Remember When Blake Shelton Scored His First No. 1 Hit?
It's very rare for an artist to have a No. 1 hit with a debut single, but Blake Shelton joined that elite club on Aug. 11, 2001, when "Austin" landed at the top of Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.
The Oklahoma native moved to Nashville right after high school, and after several years of struggle, he landed a recording deal with Giant Records. They released "Austin" as the lead single from his self-titled debut album in April of 2001, and by the time the album came out on July 31, "Austin" was already a hit. It peaked just over a week later, and would remain at No. 1 for five weeks, tying a record Billy Ray Cyrus set with his debut single, "Achy Breaky Heart," in 1992.
Though "Austin" gave him success right out of the gate, Shelton had a rocky road to seeing the song become a hit. Giant Records announced it was closing in May of 2001, and both his album and its lead single were transferred over to Warner Bros., where Shelton has been ever since. The move could have derailed the single's rise.
"I had been hearing rumors," Shelton recalls to CMT. "From the day I signed with that record company, I was excited and had a sick feeling at the same time. You know how Nashville is. The rumors were always flying around: 'Giant’s gonna close.' They were true rumors, just way ahead of their time. Luckily, I was able to finish my album before the company closed."
Shelton released "All Over Me" and "Ol' Red" as the next two singles from his debut album. Both reached the Top 20, and Shelton landed another No. 1 hit, "The Baby," from his sophomore album, The Dreamer.
He's gone on to have one of the most successful chart runs in country music history. To date, Shelton has placed a total of 27 No. 1 hits including his most recent No. 1, a duet with girlfriend Gwen Stefani titled "Nobody But You."
That song made him the third most decorated artist in the Billboard Country Airplay chart's 30-year history, breaking a three-way tie he previously held with George Strait and Alan Jackson, who both have 26 No. 1s on the chart. Kenny Chesney and Tim McGraw still lead the Country Airplay chart with 30 No.1 hits and 29 No. 1 hits, respectively.
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