Late last year, when Little Big Town first released their current single, “Girl Crush,” with a smoldering lead vocal from the group’s Karen Fairchild, the song’s provocative lyrics were supposedly leading some country stations to ban the tune, with listeners complaining about a message they misinterpreted as being about lesbian love. Ultimately, the entire controversy proved to be mostly fabricated. The song’s success, however, is an undeniable fact, and this week, “Girl Crush” spends a record-breaking 11th week in the Number One spot on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart.
The quartet has overtaken the 10-week reign at the top for the Browns’ 1959 classic, “The Three Bells,” which was previously the longest run for a group (of at least three members) at Number One in the chart’s history.
Little Big Town also continue to crush it with the Number One country download on the Nielsen SoundScan Digital Country Songs Chart for the third consecutive week and 11th week overall. The single is now the most downloaded in country music for 2015 with sales totaling approaching 1.4 million. In addition, the group is at Number Five on the country radio airplay charts, with all signs pointing to a chart-topper there in the next few weeks.
“Girl Crush” was the brainchild of seasoned writers Lori McKenna, Liz Rose and Hillary Lindsey, collectively known as the Love Junkies. McKenna had the idea for the title and ran it by Rose, who was less than impressed.
“She gave me this look like she just hated it,” McKenna tells Rolling Stone Country, admitting that she continued to pursue the idea. “She said, ‘Lori, shut it down. We’re not writing a song called Girl Crush.’ She didn’t even explain, she just hated it.” McKenna then decided to test it out on Lindsey.
“Liz starts with her argument with the dirty look and, I’m not kidding, Hillary played the first chord and sang the first verse as it is. And immediately after she sang it, Liz said, ‘Oh my god, I love this idea! I get it now, I love it!'” recalls McKenna with a laugh. “So we wrote it pretty quickly. And because Liz hated it so much at first, we thought nobody was going to like the song but us, so we weren’t careful. It’s good for your songwriting soul to write a song that’s just for you and isn’t commercial.”
Little Big Town is currently off the concert trail, with singer Jimi Westbrook forced to undergo surgery to remove a polyp on his vocal cord. The tour is slated to resume in October.