5 Years Ago: Luke Combs Puts Country Music On Notice With Release of Debut Album, ‘This One’s for You’

by Jim Casey
(Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

Luke Combs is the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year. That’s quite an ascension to the country music throne, considering he released his debut album, This One’s for You, just five short years ago. Yes, on June 2, 2017, Luke dropped his aforementioned breakout album. Buoyed by the album’s lead single, “Hurricane,” which topped the Billboard Country Airplay chart for two weeks, Luke’s career at country radio was off like a hurricane.

Of course, he didn’t “destroy” everything in his path like a hurricane. But he did put country music on notice. Luke had arrived.

And his debut album would go on to spend 50 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, tying Shania Twain’s record for most weeks at No. 1 with 1997’s Come On Over (Morgan Wallen’s Dangerous: The Double Album has now surpassed both albums, with 59 weeks, and counting, atop the chart).

Luke’s Rise

Back in September 2016, Luke Combs was opening for Corey Smith on his West Bound & Down Tour. Let that sink in for a minute. No offense to Corey, but you may even have to Google his name if you’re not a diehard country music fan. During a stop at the Top Hat in Missoula, Montana, on Sept. 27, 2016, Luke signed his record deal with Columbia.

By this time, Luke had been in Nashville about two years. He had built a solid following throughout his home state of North Carolina before moving to Music City in 2014. Luke really didn’t start plucking the guitar until he was a 21-year-old at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. Now 32 years old, Luke has come a long way in the last decade. He’s come an even longer way in the last five.

Luke dropped his debut single, “Hurricane,” in October 2016. When he released This One’s for You about eight months later on June 2, 2017, “Hurricane” was No. 1. Of course, that wouldn’t be his last chart-topper.

The Streak

This One’s for You (and the deluxe version of the album) produced five consecutive No. 1 singles: “Hurricane,” “When It Rains It Pours,” “One Number Away,” “She Got the Best of Me,” and “Beautiful Crazy.” In addition, the album has been certified 3X Platinum by the RIAA for sales of 3 million units.

Luke dropped his sophomore album, What You See Is What You Get, in 2019. It spent 37 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart. And, the album produced seven consecutive No. 1 singles.

Of course, now Luke’s consecutive streak of No. 1 singles is 13. Yep, he’s 13/13. The lead single, “Doin’ This,” from his upcoming third studio album reached No. 1 in May 2022. To borrow some baseball parlance, Luke is batting 1.000.

But here’s my favorite Luke stat. Those 13 No. 1 singles have spent a combined 42 weeks at No. 1. Take a quick look at the number of weeks each of Luke’s singles have spent at No. 1: “Hurricane” (2 weeks), “When It Rains It Pours” (2 weeks), “One Number Away” (1 week), “She Got the Best of Me” (4 weeks), “Beautiful Crazy” (7 weeks), “Beer Never Broke My Heart” (2 weeks), “Even Though I’m Leaving” (5 weeks), “Does to Me” (2 weeks), “Lovin’ On You” (4 weeks), “Better Together” (5 weeks), “Forever After All” (6 weeks), “Cold as You” (1 week), and “Doin’ This” (1 week).

Luke Combs will release his upcoming third studio album, Growin’ Up, on June 24. The album’s new single, “Tomorrow Me,” is out now.