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“CRUSH”-ING IT

Capitol Nashville's Little Big Town and manager Jason Owen successfully pushed to release “Girl Crush” as the second single off their 2014 album Pain Killer following the Top 5 hit “Day Drinking.” Then a funny thing happened. Country stations from coast to coast started pulling it from their playlists in response to complaints from listeners misinterpreting the lyric as being about a same-sex relationship. But “Girl Crush” has become a sales hit nonetheless. The track is #4 on the Country sales chart, #1 at iTunes Country and #11 at iTunes overall, but just #33 on the airplay chart.

Now a number of radio programmers and DJs as well as other artists are showing their support of the song by posting pictures of themselves wearing “Girl Crush” hats. “This is one of my proudest moments,” Owen tells us. “It's about the music, and the best song always wins.”

iHeartRadio’s Bobby Bones, who hosts the nation’s most popular Country morning show, fumed about this topic to his millions of listeners last week while Little Big Town was in the studio, the Washington Post reported. “Is it frustrating to you that here is your song—that is one of the Top 10 sellers for weeks and weeks and weeks—and people on the radio are still afraid to play it because they think it’s a ‘lesbian song?’ It would drive me insane! It shouldn’t even matter if it’s a lesbian song, is the first thing.”

As the Post noted, however, that has been proven to matter. Look no further than Kacey Musgraves (another of Owen’s management clients) and “Follow Your Arrow,” the song referencing same-sex kissing that racked up awards and sales but hit a dead end at radio. Even in 2015, the subject is still a taboo in the genre.

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