David Bowie Never Had a Number 1 Album In America (Until Now)

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David Bowie has reached number one on the American album charts for the first time ever.  He did it with his last album, Blackstar

Surprisingly, David Bowie has never had a number one album in the US prior to his latest release, BlackstarThe Next Day was Bowie’s highest-charting US album, peaking at number 2 in 2013.  Five of his records released between 1974 and 1983 made the Top 10, but never hit the top.

Blackstar was released two days before his death on January 10th, and has sold the equivalent of 181,000 albums during the week ending January 14, according to Nielsen Music.  That knocks Adele’s 25 (143,000 units, down 26 percent) off the top spot after seven consecutive weeks at number 1.

Justin Bieber’s Purpose also moves down in the ranks, to number 3 with 104,000 units (down 17 percent).

To highlight just how big of an achievement this is for Bowie, the last artist to get a number one album after passing was the world phenomenon Michael Jackson.  In November, 2009, Jackson’s This Is It soundtrack topped the chart, part of a outpouring of fan adulation.  Music fans were obviously moved by Bowie’s death, as not only did Blackstar perform well, but his nine other albums also performed well in the charts.

Tributes to Bowie continue.  A performance of ‘Rebel Rebel’ set off Bruce Springsteen’s tour opener in Pittsburgh on January 16th.  Another took place on the streets of New Orleans, where Arcade Fire paired up with Preservation Hall Jazz Band to hold a Bowie-themed parade through the French Quarter.  “That’s the way Bowie would want us to celebrate,” said Preservation Hall creative director Ben Jaffe.

“With theater and tradition and music. He would want people out in the street dancing.”

(Photo by Hunter Despores, Attribution 2.0 Generic, CC by 2.0)

4 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    An artist’s album reaches #1 for the first time ever… while still being available on streaming services? That’s just totally outrageous.

    • Vail, CO

      Just as outrageous as the previous number one selling 100 times more copies, and *not* being on streaming.

  2. Rick Shaw

    This took way too long. People took Bowie for granted for too long.

    • Name2

      His “Station to Station” album went to #3 in 1976.

      It should be self-evident this 1 week later that the cultural cachet of a clutch of Top 10 albums from 1974-1976 (that’s right – neither “Ziggy” nor “Aladdin Sane” went Top 10) leaves a bigger footprint than a #1 album in 2016 – forty years later, and in the spent cultural and financial sphere that is today’s music business.