Taylor Swift Rides Debut Album to the Top

Kenny Chesney Has the Week's No. 1 Country Single

After keeping her eyes on the prize for 39 weeks, Taylor Swift finally reaches the top of Billboard’s album chart this week with her self-titled debut collection, the one she launched last spring with her charming coming-of-age ballad, “Tim McGraw.” There’s also a new champ on the song chart, Kenny Chesney’s grammatically challenged “Never Wanted Nothing More.”

Swift has become just about everybody’s favorite success story. Indeed, Music Row hasn’t been this excited about a teenager — she’s 17 — since 13-year-old LeAnn Rimes yodeled onto the scene in 1996 with “Blue.” And there are sales to match the sentiments. According to the latest Nielsen SoundScan tally, Taylor Swift (the album) has sold well over 1 million copies.

There’s lot of new stuff on the current listings to talk about. Trisha Yearwood has the week’s highest debuting song, “Heaven, Heartaches and the Power of Love,” which enters at No. 49. It’s her first showing on her new label, Big Machine Records. That also happens to be Swift’s label, so you know there’s an epidemic of high-fiving back at the home office.

Other songs making their first bow this week are Gary Allan’s “Watching Airplanes” (No. 53), Emerson Drive’s “You Still Own Me” (No. 55), Chris Cagle’s “What Kinda Gone” (No. 58), Montgomery Gentry’s “What Do Ya Think About That” (No. 59) and Tracy Lawrence’s “Til I Was a Daddy Too” (No. 60). Andy Griggs’ “Tattoo Rose” returns to the chart at No. 57.

Leading the new albums is Raul Malo’s After Hours, a cool and jazzy collection of country standards. The former lead singer of the Mavericks parts the curtains at No. 43. The only other new title on the charts is Up Front & Down Low by Teddy Thompson, son of British folk music legends Richard and Linda Thompson.

Making chart comebacks are Sara Evans’ Real Fine Place (No. 69), Bill Engvall’s 15 Degrees Off Cool (No. 74) and Vince Gill’s These Days (No. 75).

Following Taylor Swift on the album chart in descending order are Brad Paisley’s 5th Gear, Toby Keith’s Big Dog Daddy, Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts and Tim McGraw’s Let It Go.

In a straight line behind Chesney’s top song are Keith Urban’s “I Told You So,” Big & Rich’s “Lost in This Moment,” Swift’s “Teardrops on My Guitar” and Rodney Atkins’ “These Are My People.”

Also worth noting: Rascal Flatts’ “Take Me There” bounds from No. 19 to No. 12, and Paisley’s “Online” advances from No. 32 to No. 24.

Dare we hope for a similar flurry next week? Stay tuned.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to CMT.com.