Broken Halos

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"Broken Halos"
Single by Chris Stapleton
from the album From A Room: Volume 1
ReleasedJuly 17, 2017 (2017-07-17)[1]
StudioRCA Studio A
LabelMercury Nashville
Chris Stapleton singles chronology
"Either Way"
"Broken Halos"
"Say Something"

"Broken Halos" is a song recorded by American singer-songwriter Chris Stapleton. Written by Stapleton and Mike Henderson, it was released on April 14, 2017 as a promotional single from his second studio album From A Room: Volume 1.[2] The lead track on Volume 1, it was serviced to country radio on July 17 as the album's second single.[1] It won the awards for Best Country Song at the 60th Grammy Awards,[3] and Single of the Year and Song of the Year and the 52nd Country Music Association Awards.[4] Additionally, it received a nomination for Single Record of the Year at the 53rd Academy of Country Music Awards,[5]

Composition and lyrical interpretation[edit]

Musically, it was defined by critics as a multi-genre song. Stapleton said the song was inspired by "people who have passed away before their time." The singer recorded the song a day after a longtime friend died.[6] "Broken Halos" is a mid-tempo country rock number in which Stapleton "meditates on the wounds people suffer and the road toward healing that they travel," as noted by a Los Angeles Times' reviewer.[7] An NPR editor described it as Southern gospel,[8] and a Rolling Stone reviewer, as folk rock.[9] Another Rolling Stone writer, Chris Parton, named it country gospel after listening to a live performance of the song, and interpreted it as:

...[The track] offers a tender, lump-in-your-throat reminder to keep the faith, even in the midst of tragedy. Angels appear to help us on our way, Stapleton sings, but when their job is done they leave. . . and we're not meant to understand why.[10]

The song is composed in the key of A-flat major with a moderate tempo. It primarily follows the chord pattern A-D-A-Fm-A-D-A.[11]

Critical reception[edit]

Writing for Billboard, Spotify editors opined the song "helps build a strong argument that [Stapleton] is one of the most refreshing and consistent country artists to emerge in recent memory."[12] Laura McClellan of Taste of Country wrote "the stripped-down tune is a commentary on, essentially, stumbling along this life together as human beings, and its lyrics are poignant enough to affect even the most cynical of us." She commented its mid-tempo, "laid-back" feel with only guitar and vocals featuring prominently "makes it easy listening, but its core is significant."[13] In Paste, Ben Salmon described it a "a perfectly paced song that lyrically spans the spiritual and the earthbound."[14]

In Rolling Stone, Robert Crawford commented, "Equal parts folk-rock anthem and Sunday-morning spiritual, [the song] begins with five seconds of Stapleton in solo mode, howling over an acoustic guitar. When the band joins him halfway through the first verse, it's an understated entrance, stripped free of radio-friendly gloss... [The song] is a straightforward, uncluttered opener, designed to welcome – not overwhelm – the listener."[9]

Chart performance[edit]

"Broken Halos" entered the top 10 on the US Country Airplay on the chart dated February 10, 2018, becoming his second single to do so following "Nobody to Blame".[15] It topped the chart in its March 24, 2018 issue, becoming his first career number one on Country Airplay.[16] It also entered the top 10 on the Hot Country Songs chart in its 42nd chart week, being Stapleton's second top 10 following his two-week leading song "Tennessee Whiskey".[17] "Broken Halos" was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on April 26, 2018, double platinum in 2019 and triple platinum in 2021.[18] It has sold 664,000 downloads in the United States as of April 2019.[19]

Live performances[edit]

Stapleton premiered the song during Dolly Parton's Tennessee wildfires telethon in December 2016.[20] On July 18, 2017 the singer performed it on The Today Show, along with "Tennessee Whiskey" and "Second One to Know".[21] Stapleton also performed the song at the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year awards[22] and at the Country Music Association Awards.[23] The song is featured on the setlist of his All-American Road Show Tour. During his live performances in late 2017, the singer dedicated the song to the victims of deadly tragedies that happened in the country.[24]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[33] Platinum 70,000
Canada (Music Canada)[34] Gold 40,000
United States (RIAA)[18] 3× Platinum 664,000[19]

