If there was ever any doubt that Rascal Flatts are the biggest band in country music right now, there surely isn’t room for argument anymore. Their new album, Me and My Gang, sold an astounding 721,747 copies in its first week of release — nearly three times as many as the opening numbers of Tim McGraw’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 last week. That effortlessly places them atop the country albums sales chart, as well as the Billboard 200, which tracks sales of all genres.
They’re also No. 1 on the country airplay chart with “What Hurts the Most” for the third consecutive week. The song debuts at No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Digital Songs chart, tracking legal digital downloads. In addition, it skyrockets from No. 52 to No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot 100, which tracks digital sales plus airplay from any monitored station in any format. According to the magazine, it’s the first time a country song has reached the Top 10 of both the Hot 100 and the country airplay chart since the Dixie Chicks’ crossover hit, “Landslide,” in March 2003.
Meanwhile, McGraw’s album drops to No. 2 on the country chart, followed by Alan Jackson’s Precious Memories at No. 3, Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts at No. 4 and The Legend of Johnny Cash at No. 5. Keith Urban’s Be Here gets a big boost, jumping to No. 6. Rascal Flatts’ prior album, Feels Like Today stays at No. 7, ahead of the Walk the Line soundtrack at No. 8, Josh Turner’s Your Man at No. 9 and Kenny Rogers’ Water & Bridges at No. 10.
Shooter Jennings’ second album, Electric Rodeo, enters the chart at No. 12. Other debuts include actor John Corbett’s self-titled album at No. 45 and Texas dancehall star Aaron Watson’s San Angelo at No. 60.
On the airplay chart, Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles continue to climb, as “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” goes to No. 2. Toby Keith’s “Get Drunk and Be Somebody” jumps to No. 3. Urban’s “Tonight I Wanna Cry,” Blake Shelton’s “Nobody but Me” and Montgomery Gentry’s “She Don’t Tell Me To” (at No. 4-6, respectively) are on their way down the chart, while Jack Ingram’s “Wherever You Are,” Brooks & Dunn’s “Believe,” Jason Aldean’s “Why” and Faith Hill’s “The Lucky One” (at No. 7-10, respectively) are still ascending.
Garth Brooks’ “That Girl Is a Cowboy” ropes the week’s highest debut at No. 48. Other new singles include Miranda Lambert’s “New Strings” at No. 59 and Sara Evans’ “Coalmine” at No. 60.