Chart Beat

David Bowie on the Charts: From 'Changes' to 'Fame' and Beyond

Jimmy King

Best Bets Albums 2013, David Bowie

The iconic David Bowie, who died on Jan. 10 of cancer at 69, left behind an indelible legacy on Billboard’s charts.

"Changes" marked the influential artist's chart debut, appearing on the Billboard Hot 100 dated April 15, 1972. Bowie would rack up another 25 entries on the list, including two No. 1s, “Fame” and “Let’s Dance.” Among the Grammy Award-winner’s songs to hit the Hot 100 were: “Rebel Rebel,” “Young Americans,” “Fashion,” “Under Pressure” (with Queen) and “I’m Afraid of Americans.” The latter, co-produced with Nine Inch Nails, was his most recent single to chart, in 1998.

Bowie also notched 39 albums on the Billboard 200 chart – among them, seven top 10s: Diamond Dogs (No. 5, 1974), David Live (No. 8, 1974), Young Americans (No. 9, 1975), Station to Station (No. 3, 1976) ChangesOneBowie (No. 10, 1976), Let’s Dance (No. 4, 1983) and The Next Day (No. 2 — his highest charting album — in 2013).

Bowie’s chart impact wasn’t limited to the pop tallies -- he charted on Dance Club Songs, Alternative Songs, Mainstream Rock and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. Bowie even claimed a No. 12 hit on the Hot Rap Songs chart in 1990, thanks to a reworking of “Fame” with Queen Latifah.

In 1977, Bowie found success with a fluke Christmas tune: his unlikely collaboration with Bing Crosby on “Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy.” The duet, which was recorded in 1977, peaked at No. 18 on the Holiday Airplay chart in 2002 and continues to be a favorite of radio programmers and fans each Christmas season. 

Bowie released his 25th studio album, Blackstar, on Jan. 8 (his 69th birthday) through ISO/Columbia Records. It is aiming for a high debut on the forthcoming Billboard 200 chart dated Jan. 30.