Kenny Chesney, it’s your world.
Not only does country music’s favorite beach boy have this week’s top album, he also has three — that’s three — new entries on Billboard’s country songs chart. In all, he has four songs in the spotlight, counting “Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven,” which simmers at No. 2 this week after having held the top slot for the past two weeks.
Chesney’s Lucky Old Sun rolls into a heavenly No. 1 on the current Billboard album rankings with first-week sales of more than 176,000 copies, as reported by Nielsen SoundScan. Billy Currington’s Little Bit of Everything debuts at No. 2.
Toby Keith has the top song, “She Never Cried in Front of Me.” It reached the summit in a brisk 17 weeks of travel.
The other new albums are Elvis Presley’s Christmas Duets, bowing at No. 13, and John Michael Montgomery’s first new package in four years, Time Flies, which tips its hat at No. 35.
Darius Rucker has the highest-charting new song, “It Won’t Be Like This Forever,” which pops in at No. 45. All the other newcomers are Chesney’s. And they are: “I’m Alive,” a duet with Dave Matthews (No. 55); “That Lucky Old Sun (Just Rolls Around Heaven All Day),” a pairing with Willie Nelson (No. 56); and “Down the Road,” with Mac McAnally (No. 59).
“That Lucky Old Sun,” co-written by Tin Pan Alley lyricist Haven Gillespie and Nashville bandleader Beasley Smith, was a No. 1 pop song for Frankie Laine in 1949. That same year, it also scored modest hits for Louis Armstrong and Vaughn Monroe. Ray Charles included it in his trailblazing 1962 collection, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. In 1964, he had both a Top 20 pop and R&B hit with it. Nelson covered it in his 1976 album, The Sound in Your Mind. Nat Stuckey scratched the country charts with the classic in 1978. Not long before Chesney released his album, ex-Beach Boy Brian Wilson rolled out That Lucky Old Sun, a solo project which uses the song as its centerpiece. So this jewel has been passed around.
Chesney’s singing partner on “Down the Road,” McAnally, also wrote the song and lodged it on the country chart in 1990, where it peaked at No. 70. Another selection on Lucky Old Sun, the frolicsome “Ten With a Two,” went No. 45 for Nelson in 1991.
But enough of this pedantry.
The lone re-entering song this week is Melissa Lawson’s “What If It All Goes Right.” It comes shuffling back at No. 60.
Completing the Top 5 albums are Sugarland’s Love on the Inside (No. 3) and Rucker’s Learn to Live (No. 5).
Thank you for your attention. Now go forth enriched.