Lady Antebellum leads year-end country charts

Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:56pm EST
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By Ken Tucker

NASHVILLE (BILLBOARD) - Turns out we were right.

Lady Antebellum, which Billboard tipped as an artist to watch two years ago, closes this year as the hottest act in country music -- and beyond.

The trio -- Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood -- leads several of Billboard's country and pop year-end tallies. The year-end music recaps are based on chart performance during the chart year that began with last year's December 5 issue and ended with the November 27, 2010, issue.

The group, which formed in 2006 and has scored honors from the Country Music Assn. (CMA), the Academy of Country Music and the Grammy Awards, has taken country by storm and quickly spread its proverbial wings into pop formats with success.

Lady Antebellum is No. 1 on the Top Country Album Artists chart (besting Taylor Swift, no less), the Top Country Albums recap with "Need You Now" (Capitol Nashville), the Hot Country Songs Artists tally, the Country Digital Songs recap with the title track from "Need You Now" and the overall Top Country Artists recap.

But that's not all. The group also leads pop recaps including Top Artists-Duo/Group and Top Billboard 200 Artists-Duo/Group.

Kelley, Scott and Haywood also either wrote or co-wrote a number of songs on both of their albums and served as co-producers with Paul Worley on their sophomore effort, which was released January 26 and scanned 481,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album topped the Billboard 200 and spawned three No. 1s on Hot Country Songs: "Need You Now," "American Honey" and "Our Kind of Love."

The year-end recaps of Top Country Album Artists and Hot Country Songs Artists reflect the current changing of the guard in country. The top 10 acts at the upper reaches of the former tally include Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, the Zac Brown Band, Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert and Jason Aldean. Of those, only Lambert released a major-label single before 2005.   Continued...