by Jessica Nicholson
Luke Bryan has been a mainstay on country radio for over a decade, with a lengthy list of No. 1 hits such as his latest, “Knockin’ Boots” and “What She Wants Tonight.”
During an interview at Nashville’s Country Radio Seminar recently, he recalled the early reaction from country radio to the song that would take his career to a whole new level back in 2011. By that point, he’d already earned two No. 1 hits with “Rain Is a Good Thing” and “Someone Else Calling You Baby.”
But Bryan said when he saw that “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” had received twice the number of radio station adds in its first week as his previous songs, “I started crying and [his wife] Caroline started crying. That was the moment that I’m like, ‘Well, radio is starting to trust.’”
Though “Country Girl” didn’t reach No. 1 on the radio charts (it peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart), it did become one of Bryan’s signature hits and one of his biggest-sellers, earning 6x Platinum status.
Bryan has often spoken of how supportive his father, Tommy Bryan, has been throughout his career, and of how it was his father who encouraged him to move to Nashville to chase his dreams. But when it comes to picking hit songs, even dads get it wrong sometimes.
Bryan recalled how his father wasn’t fully on board with his son’s decision to follow “Country Girl” with the track “I Don’t Want This Night To End” as a single—until Luke’s father saw one of his son’s shows in Louisville, Kentucky.
“I roll in there and all the Louisville radio guys are there … [they said the crowd was] 26,000 people here about to lose their minds,” Bryan said. “When I hit the stage, it was crazy energy — crazy energy, and when I kicked into “I Don’t Want This Night to End” … and they lit up,” he recalled. “We got off the stage, and my dad’s like, ’Well, son, you picked the right next d–n single.’”
Bryan co-wrote “I Don’t Want This Night To End” alongside Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip. The song went to No. 1 and ultimately earned 5x Platinum status.
“My dad, he’s right some days and I’m wrong some days,” Bryan said, “And that’s the fun thing.”