Skip to comments.Dixie Chicks don't stick at country radio
Posted on 05/20/2006 11:44:36 AM PDT by West Coast Conservative
Disappointing airplay for the first two singles from the new album by the Dixie Chicks exposes a deep -- and seemingly growing -- rift between the trio and the country radio market that helped turn the group into superstars.
"Taking the Long Way," due out May 23, is the band's first album since singer Natalie Maines sparked a major controversy in 2003 by declaring that she was ashamed to hail from the same state as fellow Texan President George W. Bush. Radio boycotts ensued, and many fans abandoned the band.
The first single, "Not Ready to Make Nice," peaked at No. 36 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, beginning its descent after just seven weeks. The second single, "Everybody Knows," is now at No. 50, down two places in its fourth week.
"Not Ready to Make Nice" performed only slightly better at adult contemporary radio, peaking at No. 32 on the AC chart and falling off after six weeks.
From the beginning of the album rollout, the Dixie Chicks were eager that their songs be worked to radio formats beyond country. The album was produced by rock veteran Rick Rubin, whose credits include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, System of a Down and Johnny Cash.
By picking the defiant "Not Ready" as the first single, they've reopened a wound that was particularly deep for country radio fans, and left many country programmers with the burning question: Why on earth would the band choose to do this?
After hearing the album, WKIS Miami program director Bob Barnett says he was "excited about the opportunity to introduce some great Chicks music to the listeners." But the group's decision to come with "Not Ready" as the lead single left him "stunned, especially in light of the fact that, when asked, programmers and consultants that listened to the project were virtually unanimous in saying we should put the politics behind us and concentrate on all this other great music we were hearing."
KUBL/KKAT Salt Lake City PD Ed Hill criticizes the song's "self-indulgent and selfish lyrics."
Barnett played the song for a week, but pulled it after listeners called to say it sounded like the Chicks were "gloating" or "rubbing our noses in it," he reports. "We didn't need to pick at the scab any longer."
He and other country programmers were upset that the group chose to launch its new album with a single that rehashed all the angst of three years ago.
The two singles have had a striking lack of impact at radio, considering the band's history. Between 1997 and 2003, it notched 14 top 10 country singles, including six No. 1 hits. In addition to eight Grammy Awards, the group has won 10 Country Music Assn. Awards and eight Academy of Country Music Awards. The trio has sold 23.4 million albums in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The Dixie Chicks and reps from their label, Columbia Records, declined to participate in this story. But -- at least as far as Maines is concerned -- the drop-off at country radio was part of its plan.
Maines was quoted in late January on entertainmentweekly.com, before the single went to country radio, saying: "For me to be in country music to begin with was not who I was ... I would be cheating myself ... to go back to something that I don't wholeheartedly believe in. So I'm pretty much done. They've shown their true colors. I like lots of country music, but as far as the industry and everything that happened ... I couldn't want to be farther away from that."
Maines also said, "I don't want people to think that me not wanting to be part of country music is any sort of revenge. It is not. It is totally me being who I am, and not wanting to compromise myself and hate my life."
At KNCI Sacramento, Calif., the Chicks' music weathered the 2003 controversy only to be pulled as a result of Maines' new Entertainment Weekly comments, coupled with poor scores in local music tests.
"When an artist says that they don't want to be a part of that industry, it made our decision a no-brainer," program director Mark Evans says. "There are too many talented new artists dying to have a song played on country radio, so I'd rather give one of them a shot."
Coming soon to local malls and Burger King openings everwhere.
>>Disappointing airplay for the first two singles from the new album by the Dixie Chicks exposes a deep -- and seemingly growing -- rift between the trio and the country radio market that helped turn the group into superstars.<<
Its also possible the new music isn't good.
Words have meanings and actions have consequences!
They should go to Iran and Syria and sing Islamo Country music in Blue Burkas.
They made their bed. They can enjoy sleeping in it.
It's called FM radio and it's been like that for a long, long time.
It is normal for artists to try new things. It is becoming for artists to be grateful and humble.
It is just bad business for artists to "deprive" us of their work, or to demean their potential customers.
Pardon my ignorance, but how on earth could they knock Buddy Holly?
Why in the world would she be doing that, to Buddy Holly of all people? I suppose she is trying to alienate herself from the entire free world. Fine with me. Buddy Holly has more fans than she could ever hope to have.
I think that people don't want you to be a part of country music, as a sort of revenge.
What we need is a "fairness doctrine" on music on the air. That way the Chicks song will get heard and become a hit. :)
It's the song "Lubbuck Or Leave It".
The Hollies are not too happy according to several reports I've read. Haven't heard the song myself-don't care to.
True, 50 years after their deaths, they won't have anywhere near the fans Buddy does today.
Buddy Holly Family Not Happy With Dixie Chicks' Song
A reference to Buddy Holly on an upcoming Dixie Chicks album isn't setting right with brothers of the 1950s music legend.
In "Lubbock or Leave It," Natalie Maines, a native of this West Texas city, sings: "I hear they hate me now/Just like they hated you./Maybe when I'm dead and gone/I'm gonna get a statue, too."
Holly, whose statue is in downtown Lubbock, was born here and died in a plane crash along with singers Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson in Iowa in 1959.
Holly's older brother, Larry O. Holley, said he doesn't know of anyone in Lubbock who hated his sibling.
"Older people in town thought rock 'n' roll was for kids," Holley said. "But no one hated Buddy."
The song is on the fourth Dixie Chicks album, a May 23 national release titled "Taking the Long Way." The songwriting credit lists all three Chicks Emily Robison, Martie Maguire and Maines and Mike Campbell.
Another brother, Travis Holley, said his brother was proud of Lubbock.
"He was loyal to his hometown, his church and his family," he said. "And I never knew of anyone who hated Buddy."
Maines, born and raised in Lubbock, seemed to be embraced by all until March 2003 when she told a concert audience in London the group was "ashamed" President Bush was from Texas. A free-speech debate ensued and radio stations across the country stopped playing the Chicks' music. Some still don't; only one in Lubbock does.
Kathy Best of Front Page Publicity, which handles Chicks' interview requests, said that Maines won't be available anytime soon for interviews.
On the Chicks Web site Maines writes that the song "is not just about Lubbock, but about any small, hypocritical town."