For over 30 years, the album Always and Forever by Country Music Hall of Famer Randy Travis held the record for the longest-running #1 country music album released by a solo male in country music history. Originally released in 1987 as Randy’s second proper studio album, it spent an incredible 43 weeks atop the Billboard Country Albums chart, and is given credit by many for setting the table for country music’s huge commercial resurgence that would occur in the years to come.
But Always and Forever holds that record no more. One of many long-standing records that is being shattered by Luke Combs amid his unprecedented debut, Luke’s first major label album This One’s For You now holds the distinction as the longest-running #1 record by a country male at 44 weeks total on the charts (non-consecutive). Released on June 2nd, 2017, it has been a perennial chart topper, right along with many of Luke’s songs. Shania Twain still holds the record for the longest-running #1 album of all time with 1997’s Come On Over. But in seven weeks or so, Luke Combs may beat that record as well.
Randy Travis isn’t bothered that some young whipper snapper just broke his long-standing record though. When Combs officially tied the record last week, Randy Travis said in a statement, “HUGE congratulations to Luke Combs. We’ve held on for a long time (since 1987) but it’s good to see a true, consistently top-quality, country artist breaking records and proving albums still sell. This One’s For You, Luke!”
As folks started putting two and two together this week about Luke Combs breaking Randy’s record, the 29-year-old North Carolina native addressed the honor personally.
“Wow. Absolutely unbelievable,” Luke Combs said. “I’m so thankful for those like Randy Travis who paved the way for younger artists like myself. He is someone I look up to and I’m extremely humbled by this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – NONE of this happens without y’all. My friends and I create the songs, then y’all take them to places no one ever thought was imaginable with the support y’all show. The only goal we ever had was to create songs that y’all could relate to and enjoy, then Y’ALL go out and do this. Thank you.”
Along with breaking the Randy Travis record this week, Luke Combs also amassed his sixth #1 song on country radio with “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” extending his record for the most debut #1 songs in country music history. About the only thing that might knock Luke Combs and This One’s For You off it’s pedestal might be Luke Combs. He also announced this week that his next album will be released on November 8th. Combs released an EP called The Prequel on June 7th ahead of the new album.
Another challenger Luke Combs and This One’s For You will face this upcoming week is the new Tyler Childers record Country Squire. Though the numbers are still being finalized, the album looks like it might go #1 in country.
As much as many traditional country fans like to bellyache about how bad today’s country is, or may see Luke Combs as less than ideal as the guy breaking long-standing records, he’s a hell of a lot better than many of the others acts the mainstream country has been suffering from. And that’s not just the assessment of many fans and critics. It’s the assessment of country legends such as Randy Travis.