Music

With ‘Cowboy Carter,’ Beyoncé Becomes First Black Woman to Lead Top Country Albums Chart

Beyoncé makes history as her new LP, Cowboy Carter, blasts in at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart dated April 13.

The superstar becomes the first Black woman ever to have led the list, which began in January 1964.

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Plus, as three songs from the set rank at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 on the Hot Country Songs chart, Beyoncé becomes the first woman to claim the survey’s top three spots simultaneously. Among all acts, Morgan Wallen achieved the feat four times in 2022-23, including the top nine the week that his album One Thing at a Time made its chart debut.

Released March 29, Cowboy Carter earned 407,000 equivalent album units in the United States in the week ending April 4 – the largest week of 2024.

Cowboy Carter boasts a diverse lineup of billed guest artists, including Tanner Adell, Beyoncé’s daughter Rumi Carter, Miley Cyrus, Willie Jones, Tiera Kennedy, Linda Martell, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Post Malone, Reyna Roberts, Shaboozey and Brittney Spencer. Among the many additional players on the album: 070 Shake, Jon Batiste, Ryan Beatty, Gary Clark Jr., The-Dream, Rhiannon Giddens, Paul McCartney, Pharrell, Robert Randolph, Nile Rodgers, Raphael Saadiq, Sara Watkins and Stevie Wonder.

Notably, while Beyoncé is the first black woman in a lead role to lead Top Country Albums, multiple prominent Black acts are on the various artists set Rhythm Country Blues, which led for a week in March 1994. The LP includes Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, The Pointer Sisters and The Staple Singers.

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On the streaming-, airplay- and sales-based Hot Country Songs list, Cowboy Carter yields eight top 10s, led by “Texas Hold ‘Em,” which reigns for an eighth week, with 47.9 million in airplay audience (up 3%), 26.9 million streams (up 89%) and 15,000 sold (up 97%), as it earns the chart’s top Streaming and Sales Gainer honors. “ll Most Wanted,” with Miley Cyrus, enters at No. 2 (led by 25.2 million streams) and Beyoncé’s reworking of Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene” opens at No. 3 (22.4 million).

Parton led Hot Country Songs for a week in February 1974 with her original “Jolene,” marking the second of her 25 career No. 1s. She charted a second version of the song (which she self-penned), by Pentatonix featuring Parton, that hit No. 18 in October 2016.

Plus, on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, Beyoncé’s “Jolene” arrives at No. 56 with 982,000 impressions. “Texas Hold ‘Em,” ranks at No. 37, after reaching No. 33 (3.2 million).

Here’s a recap of Beyoncé’s eight top 10s on the latest Hot Country Songs chart:

  • No. 1, “Texas Hold ‘Em” (eighth week at No. 1)
  • No. 2, “II Most Wanted,” with Miley Cyrus (debut)
  • No. 3, “Jolene” (debut)
  • No. 5, “Levii’s Jeans,” with Post Malone (debut)
  • No. 6, “Blackbiird,” with Tanner Adell, Brittney Spencer, Tiera Kennedy & Reyna Roberts (debut)
  • No. 7, “Ameriican Requiem” (debut)
  • No. 9, “Daughter” (debut)
  • No. 10, “16 Carriages” (re-entry; peaked at No. 9)

At No. 6, the new cover of The Beatles’ “Blackbird,” from 1968, brings John Lennon and Paul McCartney back to the Hot Country Songs top 10 as writers for the first time since 1989, when two Fab Four covers reached the region: Rosanne Cash’s “I Don’t Want To Spoil the Party” led for a week that June, after Sweethearts of the Rodeo’s “I Feel Fine” hit No. 9 that March.

In all, Beyoncé charts 16 tracks from Cowboy Carter on Hot Country Songs, including “Protector,” with daughter Rumi, at No. 11, and “Tyrant,” with Parton, at No. 12.

Additional reporting by Keith Caulfield, Tom Roland & Gary Trust

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