George Strait and Dean Dillon — one of the longest-running hit machines in country music history — added another line to their list of accomplishments when “She Let Herself Go” topped Billboard’s country singles chart this week.
Dillon and Kerry Kurt Phillips co-wrote the song that’s featured on Strait’s latest album, Somewhere Down in Texas, but Strait initially hit the charts in 1981 with Dillon’s “Unwound.” And although “Unwound” peaked at No. 6 — a remarkable achievement for a new artist’s first single — Strait later topped the chart with several of Dillon’s songs, including “If I Know Me,” “I’ve Come to Expect It From You,” “It Ain’t Cool to Be Crazy About You,” “Ocean Front Property” and “The Best Day.”
With Strait at the chart’s pinnacle, Carrie Underwood climbs one notch to No. 2 with “Jesus, Take the Wheel” while Billy Currington’s “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right” moves to third place following two weeks at No. 1. Despite huge sales at Wal-Mart for his latest boxed set, Garth Brooks spends a second week at No. 4 with “Good Ride Cowboy,” a track that had climbed to No. 3 two weeks ago. Trace Adkins’ rowdy “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” ascends to No. 5, trading places with Dierks Bentley’s sultry “Come a Little Closer” which lands at No. 6. Joe Nichols’ recent No. 1, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” remains at No. 7. “When I Get Where I’m Going,” Brad Paisley’s collaboration with Dolly Parton, moves up three rungs to No. 8 while Little Big Town’s “Boondocks” stays at No. 9. Kenny Chesney’s “Who You’d Be Today” falls two spaces to round out the Top 10.
Newcomer Susan Haynes is responsible for the only single debuting on this week’s chart. Signed to Epic Records, the Atlanta native arrives at No. 56 with her first release, “Drinkin’ in My Sunday Dress.” The song was written by Maria McKee, the former Lone Justice member who recorded it for her 1989 solo album.
Sales figures for albums declined abruptly following the holiday buying frenzy. When the dust settled, Underwood continues to hold the top spot on the country albums chart with her debut release, Some Hearts. The Legend of Johnny Cash, a single CD encompassing his entire career, is in second place, followed by Chesney’s The Road and the Radio at No. 3. Beginning at No. 4 and going in descending order, here’s the rest of the Top 10: Rascal Flatts’ Feels Like Today, Faith Hill’s Fireflies, Adkins’ Songs About Me, Sugarland’s Twice the Speed of Life, Keith Urban’s Be Here, Reba McEntire’s Reba #1’s and Big & Rich’s Comin’ to Your City.
No albums debuted on the country chart this week, but that will change soon enough after the record industry returns to high gear after the holiday lull.