When most casual fans think of country music, their minds tend to drift toward the biggest hits in the genre’s history.
The songs that spilled over into the popular conscious, the ones that everyone can sing along to at a party, like “Friends In Low Places” and “Man! I Feel Like A Woman.”
But the diehards, the ones who can rattle off deep cuts, tour names, and artist lore, know that much more important than one or two huge hits, more important than radio play or spots on daytime TV talk shows, is the consistent release of quality albums.
Artists who can craft a cohesive narrative through a collection of songs, repeatedly throughout their career, will always have a leg up on those who came onto the scene with force, but fizzled out after a few years in the spotlight.
While I’m not claiming in the slightest that the most commercially successful albums are the best overall, it’s hard to argue with an artists’ prominence when they dominate the charts with multiple albums over multiple years, if not decades.
So which artists have spent the most cumulative time at number one on the albums chart?
Let’s look at the top 10
Note: All metrics are pulled from the Billboard Top Country Albums chart
10. Randy Travis – 80 Weeks
First Number One Album – Storms Of Life (1986)
Longest Peaking Album – Always & Forever (1987), 43 weeks
Fun Fact – Randy was initially rejected by all labels in Nashville because his demo tapes were “Too country”… Enough said about those guys.
9. Charley Pride – 85 Weeks
First Number One Album – The Country Way (1967)
Longest Peaking Album – Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs (1971) & The Best Of Charley Pride, Volume 2 (1972), 16 weeks each
Fun Fact – Charley was a pitcher in the Negro Leagues for a few seasons between 1953 and 1958.
8. Luke Combs – 88 Weeks
First Number One Album – This One’s For You (2017)
Longest Peaking Album – This One’s For You, 50 weeks
Longest Peaking Album – Come On Over (1997), 50 weeks
Fun Fact – Shania Twain said she has peed her pantsmultiple times while on stage… Guess the show must go on.
6. Taylor Swift – 99 Weeks
Only her albums released as country albums are included in this dataset
First Number One Album – Taylor Swift (2006)
Longest Peaking Album – Fearless (2008), 35 weeks
Fun Fact – Taylor Swift was a model for Abercrombie & Fitch as part of their ‘Rising Stars’ series when she was 14 years old.
5. Kenny Rogers – 99 weeks
First Number One Album – Kenny Rogers (1976)
Longest Peaking Album – Kenny (1979), 25 weeks
Fun Fact – Kenny was once a professionally ranked tennis player after getting obsessed with the sport in the late 1970’s.
4. Willie Nelson – 101 weeks
First Number One Album – Willie Nelson And Family Live (1971)
Longest Peaking Album – Always On My Mind (1982), 22 weeks
Fun Fact – Willie is a fifth degree black belt in Taekwondo, which Luke Combs got to see first handwhile visiting his house a few years back.
3. Morgan Wallen – 117 weeks
First Number One Album – If I Know Me (2018)
Longest Peaking Album – Dangerous: The Double Album (2021), 97 weeks
Fun Fact – Morgan got his first taste of fame when he competed on Season 6 of NBC’s The Voice, but was eliminated after performing Florida Georgia Line’s “Stay”.
2. Alabama – 125 weeks
First Number One Album – Feels So Right (1981)
Longest Peaking Album – Mountain Music (1982) & Feels So Right (1981), 28 weeks each
Fun Fact – The band’s initial name was Wildcountry, but changed it in 1977.
1. Garth Brooks – 173 weeks
First Number One Album – No Fences (1990)
Longest Peaking Album – No Fences, 41 weeks
Fun Fact – Garth has joined three MLB teams, the San Diego Padres, New York Mets, and Kansas City Royals, for Spring Training in 1999, 2000, and 2004, respectively. He batted a cumulative 2 for 42 in the three stints (which were charitable publicity stunts) for a career big league average of .048.