Darius Rucker Finishes 'First' On Country Airplay; Bebe Rexha & FGL's Hot Country Songs Reign Hits Six Months


Singer-songwriter Darius Rucker's “For the First Time” (Capitol Nashville) ascends 3-1 in its 42nd week on Billboard's Country Airplay chart dated June 2 as it hikes 11 percent to 43.4 million audience impressions in the week ending May 27, according to Nielsen Music.

On Billboard's Hot Country Songs survey, which blends airplay, streaming and sales data, “First Time” lifts 9-7 in its 31st frame.

Rucker, who co-wrote the song with Derek George and Scooter Carusoe, tells Billboard, “When I sat down to write 'First Time' with Derek, it was based on an idea he had with Scooter, asking the question, 'When was the last time you did something for the first time?,' and, for me, so many memories came flooding back.

“To this day, so many the moments we name-check in this song, I know when and where I was. 'First Time' became a favorite on this record When Was the Last Time] to the point that we named the album after its lyric. To see country fans and country radio support it like this and] to get it to No. 1 is the most incredible feeling.”

“First Time” marks Rucker's eighth Country Airplay leader among 11 top 10s. The ballad is the second single from When Was the Last Time, which opened at No. 2 on Top Country Albums on the chart dated Nov. 11, 2017.

The set's lead track, “If I Told You,” crowned the Country Airplay tally dated June 24, becoming Rucker's first No. 1 since “Wagon Wheel” on April 13, 2013.

Hootie & The Blowfish frontman Rucker first led Country Airplay with his debut single at the format, “Don't Think I Don't Think About It,” for two weeks beginning Oct. 4, 2008. He followed with “It Won't Be Like This for Long” (three weeks, beginning March 28, 2009), “Alright” (one; Aug. 15, 2009), “Come Back Song” (two; Nov. 6, 2010) and “This” (one; April 30, 2011).

Speaking Hootie & The Blowfish, Rucker will reunite for a rare concert with the band on July 21, when it joins headliner Jason Aldean, plus Lauren Alaina and Luke Combs, for a show at Sun Trust Park, home baseball's Atlanta Braves. Rucker is currently on the road, co-headlining with Lady Antebellum on the Summer Plays On Tour.

The next single for Rucker, the third from When Was the Last Time, will be “Straight to Hell,” which features Aldean, Luke Bryan and Lady A's Charles Kelley and is expected in early to mid-June.

STILL 'MEANT TO BE': Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line's “Meant to Be” (Warner Bros./Big Machine Label Group) rules Hot Country Songs for a 26th week.

Now at six months, the longest reign for a song by a duo or group in the chart's 59-year history, overall runner-up “Meant” moves closer to the record held by Sam Hunt's “Body Like a Back Road”: 34 weeks at No. 1 in 2017.

“Meant” leads Country Streaming Songs for a 22nd week (19.6 million U.S. streams, down 4 percent) and Country Digital Song Sales for a 20th frame, rebounding 2-1 (24,000 sold, down 4 percent).

NEW TOP 10s: Brett Young banks his fourth Hot Country Songs top 10 as “Mercy” (BMLG) jumps 14-10. It also becomes his fourth top 10 on Country Digital Song Sales, increasing 9 percent to 10,000 sold and hopping 13-9. On Country Airplay, the ballad climbs 21-19, up 7 percent to 12.6 million impressions. It also boasts 7.1 million U.S. clicks (up 10 percent).

Dan + Shay notch their fourth Country Airplay top 10 as “Tequila” (Warner Bros./WAR) pushes 12-10 (25.7 million, up 11 percent). The song is the lead single from the duo's upcoming third studio album.