Chart Rewind: In 2017, Kane Brown & Lauren Alaina Had ‘What’ It Takes to Hit No. 1

On Oct. 28, 2017, Kane Brown‘s “What Ifs,” featuring Lauren Alaina, topped Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart. Brown co-wrote the song with Matt McGinn and Jordan Schmidt, and Dann Huff produced it.

The single marked Brown’s first of eight Country Airplay leaders and Alaina’s second of three. It was released from Brown’s introductory LP that arrived at the Top Country Albums summit, becoming his first of two No. 1 sets.

The same week it crowned Country Airplay, “What Ifs” began a five-week command on Billboard‘s streaming-, airplay- and sales-based Hot Country Songs chart. It dethroned Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road,” which had logged a then-record 34-week domination.

“All I can say is, 34 weeks, Sam Hunt? Damn. I’m happy to get in there,” Brown told Billboard upon learning of his achievement.


Brown, now 29, and Alaina, 28, are both from Georgia and were childhood friends, having met at Lakeview Middle School in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., in a choir class.

Brown’s latest single, “Thank God,” with Katelyn Brown, his wife, rises 19-18 on the latest, Oct. 29-dated Country Airplay chart. The duet is from his new album, Different Man, which launched at its No. 2 best on Top Country Albums in September, becoming his sixth top 10 set.

Alaina, who finished as the runner-up to Scotty McCreery on American Idol in 2011, most recently led Country Airplay as featured, with Devin Dawson, on Hardy’s “One Beer,” which the threesome hoisted to No. 1 in December 2020.

This May, Alaina hopped on stage during a Brown concert in Chattanooga, Tenn., near where they grew up. The pair performed “What Ifs.”

Gary Trust