The Year in Country Music 2018: "Billboard"’s biggest Hot Country Song of all time was "Meant to Be"

ABC/Image Group LAEven though the odds were against it, one of the biggest country and pop hits of 2018 was simply “Meant to Be.”

The idea came from Hayley Hubbard, the wife of Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard. As the two discussed an impromptu writing appointment in L.A. with pop star Bebe Rexha, Hayley told Tyler, “Relax. If it’s meant to be, it will be.”

Bebe later admitted she didn’t exactly know who FGL was.  She thought she was writing with Little Big Town, and asked where the girls -- Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman -- were.

Still, “Meant to Be” -- which was officially released in October of 2017 -- went on to become the biggest country hit ever on Billboard’s Hot Country songs chart, spending 50 weeks at the top.  It outpaced former all-time leaders like Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road” and FGL’s own “Cruise.”

FGL and Bebe kicked off 2018 performing the tune on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest and continued to pair up throughout the year. They sang “Meant to Be” on the ACMs in Las Vegas, at CMA Fest in June, and, finally, at the CMA Awards in November.

Bebe fell in love with the songwriting culture of Nashville, and vowed to return to Music City to work on new music. At the same time, she finished up part of her own debut album in the home of country music.

FGL, meanwhile, returned to their country roots, getting back-to-basics with their #1 follow-up “Simple,” and promised a new album in 2019 titled Can’t Say I Ain’t Country.  But Tyler and Brian Kelley are a little bit pop, too: the record will feature a collaboration with Jason Derulo.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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