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Category Recipient/Work Result Ref
2018 Country Music Association Awards Single of the Year Chris Stapleton - "Broken Halos" Won [35]
Song of the Year Mike Henderson, Chris Stapleton - "Broken Halos" Won


  1. ^ a b "Country > Future Releases". All Access Music Group. Archived from the original on July 10, 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  2. ^ "Hear Chris Stapleton's Redemptive 'Broken Halos' Off Upcoming New Album". Rolling Stone. April 13, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  3. ^ "Grammy Awards Winners List: Updating Live". Variety. January 28, 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  4. ^ "2018 CMA Awards nominations announced". Tennessean. August 28, 2018. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Kaufman, Gil (March 1, 2018). "ACM Awards 2018 Nominations: See the Full List". Billboard. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  6. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (July 5, 2017). "Chris Stapleton, 'Broken Halos' [Listen]". Taste of Country. Retrieved July 20, 2017.
  7. ^ Lewis, Randy (April 13, 2017). "Chris Stapleton premieres 'Broken Halos,' first track from 'From a Room: Volume 1'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
  8. ^ Powers, Ann (April 14, 2017). "Hear Chris Stapleton's First Single From His Forthcoming Album". NPR. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Crawford, Robert (May 4, 2017). "Chris Stapleton's 'From A Room: Volume 1': Track-by-Track Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  10. ^ Parton, Chris (December 14, 2016). "Hear Chris Stapleton Perform Powerful New Song 'Broken Halos'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 26, 2017.
  11. ^ "'Broken Halos' sheet music". 2 May 2017. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  12. ^ "Kendrick Lamar, Chris Stapleton, PWR BTTM & More Are Spotify Editors' Picks for April 14". Billboard. April 14, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  13. ^ "Chris Stapleton Releases Powerful New Song, 'Broken Halos'". Taste of Country. April 14, 2017. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  14. ^ Salmon, Ben (May 4, 2017). "Chris Stapleton: From A Room, Vol. 1 Review". Paste. Retrieved May 5, 2017.
  15. ^ Trust, Gary (February 7, 2018). "Chris Stapleton: Format 'Traveller,' From Country to Pop, Rock & Adult R&B". Billboard. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Asker, Jim (March 20, 2018). "Chris Stapleton Claims First Country Airplay Leader With 'Broken Halos'". Billboard. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  17. ^ Asker, Jim (February 6, 2018). "Chris Stapleton Is First Artist to Hold Top Three Spots on Top Country Albums Chart Since Garth Brooks in 1992". Billboard. Retrieved March 1, 2018.
  18. ^ a b "American single certifications – Chris Stapleton – Broken Halos". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  19. ^ a b Bjorke, Matt (April 8, 2019). "Top 30 Digital Country Tracks: April 8, 2019". RoughStock. Retrieved April 10, 2019.
  20. ^ "Chris Stapleton Ships 'Broken Halos' to Radio, Opens for Tom Petty". Rolling Stone. July 7, 2017. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  21. ^ Crawford, Robert (July 18, 2017). "See Chris Stapleton's Mesmerizing 'Today Show' Performances". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 19, 2017.
  22. ^ Partpn, Chris (October 19, 2017). "Chris Stapleton, Luke Bryan Preach Unity at 'CMT Artists of the Year' Show". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  23. ^ Payne, Chris (November 8, 2017). "Chris Stapleton Delivers Heavenly 'Broken Halos' Performance at 2017 CMAs". Billboard. Retrieved November 8, 2017.
  24. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (October 14, 2017). "Chris Stapleton Tributes Las Vegas Victims, Drops New Album News at Nashville Gig". Taste of Country. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  25. ^ "Chris Stapleton Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 3, 2018.
  26. ^ "Chris Stapleton Chart History (Canada Country)". Billboard. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  27. ^ "Chris Stapleton Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  28. ^ "Chris Stapleton Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  29. ^ "Chris Stapleton Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  30. ^ "Hot Country Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  31. ^ "Country Airplay – Year-End 2018". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  32. ^ "Hot Country Songs – Year-End 2018". Billboard. Retrieved December 7, 2018.
  33. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2023 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  34. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Chris Stapleton – Broken Halos". Music Canada. Retrieved November 7, 2017.
  35. ^ "2018 CMA Award Winners". The CMA Awards. Retrieved 2019-05-12.

External links[edit]