2017 No. 1s: The Killers' 'Wonderful Wonderful' Return to Modern Rock

BB30 DO NOT REUSE
Aaron Richter
Clockwise from top left: Singer Brandon Flowers, Island Records president/CEO David Massey, drummer Ronnie Vannucci Jr., manager Robert Reynolds and Island Records executive vp/GM Eric Wong photographed on Sept. 22, 2017 at Terminal 5 in New York.

WONDERFUL WONDERFUL
Billboard 200, Alternative Albums, Top Rock Albums (one week each)

“THE MAN”
Triple A (one week)

The stakes have never been higher for The Killers: After a five-year hiatus, the Las Vegas quartet, which sold millions of albums during the 2000s, needed to re-establish itself as a vital force in modern rock. In June, the band did exactly that, strutting back with “The Man,” a plucky disco single partially inspired by Kool & The Gang, who are credited as songwriters. During the course of 13 weeks, “The Man” climbed to No. 1 on the Triple A (adult alternative songs) chart, giving The Killers their first airplay chart-topper in over a decade. New album Wonderful Wonderful followed suit, debuting atop the Billboard 200 -- a feat The Killers had never before accomplished in their 13-year career.

Ronnie Vannucci Jr.: There was a little bit of a crazy, self-imposed pressure that we were all feeling. We all think of this as the start of a new chapter. Five years ago, I don’t know if we would have been open to using a Kool & The Gang loop.

Robert Reynolds, manager: This album began difficult, but once The Killers got into their stride and worked with [producer] Jacknife Lee, it became a lot easier.

Brandon Flowers: Every time we’ve made a record, rock radio has changed so much. So we just got to follow our own compass. We grew up with the Talking HeadsDavid BowieJames Brown -- that has always been there lurking, simmering. It came out fully realized as “The Man.”

David Massey, Island Records president/CEO: I heard [the song] in its earliest incarnation quietly in a hotel lounge. It sounded really promising. I wanted something fresh for them.

Eric Wong, Island Records executive vp/GM: Scrolling through fan comments, people were responding not just to the single, but to all the tracks. That’s what makes a great album. 

Billboard Year in Music 2017

This article originally appeared in the Dec. 30 issue of Billboard.

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