Hot Country Songs is a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.
Billboard began compiling the popularity of country songs with its January 8, 1944 issue. Only the genre's most popular jukebox selections were tabulated, with the chart titled "Most Played Juke Box Folk Records".
For approximately ten years, from 1948 to 1958, Billboard used three charts to measure the popularity of a given song. In addition to the jukebox chart, these charts included:
The juke box chart was discontinued in June 1957. Starting with the October 20, 1958 issue, Billboard began combining sales and radio airplay in figuring a song's overall popularity, counting them in one single chart called "Hot C&W Sides". The chart was published under the title Hot C&W Sides through the October 27, 1962 issue and "Hot Country Singles" thereafter, a title it would retain until 1990.
On January 20, 1990, the Hot Country Singles chart was put to 75 positions and began to be compiled entirely from information provided by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, a system which electronically monitors radio airplay of songs. Four weeks later, on February 17, the chart was retitled "Hot Country Singles & Tracks". Beginning with the January 13, 2001 issue, the chart was cut from 75 to 60 positions, and all songs on the chart at the time had their tally of weeks spent on the chart adjusted to count only weeks spent at No. 60 or higher. Effective April 30, 2005, the chart was renamed "Hot Country Songs".
Starting in 1990, the rankings were determined by Arbitron-tallied listener audience for each spin that a song received. The methodology was changed for the first chart published in 1992 to tally the amount of spins a song received, but in January 2005, the methodology reverted to the audience format. This change was brought on because of "label-sponsored spin programs" that had manipulated the chart several times in 2004.
The Hot Country Songs chart methodology was changed starting with the October 20, 2012 issue to match the Billboard Hot 100: digital downloads and streaming data are combined with airplay from all radio formats to determine position. A new chart, the Country Airplay chart, was created using airplay exclusively from country radio stations. Following the change, songs that were receiving airplay on top-40 pop were given a major advantage over songs popular only on country radio, and as an unintended consequence, such songs began having record-long runs at the top of the chart. The first song to benefit from this change was Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together", which had been declining in popularity but shot up to number one on the chart the first week the change took effect and stayed there until it set an all-time record for the most weeks at No. 1 by a solo female. This was followed almost immediately by Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise", which had the longest stay at number one of any song in the country chart's history (24 weeks), until it was surpassed by Sam Hunt's "Body Like a Back Road" in 2017 (34 weeks). The record was subsequently broken by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line's "Meant to Be" in 2018 (42 weeks as of the issue of Billboard dated September 22).
These are the songs with 16 or more weeks at number one. Fifteen songs accomplished this feat between 1946 and 1964, but then 48 years passed before another song joined the list in 2012: "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line, which spent more weeks at number one than any other song had previously. As of July 2018, an additional four songs have joined the list, two of which have further broken the record set by "Cruise" by at least 10 weeks. As of the issue of Billboard dated September 22, 2018, "Meant to Be" continues to extend its lead.
|42||"Meant to Be"||Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line||2017-18|||
|34||"Body Like a Back Road"||Sam Hunt||2017|||
|24||"Cruise"||Florida Georgia Line||2012-13|||
|21||"I'll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms)"||Eddy Arnold||1947-48|||
|"I'm Moving On"||Hank Snow||1950|||
|"In the Jailhouse Now"||Webb Pierce||1955|||
|20||"I Don't Hurt Anymore"||Hank Snow||1954|||
|"Crazy Arms"||Ray Price||1956|||
|19||"Walk On By"||Leroy Van Dyke||1961-62|||
|"Bouquet Of Roses"||Eddy Arnold||1947-48|||
|18||"H.O.L.Y."||Florida Georgia Line||2016|||
|17||"Die a Happy Man"||Thomas Rhett||2015-16|||
|"Heartbreak Hotel"||Elvis Presley||1956|||
|"Slippin' Around"||Jimmy Wakely and Margaret Whiting||1949-50|||
|16||"Love's Gonna Live Here"||Buck Owens||1963-64|||
|"Lovesick Blues"||Hank Williams||1949-50|||
|"Smoke! Smoke! Smoke! (That Cigarette)"||Tex Williams||1947-48|||
|"New Spanish Two Step"||Bob Wills||1946-47|||
|"Guitar Polka"||Al Dexter||1946-47|||
Note: Songs marked achieved their runs on the Most Played in Juke Boxes chart (published 1944-58). Songs marked achieved their runs on the Best Sellers on Stores chart (published 1948-58). Songs marked achieved their runs on the Most Played by Jockeys chart (published 1949-58). All songs listed for the period when multiple charts were in operation also had shorter runs at number one on the other charts not indicated. The three charts were merged to create Hot C&W Sides (now Hot Country Songs) in 1958.
As of the issue of Billboard dated September 22, 2018