George Strait has famously earned a record-setting 60 No. 1 songs on the country music charts — but if it hadn’t been for three other artists, including a fellow legend, he might have 61 chart-toppers to his name right now.
King George can blame Alan Jackson, Toby Keith and “Good Morning Beautiful” singer Steve Holy for a missed No. 1 opportunity in late 2001 and early 2002. At the time, Strait was promoting his single “Run,” released in September of 2001. The song debuted in the Top 30 of the Billboard country charts in mid-October
However, as Strait’s single — the lead one from his The Road Less Traveled album — neared the top of the country charts, a few other major tunes were doing the same. First, it was Keith’s “I Wanna Talk About Me,” a six-week No. 1; then, it was Jackson’s “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning,” a five-week chart-topper; and finally, it was Holy’s “Good Morning Beautiful,” which also ruled the country charts for five weeks.
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Strait had to settle for three non-consecutive weeks at No. 2 with “Run” — but we’re guessing his 60 other No. 1 hits make up for it! Keep reading to learn more about Strait’s “Run” chart run, and four other songs that were doing big things on the charts around this time in years past.
20 Years Ago: Faith Hill Scores a Crossover Smash
It’s not too often a country song explodes on multiple formats, but that’s precisely what Faith Hill’s “Breathe” did 20 years ago. Released in October of 1999, “Breathe” soared to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart (now the Country Airplay chart) by the week of Christmas in 1999, and stayed there for six weeks.
What was just as impressive, though, was Hill’s pop run: She reached No. 1 on the Top 40 chart, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and spent 17 weeks at the top of the Adult Contemporary chart. “Breathe” ended up becoming the No. 1 single of the year on Billboard’s year-end countdown in 2000.
Written by singer-songwriters Stephanie Bentley and Holly Lamar, “Breathe” was be the lead single from Hill’s eight-time platinum album of the same name, and launched her into superstardom.
18 Years Ago: King George Runs to a No. 2 Peak
Many fans know about George Strait’s record-setting 60 No. 1 hits (across the Billboard, Mediabase and former RPM charts) but one of King George’s biggest hits from the 2000s was a song that never made it to the top. Written by Tony Lane and Anthony Smith, “Run” paints vivid imagery and delivers a classic Strait vocal.
“Run” was released in September of 2001, as the lead single from Strait’s The Road Less Traveled album. The song reached No. 2 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in December of 2001 and January of 2002, and spent three non-consecutive weeks there. It also peaked at No. 2 on the Mediabase chart.
Strait would be the victim of unfortunate timing, as “Run” was blocked by three mega radio hits: “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” by Alan Jackson, “I Wanna Talk About Me” by Toby Keith and “Good Morning Beautiful” by Steve Holy.
Watch Alan Jackson, George Strait Greatest Hits – Best Classic Country Songs VIDEO BELOW:
14 Years Ago: Little Big Town Find Their Breakthrough With “Boondocks”
Fans may not know this fact, but “Boondocks” was not Little Big Town’s debut single. The group first charted twice in 2002, while signed to Monument Records, although both singles failed to make the Top 30.
LBT returned in 2005, then with Clint Black’s record label, Equity Music Group. Their single “Boondocks” was released in May of that year and took a long climb all the way to No. 9 on both the Billboard Hot Country Songs and Mediabase charts by January of 2006.
Despite not making it to No. 1, “Boondocks” was given “gold title” status for its recurrent play and remains one of Little Big Town’s most-known songs. Written by Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, Jimi Westbrook and producer Wayne Kirkpatrick, “Boondocks” was one of the most refreshing singles at radio when it came out and stood out in listeners’ minds.