CHICKS BEAT BACKLASH—HIT NO. 1

The Dixie Chicks have apparently survived the controversy of the past three years—their new CD Taking the Long Way has hit the top of both the Billboard country and pop charts.

And they did it without the support of country radio, which has given the trio little airplay since the anti-President Bush statements made by lead vocalist Natalie Maines in 2003. Country radio also basically ignored the first single from the CD, “Not Ready to Make Nice.” For the year, according to Wade Jessen, director of the country charts for Billboard, the Chicks’ first-week sales of 526,000 copies ranks only behind Rascal Flatts’ Me and My Gang debut week of more than 700,000.

On the May 31 edition of CNN’s Larry King Live, the trio thanked their loyal fans for taking the CD to the top. Natalie added that she had no problem with country radio or certain country artists like Toby Keith and Reba McEntire, who were mentioned by the group in a recent Time magazine interview. “Unfortunately, people picked up on a small part of what we talk about,” she said. “We don’t have a beef or battle with country radio or country artists, so it’s unfortunate to us that names have been named, and we’d just prefer it to go away.”

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