Chart Beat

Inside Boney M's 'Rasputin' Resurgence, From Dancefloors to TikTok to Billboard's Global Charts

Boney M.
Chris Walter/WireImage

Boney M.

The 1978 disco confection enters the Global Excl. U.S. survey.

Among a dozen debuts on the latest Billboard Global Excl. U.S. chart (dated Feb. 20), a golden oldie, and one that was never a chart hit upon its original release, arrives: Boney M.'s "Rasputin," at No. 168.

Bolstered by the #Rasputindancechallenge on TikTok, the 1978 disco track logs its fourth consecutive week of rising streams and sales across the globe. Over five weeks, comparing the week ending Jan. 14 to the week ending Feb. 11, "Rasputin" has surged from 2.2 million streams outside the U.S. in that first frame to 7.5 million in the latest week, and from under 300 downloads sold to 1,000, according to MRC Data.

The current interest in "Rasputin" signals a new era of charting for Boney M. The German-Caribbean ensemble first made impact with "Daddy Cool, "Ma Baker," and "Rivers of Babylon," all of which hit the U.S.-based Billboard Hot 100 in 1976-78, peaking at Nos. 87, 96 and 87, respectively.

The group has also enjoyed enduring success with holiday fare, including "Mary's Boy Child," which preceded "Rasputin" on the Global Excl. U.S. chart, reaching No. 167 last month.

(Notably, Boney M. was founded by Frank Farian, who went on to form Milli Vanilli. Less controversially, he subsequently founded No Mercy, whose "Where Do You Go" hit No. 5 on the Hot 100 in 1996.)

The global chart arrival of "Rasputin" marks the greatest chart heights yet for the 43-year-old song. Two weeks earlier, it entered the LyricFind U.S. and LyricFind Global rankings, propelled by its TikTok profile.

Only 11 non-holiday songs from during the 20th century have appeared on the Global Excl. U.S. chart since its September 2020 launch. Four were released in the 1970s, dating to Queen’s 1975 behemoth “Bohemian Rhapsody,” with that song and classic hits by Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, Nirvana and others maintaining their popularity and finding new generations of fans.

“Rasputin” is an outlier in that respect, as it is the only of those 11 songs to have missed the Hot 100 entirely. That makes it the oldest Global Excl. U.S. chart hit without any Hot 100 history. After those 11, to find the next such Global Excl. U.S. entry chronologically, we have to scroll to 2013’s “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?” by Arctic Monkeys, which has so far charted for a week, at No. 200.