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

The Killers
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.

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

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.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.