David Bowie's 'Where Are We Now' Looking for Rock Songs Chart Debut
David Bowie's 'Where Are We Now' Looking for Rock Songs Chart Debut

As the rock icon returns, a look at his 10 biggest Billboard Hot 100 classics. Plus, Taylor Swift passes Madonna for a notable Hot 100 mark.

David Bowie bounds back to Billboard's charts, as "Where Are We Now?" enters Hot Rock Songs at No. 20. The song concurrently launches on Rock Digital Songs at No. 14 and Alternative Digital Songs at No. 10 with 28,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

While the track, which also begins on a host of international charts, including at No. 6 on the Official U.K. Singles tally, had remained virtually a secret - Bowie's son, film director Duncan Jones, Tweeted, "Heh heh heh...I know something you don't know," on Jan. 7, a day before its release - Bowie's official website has since confirmed that the single previews his 28th studio album, "The Next Day," due March 12.

In honor of his return, here's a look at David Bowie's 10 biggest Billboard hits. (The list is based on actual performance on the weekly Billboard Hot 100. Songs are ranked on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the lowest.)

Rank, Title, Hot 100 Peak Position, Year

1, "Let's Dance," No. 1 (one week), 1983

 

Bowie co-wrote his second Hot 100 No. 1 with Nile Rodgers of dance/disco group Chic, which topped the Hot 100 with "Le Freak" in 1978 and "Good Times" in 1979. Rodgers also co-produced and wrote Diana Ross' 1980 No. 1 "Upside Down."
 
2, "Fame," No. 1 (two weeks), 1975
John Lennon co-penned Bowie's first Hot 100 topper and sings on the track. As Fred Bronson notes in his "Billboard Book of No. 1 Hits," Bowie sang "Fame" on TV's "Soul Train," making him one of the first white artists to perform on the show.

3, "Golden Years," No. 10, 1976
Bowie has said that he offered the song to Elvis Presley, but the King declined to record it. Instead, Bowie scored his second Hot 100 top 10.

4, "Dancing in the Street" (with Mick Jagger), No. 7, 1985

 

Although Jagger has tallied 23 Hot 100 top 10s with the Rolling Stones, this Martha & the Vandellas cover is his only solo top 10 (well, not counting his name-checked cameo in Maroon 5's 2011 No. 1 "Moves Like Jagger.")

5, "Blue Jean," No. 8, 1984

The song was accompanied by a 21-minute (!) video, dubbed "Jazzin' for Blue Jean."

6, "China Girl," No. 10, 1983
Like the No. 4 title on this list, another pairing of rock royalty: Bowie wrote the song with punk pioneer Iggy Pop.

7, "Space Oddity," No. 15, 1973

 

Bowie's sci-fi song, and first top 40 Hot 100 hit, was answered by another artist: In 1983, German singer Peter Schilling sent "Major Tom (Coming Home)" to a peak one notch higher than Bowie's original.

8, "Modern Love," No. 14, 1983

Inspired by Little Richard, the song features Stevie Ray Vaughan on guitars and "Saturday Night Live" band veteran Lenny Pickett on saxophone.

9, "Day-In Day-Out," No. 21, 1987
Bowie has collected 13 top 40 Hot 100 hits, with his last two charting 25 years ago: this song and the No. 27-peaking follow-up "Never Let Me Down."

10, "Under Pressure" (with Queen), No. 29, 1982

 

It surely would've stood as a rock era standard on its own. In 1990, however, Vanilla Ice gave it a second life as a rap track via his No. 1 smash "Ice Ice Baby," reinforcing the multi-format appeal, and wide sonic reach, of Bowie's music.

Bowie first drew Billboard chart ink more than 40 years ago. The week of April 15, 1972, his fourth studio set, "Hunky Dory," entered the Billboard 200, while classic cut "Changes" debuted on the Hot 100.

NEXT: Taylor Swift's "Knew" piece of chart history


'KNEW' MUSIC: As Taylor Swift bullets at No. 4 (with Airplay Gainer honors) on the Hot 100 with current pop single "I Knew You Were Trouble.," she debuts another "knew" track: "The Moment I Knew" starts at No. 64. The latter song bows after being released digitally in the iTunes Store and on the U.S. Target-exclusive deluxe physical edition of parent album "Red." It was previously available only on the set's Canadian version.

The new "Knew" marks Swift's 57th Hot 100 entry, pushing her past Madonna and Dionne Warwick for the second-most appearances among women in the chart's 54-year history. With 73, only Aretha Franklin has more. (Among all acts, the "Glee" cast leads with 205.)

Here's an updated ranking of the women with the most charted Hot 100 titles:

73, Aretha Franklin
57, Taylor Swift
56, Madonna
56, Dionne Warwick
53, Connie Francis
48, Brenda Lee
44, Mariah Carey
42, Nicki Minaj
41, Barbra Streisand
40, Mary J. Blige
40, Diana Ross
39, Janet Jackson
39, Rihanna

Notably, Swift has benefited from charting in an era in which album cuts, as opposed to only commercially-available singles (often promoted to radio), can appear on the Hot 100 (a rule change enacted the week of Dec. 5, 1998). Of her 57 Hot 100 hits, 20 have spent just one week on the chart, a majority of which arrived thanks to hefty digital sales the weeks that her albums "Fearless" (2008), "Speak Now" (2010) and "Red" (2012) debuted atop the Billboard 200 album chart.

Still, Swift's top 10 total - 14 - is in line with most of the other women with the highest sums of Hot 100 visits. While Madonna has tallied a Hot 100-record 38 top 10s, Franklin has collected 17 and Warwick, 12.

OH, 'MY'!: As Fox's "American Idol" begins its 12th season, Kelly Clarkson, the series' original champion (2002), widens her lead for the most Adult Pop Songs top 10s among women (12), as "Catch My Breath" rises 12-10.

 

Clarkson pushes further ahead of Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry and P!nk, each with 10 Adult Pop Songs top 10s. Among all artists, only Goo Goo Dolls (14), Maroon 5 and matchbox twenty (13 each) have tallied more top 10s, while Train has also amassed 12.

On the Hot 100, "Catch" climbs 30-23.


WORTH THE 'WAIT':
Adding to pop radio's folk invasion, which includes the Lumineers' "Ho Hey" and Ed Sheeran's "The A Team," Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" enters Pop Songs at No. 36, marking the band's first entry on the airplay chart.

"Wait" previously topped the Triple A and Alternative Songs airplay charts and has sold 1.2 million downloads, according to SoundScan. Parent album "Babel" ruled the Billboard 200 for three weeks in October and has sold 1.6 million units. (Follow-up single "Lover of the Light" rises 31-28 in its third week on Alternative Songs.)

With another folk-tinged track on Pop Songs, radio programmers believe that the sound is adding an appropriate amount of variety to the format. "Too much of any one sound is never a great thing. But, the best-testing songs are the ones we should play most often," WRNW Milwaukee Dave Adams says. The station "has always leaned a little more adult anyway, so our listeners expect to hear these folk hits."