Luke Bryan Reflects On His Musical Journey During Star-Studded 30 No.1s Celebration

“It’s kind of hard to wrap your head around,” Bryan admitted.

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Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

September 14, 2023

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Luke Bryan; Photo by Alan Poizner

In 2007, country radio listeners were introduced to a new artist named Luke Bryan with the release of his debut single, “All My Friends Say.” The song took a slow climb to the Top 5 and marked the beginning of what would become an illustrious career at country radio for the Georgia native. After achieving his very first No.1 two years later with “Do I,” Bryan found his place as an artist, and from that moment on, he became an unstoppable force at country radio.  

Earned His First No.1 In 2009

Fast forward 16 years, and Luke Bryan has achieved an extraordinary feat of 30 chart-toppers at country radio. This milestone achievement has only been accomplished by a handful of artists, including legends like George Strait, Alabama, and Ronnie Milsap, placing Luke Bryan in a class amongst his heroes. 

On Tuesday evening (Sept. 12) in Nashville, Bryan was honored for this outstanding accomplishment during an exclusive, invitation-only 30 No.1s celebration. Held at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville, the event was attended by the songwriters who had a hand in writing the 30 chart-topping hits, Bryan’s longtime producers, Jeff Stevens and Jody Stevens, label personnel, Bryan’s closest friends, his wife, Caroline, and a few very special guests. 

Brooklyn Bowl - Luke Bryan 30 No.1; Photo by Country Now
Brooklyn Bowl – Luke Bryan 30 No.1; Photo by Country Now

Ahead of the surprise celebration, Bryan sat down with Country Now and other media to reflect on the achievement and admitted that moments like this allow him to take a step back and soak in what’s happened over the course of his career.     

“Your Career Flases In Front Of Your Eyes”

“I think when you’re so focused in the trenches of all this…it’s days like this where…your career flashes in front of your eyes,” he noted. 

Thinking back to his move from rural Georgia to Music City, Bryan said, “From the second I got here,  it just felt like I’d finally found the place for me to be.” 

After arriving in Nashville, he dove head-first into songwriting and “never really looked back.” 

Cindy Mabe, Luke Bryan, Kerri Edwards; Photo by Alan Poizner
Cindy Mabe, Luke Bryan, Kerri Edwards; Photo by Alan Poizner

As for 30 No.1 singles, Bryan said it’s hard to believe.   

“I mean to have dreams of hopefully writing number ones and performing number ones and being an artist, to present day… you look at that and it’s kind of hard to wrap your head around,” he confessed. “It’s a lot of sacrifices. I never would’ve imagined I’d have hit a number like 30.”

He continued, “I was joking with somebody today. I was like, ‘I would’ve probably given myself maybe eight as an over and under, eight to 10.’” 

Showcased Gratitude To Those Who Helped Him Along The Way

With a list of chart-topping hits that has extended beyond his wildest dreams, Bryan ensured that he acknowledged the contributions of all those who played a significant role in making this achievement possible.

“I think days like this are all about me and everybody that it took to make all this happen. I think it’s really important to think about songwriters today. And there’s songwriters that I never had a number one with that helped me grow as a writer too,” he said. “And I even thought about those people that aren’t on the list, that they sat in the room with me a lot and we just never landed on a number one and that there’s a lot of those guys and girls out there too.” 

Surprise Performances

Luke Bryan, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott; Photo by Alan Poizner
Luke Bryan, Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott; Photo by Alan Poizner

The five-time Entertainer of the Year had no idea what was in store for the evening, as his team planned an unforgettable celebration that included surprise performances by some of his closest friends. 

Kicking the evening off was Lady A’s Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott (Charles Kelley was absent due to travel), who appeared to honor Bryan with a performance of his first No.1, “Do I.” 

“We’re so honored to be here [for] such an amazing celebration,” Scott shared from the stage. “Luke, we love you. Thank you so much for the years of friendship.”

Dierks Bentley; Photo by Alan Poizner
Dierks Bentley; Photo by Alan Poizner

After a stunning rendition of “Do I” from two-thirds of Lady A, Dierks Bentley took the stage for a performance of his wife’s favorite Luke Bryan song, “Play It Again.”  

Before his performance, Bentley hilariously roasted his longtime friend.

“The first thing I think of when I hear that number is shi**, you’re old dude. You’re old,” Bentley joked. 

