Before Chief, Eric Church had minor hits with songs such as Love Your Love The Most, How ‘Bout You and Hell on the Heart. However, no one could predict the absolute powerhouse that would be unleashed with the release of Chief on July 26, 2011.
Following the success of Smoke A Little Smoke, his breakout single off of Carolina, Church knew that he didn’t want anyone reigning him in during the creation of Chief. In an interview with The Boot, he said,
“Going in the studio [for the new album], our main goal was not to let anyone reign us in. We didn’t have any rules and because of that we made some really good music. No idea was shot down.”
As for the name of the album, Chief, it is a very personal one for Church.
“My grandfather was chief of police for 35 years, and when I was growing up everyone called him Chief. The guys started calling me that totally as a joke, when I started wearing a hat and sunglasses after I got my contacts. They didn’t know about my grandfather at all. It was two different things and happened very organically and very naturally.”
Chief spawned five singles with Springsteen and Drink In My Hand reaching #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Homeboy, Like Jesus Does and Creepin’ were also quite successful for Church, especially in the long run. All five singles were eventually certified platinum with Springsteen leading the way with career-high 7x certifications for Church. Even non-singles such as Jack Daniels and Over When It’s Over would go on to receive gold certifications from the RIAA.
It goes without saying that Springsteen was the runaway hit off of the album. It is still Church’s biggest song to this day, garnering over 375 million streams on Spotify. It spent two weeks at #1 in 2012 before eventually receiving a multitude of different nominations. This includes two Grammy nominations in 2013 for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song, two ACM nominations in 2013 for Single and Song of the Year and three CMA nominations the same year for Single, Song and Music Video of the Year.
Commercially, the album was obviously a smash. However, more than ever before in his career, Chief put Church on the map critically as well. Chief won Album of the Year at the 2012 CMA Awards and the 2013 ACM Awards. Additionally, it was nominated for Best Country Album at the 54th Grammy Awards but lost to Lady Antebellum’s Own The Night.
Chief also made an appearance on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time List, coming in at #419.
Listen to Springsteen, Drink In My Hand and Over When It’s Over here: