Several country radio mainstays — and a couple of out-of-left-field dark horses — dominated the Billboard Country Airplay Charts in 2022, according to year-end data released by Billboard Country Update.
It should come as no surprise that Jason Aldean and Luke Combs place highly on this list. Both stalwarts at country radio and staple touring acts, chart-topping success seemed all but an inevitability for these two artists in 2022 — and they delivered, with hits solidly within the Top 10 most-played songs.
Combs’ “The Kind of Love We Make” places fifth, with an overall audience of 426.64 million — and especially impressive feat, given that the song hit the radio airwaves in June, so fans only had half a year to hear it.
Meanwhile, Aldean comes in at No. 9 with “Trouble With a Heartbreak,” with an audience of 405.84 million. That song was his only Top 10 most-played single, but his duet with Carrie Underwood, “If I Didn’t Love You,” follows not far behind at No. 16.
Another radio favorite, Morgan Wallen, slides into the No. 8 spot with “Wasted on You.” Two more Wallen tracks, “You Proof” and “Sand in My Boots,” fall just outside the Top 10. If those seem like low numbers for the ever-ubiquitous Wallen, it’s worth noting that early on in 2022, some stations weren’t playing his music as a result of the racist slur scandal that he incurred the previous February, which led many stations to remove his songs from playlists in 2021.
Throwback songs did well on the radio in 2022, and two artists in particular — Scotty McCreery and Cole Swindell — reaped the benefits. Swindell earns the No. 6 spot on the year-end chart with “She Had Me at Heads Carolina,” his ode to Jo Dee Messina’s 1996 hit,”Heads Carolina, Tails California.” McCreery made out even better, leaping to No. 4 with “Damn Strait,” his heartbreak ballad that tips its hat to the King of Country himself.
Country music’s female artists are perennially overlooked at country radio compared to their male counterparts, and once again, they are few and far between on this list of the Top 10 most-played songs of 2022. MacKenzie Porter gets a mention at No. 2 as the featured artist on Dustin Lynch’s “Thinking ‘Bout You,” though her ranking would be more satisfying to equality-minded country fans if it were a song she took the lead on.
The 10th spot on the list does go to a song by Ingrid Andress, with a feature from Sam Hunt: The pulsing, broody earworm, “Wishful Drinking,” which became Andress’ second No. 1 hit — and Hunt’s 10th — earlier in 2022.
Hunt also appears within the Top 10 solo, courtesy of his No. 1 hit ballad “23,” which he put out in late 2021. Hunt’s track record at country radio is excellent but a little spotty; he has made radio history with songs like the record-breaking juggernaut “Body Like a Back Road,” but he’s also been known to go dark for months or even a year at a time, so the fact that he placed not one but two singles in the Top 10 most-played list for 2022 is a little surprising.
The real shocker, though, comes courtesy of the No. 1 Billboard Country Airplay song of the year: Parmalee’s “Take My Name.” The song has earned the top spot by a fairly wide margin, netting an audience of 609.52 million, compared to the No. 2 song, “Thinking ‘Bout You,” which brought in 534.61.
After a years-long stretch of lukewarm radio singles, the country rock act rebranded in 2019, ultimately putting out a duet with Blanco Brown called “Just the Way” late that year. Over the course of 2020, the song embarked on a slow, but ultimately successful climb to the top of the charts, and with the success of “Take My Name,” Parmalee prove that their success was no fluke.
Scroll down to see the Top 10 songs on the 2022 year-end list for the Billboard Country Airplay chart.
Top 10 Most-Played Country Airplay Songs of 2022, per Billboard :
10. “Wishful Drinking,” Ingrid Andress with Sam Hunt
9. “Trouble With a Heartbreak,” Jason Aldean
8. “Wasted on You,” Morgan Wallen
7. “23,” Sam Hunt
6. “She Had Me at Heads Carolina,” Cole Swindell
5. “The Kind of Love We Make,” Luke Combs
4. “Damn Strait,” Scotty McCreery
3. “‘Til You Can’t,” Cody Johnson
2. “Thinking ‘Bout You,” Dustin Lynch ft. MacKenzie Porter
1. “Take My Name,” Parmalee
Top 22 Country Songs of 2022, Ranked
There are plenty of feel-good country jams on this list of the top country songs of 2022, but the No. 1 song is one of the best love songs of the decade. These 22 songs are ranked by critical acclaim, radio and sales success, and importance to the genre.
Seven of the 22 artists made our Top Country Songs list from 2021 as well, but there are no repeats. If a song made a previous list or didn’t spend most of its time on the charts in 2022, it’s not eligible. So, before you ask where your favorite song is (i.e. Cody Johnson, “‘Til You Can’t), be sure the miss isn’t just a technicality.