon power, "Body" ranked in the top five for 16 weeks, setting yet another record.

Helped by pop radio crossover support, the song also hit No. 6 on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100, marking the first country song to reach the region since (surprise!) "Cruise" (No. 4, 2013).

While Hunt has yet to release a follow-up LP to his 2014 debut Montevallo, which generated four Hot Country Songs No. 1s, led by the 11-week leader "Take Your Time," "Body" is one of two songs that Hunt released in 2017. "Drinkin' Too Much," dedicated to his then-fiancee and now-wife, Hannah Lee Fowler, was released on New Year's Eve 2016, and debuted and peaked at No. 16 on the Jan. 28-dated Hot Country Songs list.

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