Taylor Swift: Country Music Legend

MEAN' STREAK: Taylor Swift is having the last laugh on the brand of critic she skewers in her latest Country Songs top 10, "Mean."



As the song lifts 12-9, Swift has reached the chart's top 10 with all 13 of her singles (excluding holiday fare) promoted to country radio. She joins Carrie Underwood as the only women to begin their chart histories with as many consecutive top 10s dating to the survey's 1944 launch. (Underwood scored her 13th top 10 with "Mama's Song," which peaked at No. 2 in January).

Prior to the pair, Connie Smith had held the record among women with 12 straight career-opening Country Songs top 10 singles (1964-68).

Swift and Underwood's streaks are the best among all artists since Tracy Lawrence arrived with 19 consecutive top 10s in 1991-97.



The two female stars are likely decades, however, from breaking the chart's all-time out-of-the-gate top 10 mark among all artists. Eddy Arnold sent his first 58 single releases (including B-sides) into the top tier between 1945 and 1955.

Perhaps surprisingly, some of the most heralded female performers in the genre's archives made more relatively inauspicious Country Songs arrivals.

Loretta Lynn ("I'm a Honky Tonk Girl") and Dolly Parton ("Dumb Blonde") reached Nos. 14 and 24, respectively, with their first chart entries.

Barbara Mandrell and Shania Twain each stopped at No. 55 on their first tries.

And, the female artist with the most Country Songs top 10s (59), Reba McEntire, peaked at No. 88 with her first charted title, "I Don't Want to Be a One Night Stand," which bowed 35 years ago this week (May 8, 1976). McEntire didn't reach the top 10 until her 11th chart entry, "(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven," ascended to No. 8 in 1980.

As Swift makes Country Songs history, she crosses another title to the Pop Songs radio airplay chart, as "The Story of Us," from her former Billboard 200 and Country Albums No. 1 "Speak Now," starts at No. 37.

billboard