Lady A Is ‘Raisin’ Plastic Cups’ for ‘Champagne Night’ Reaching Charts as 11th No. 1 Hit

by Jennifer Shea

Country band Lady A is celebrating their 11th No. 1 hit this week as “Champagne Night” tops country charts.

Lady A Raises Plastic Cups

“Raisin’ plastic cups to our incredible fans & friends at Country Radio for making ‘Champagne Night’ our 11th #1,” the band posted to Instagram Monday. “Thank you @madelinemerlo for bringing this fun idea to @nbcsongland and @esterdean @ryantedder @shanemcanally for all your creative direction & craft along the way.”

“Champagne Night” is a song about low-cost revelry, wearing blue jeans out in the country and “drinkin’ beer on a champagne night.” 

The song’s original title was “I’ll Drink to That.” Nashville songwriter Madeline Merlo wrote it and debuted it on the Season 2 premiere of NBC’s “Songland.” It won the songwriting competition for that episode.

So then Lady A got together with co-producer Shane McAnally, who appears on “Songland” as a mentor, and worked on the song. They changed the title to “Champagne Night” and made a few other tweaks.

“This has been a special song for us for so many reasons,” Lady A’s Hillary Scott told Billboard. “We loved it so much that it became a single: the first-ever radio single to be released from Songland. So, for the fans to love it as much as we do and for it now to be at No. 1, it feels like the best way to celebrate the first week of the new year.”

Joining Blake Shelton’s Club

The song debuted on Country Airplay in May of 2020. It jumped by 23% to 26.6 million audience impressions in the week ending Jan. 3, according to Billboard. Then it rose to the top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.

Lady A has managed to land No. 1 hits on the Country Airplay charts in each of the past three decades. That puts them in an exclusive club whose only other member is Blake Shelton (he did it in the ’00s, ’10s and ’20s with a grand total of 28 Country Airplay chart-toppers).

“Champagne Night” is also in the top 10 on the Hot Country Songs chart, which combines airplay, sales and streaming data. It makes the 15th top 10 song for Lady A.

In an interview last month, the band stood by the decision to change their name from Lady Antebellum to Lady A, despite some resulting controversy. Among those who objected to the band’s name change was the Seattle-based blues singer Lady A, who went on to sue the band. The band also sued her, setting off a public relations fiasco.

“I think the word to me that resonates most this year has been ‘blind spot,'” Lady A’s Charles Kelley said, according to Taste of Country. “And I am so guilty of not – I didn’t think about it. You know, we came up with the name thinking about an antebellum home, and, you know, Hillary Scott’s the lady! It’s so naive now, looking back.”

But the band says that change was just the beginning of a journey towards being more inclusive. And they don’t regret it one bit. As 2021 begins, the controversy over their name may continue, but it certainly hasn’t dented their popularity.