Cruising at the Top of the Charts

Florida Georgia Line made country music history this week, as their summer hit ‘Cruise’ retained the top spot on the charts for the twenty-second week running. Sixty nine years ago Webb Pierce’s ‘In the Jailhouse Now’ held the top spot for twenty one weeks, and tied with Hank Snow’s ‘I’m Moving On’ and Eddy Arnold’s ‘I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)’, but since that date, no one else, from Dolly Parton to George Strait and Tim McGraw, has managed the feat.

However, if you listen to the American Country Countdown, you may have been blissfully unaware of this record in the making. This record is held on the Billboard chart, a combination of both radio play and sales, in comparison to the MediaBase chart, based solely on radio play, and sites such as YouTube, which is the chart the Countdown now follows. In fact, since ‘Cruise’ entered and exited the MediaBase chart, two more Florida Georgia Line singles have been released.

It speaks volumes about how fans now access music, and the the huge fan base that the band have created with this single. A recent remix featuring Nelly, no stranger to country collaboration, aided in the songs success. It is a virtually unheard of accomplishment for a debut single, and the track has even gone on to become the third best selling country single of all time with 5.4 million downloads, coming just below Taylor Swift‘s ‘Love Story’ (5.6 million) and ‘Need You Now’ (6.2 million).

The success of a song like ‘Cruise’ highlights country’s crossover appeal. ‘Country Music’ encompasses far more diversity and sub-genres than ever before. It widens the appeal of this style of music to those that may have turned up their noses at the thought of traditional ‘country.’ Traditional artists do still feature prominently alongside hits such as ‘Cruise’ on the charts. Those artists will not be forgotten, or left behind, but they have created a solid platform for new artists, such as Florida Georgia Line, with which they can experiment and elaborate.

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