Chris Stapleton Earns Fourth Diamond Single in Country History

"Tennessee Whiskey" has now sold more than 10 million copies, making it one of the best-selling country singles of all time.

Written by Chris Parton
Chris Stapleton Earns Fourth Diamond Single in Country History
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - JUNE 09: Chris Stapleton performs onstage for the 2021 CMT Music Awards at Bridgestone Arena on June 09, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for CMT)

Chris Stapleton was recognized for a rare achievement in country music this weekend (December 11), putting him on a very short list.

The Kentucky-born singer-songwriter’s “Tennessee Whiskey” was awarded Diamond certification by the R.I.A.A. for surpassing 10 million units sold, and that is just the fourth single in country history to do so.

UMG Nashville Executive VP/A&R, Brian Wright, Chris Stapleton and UMG Nashville President, Cindy Mabe, hold a plaque celebrating the Diamond certification of “Tennessee Whiskey” on December 11, 2021. Photo credit: Andy Barron 

Written by Dean Dillon and Linda Hargrove, Stapleton’s version of “Tennessee Whiskey” is actually a cover, as the song was first recorded by David Allen Coe in 1981 and then later by George Jones, but it has certainly become Stapleton’s career-defining hit (so far).

Included on his 2015 debut album, Traveller, the track helped launch Stapleton to superstardom when he teamed up with pop superstar Justin Timberlake to perform it on the 2015 CMA Awards, and since then, the bourbon-voiced modern traditionalist has become a Platinum-selling, arena-packing icon, and also an awards-show darling. He even took home four trophies at last month’s CMA Awards, but mainstream fans may never have discovered him without “Tennessee Whiskey.”

Remarkably, the feat means Stapleton has now done something even golden-age sales giants like George Strait, Garth Brooks and Shania Twain have not done (although those stars do have Diamond certified albums to their credit). The first country song in history to earn Diamond status was “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line (including the Nelly remix), and the duo also have another Diamond certification for their collaboration with Bebe Rexha on “Meant to Be.” The only other single in country history to have sold 10 million-plus copies is the controversial “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X (featuring Billy Ray Cyrus), which observers like Billboard did not even consider a “country song” when it was first released. Meanwhile, Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Backroad” is nearing Diamond certification as well, currently sitting at 9 million copies sold.

Congratulations to Stapleton as he wraps up another stellar year, with the beginning of 2022 looking promising as well. He’ll be up for three more Grammy awards on January 31.