In all seriousness, Bentley later added, “Luke, I love you. I’m so proud of you, buddy. You’re one of my favorite singers. Not only professionally what you’ve done, but also personally in your life, your family, the way you live. Just huge fan. Always have been.” 

The surprises didn’t stop there. 

Luke Bryan, Marty Raybon; Photo by Alan Poizner
Luke Bryan, Marty Raybon; Photo by Alan Poizner

Marty Raybon of Shenandoah, one of Luke Bryan’s musical heroes, was next to take the stage. Raybon chose to sing “Fast” as he thought it was similar to something Shenandoah. In a touching moment following the performance, Bryan rushed to the stage to give Raybon a hug as a “thank you” for taking the time to honor him. 

The performances concluded with Bryan’s longtime friend, Jason Aldean. 

“I’m obviously honored to be here. I’ve been along I feel like for all 30 of these No. 1s with you and I’ll never forget Luke came to my house [in Florida] one day and he just finished the Tailgates & Tanlines album and wanted to play me some cuts on it,” Aldean said. “We just sat there and listened to it and I just… didn’t know what was going to happen, but I just knew he had a lot of hits on the record and just a really great album.”

Aldean explained that when he got the call to perform one of Bryan’s chart-topping hits, he immediately knew he wanted to sing “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.” 

Jason Aldean; Photo by Alan Poizner
Jason Aldean; Photo by Alan Poizner

Luke Bryan’s 30 No.1s celebration was a testament to his staying power at country radio. But, he’s not done. His current single, “But I Got A Beer In My Hand,” continues to race up the charts at country radio, paving the way for a 31st No.1. 

Luke Bryan’s 30 Career No.1 Singles

“Country On” – written by Mark Nesler, David Frasier, Mitch Oglesby, and Styles Haury 12-12-22

“Buy Dirt” Jordan Davis Feat. Luke Bryan 1-24-22

“Waves”- written by Zach Crowell, Ryan Hurd and Chase McGill 8-30-21

“Down To One”- written by Dallas Davidson, Justin Ebach and Kyle Fishman 3-1-21

“One Margarita” – written by Michael Carter, Matt Dragstrem and Josh Thompson 7-6-21

“What She Wants Tonight”- written by Luke Bryan, Ross Copperman, Hillary Lindsey and Jon Nite 3-31-20

“Knockin’ Boots”- written by Hillary Lindsey, Gordie Sampson and Jon Nite 9-9-19

“What Makes You Country”- written by Luke, Dallas Davidson and Ashley Gorley 2-27-19

“Sunrise, Sunburn, Sunset”- written by Zach Crowell, Ryan Hurd and Chase McGill 9-10-18

“Most People Are Good”- written by David Frasier, Ed Hill and Josh Kear 3-26-18

“Light It Up”- written by Luke Bryan, Brad Tursi 12-11-17

“Fast”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird 4-3-17

“Move”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Michael Carter, Jay Clementi 11-7-16

“Huntin’, Fishin’, And Lovin’ Every Day”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip 6-20-16

“Home Alone Tonight”—Written by: Jody Stevens, Cole Taylor, Jaida Dreyer, Tommy Cecil 2-1-16

“Strip It Down—Written by: Luke Bryan, Jon Nite, Ross Copperman 10-19-15

“Kick The Dust Up”—Written by: Dallas Davidson, Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley 8-3-15

“I See You”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Ashley Gorley, Luke Laird 2-2-15

“Roller Coaster”—Written by: Michael Carter, Cole Swindell 10-6-14

“Play It Again”—Written by: Dallas Davidson, Ashley Gorley 5-19-14

“Drink A Beer”—Written by: Jim Beavers, Chris Stapleton 2-3-14

“That’s My Kind of Night”—Written by: Dallas Davidson, Chris DeStefano, Ashley Gorley 10-21-13

“Crash My Party”—Written by: Rodney Clawson, Ashley Gorley 7-1-13

“Only Way I Know” Jason Aldean, Feat Luke Bryan   2-4-13

“Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Jeff Stevens, Shane McAnally 11-5-12

“Drunk On You”—Written by: Rodney Clawson, Chris Tompkins, Josh Kear 6-4-12

“I Don’t Want This Night To End”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip 1-16-12

“Someone Else Calling You Baby”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Jeff Stevens 2-13-11

“Rain Is A Good Thing”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Dallas Davidson 7-11-10

“Do I”—Written by: Luke Bryan, Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley 12-13-09

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.