Al Jarreau’s Biggest Billboard Chart Highlights
The legendary performer was a longtime presence on Billboard's jazz charts, while adding a pair of top 40 Hot 100 hits.
Al Jarreau forged an impressive history on Billboard‘s jazz and R&B charts, while crossing over with three top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, one of them the theme to the hit 1980s TV show Moonlighting.
As previously reported, Jarreau passed away at age 76 on Sunday (Feb. 12).
After releasing his first album in 1975, Jarreau made his Billboard chart debut in 1976, at age 36, with the album Glow, which climbed to No. 30 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. That same year, Jarreau, whose early works were billed as simply “Jarreau,” landed his first song on a Billboard chart, “Rainbow in Your Eyes.” The tune reached No. 92 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and was the first of his 23 career entries on the list.
Jarreau continued a steady run of six singles on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 1976-80 before he found crossover success with “We’re in This Love Together.” In addition to its No. 6 peak on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, where it became his first top 10, the song would go on to become his highest-charting Hot 100 entry, reaching No. 15 in November 1981. It would also reach No. 6 on the Adult Contemporary chart.
The success of “Together” helped its parent album, 1981’s Breakin’ Away, make a splash on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The LP’s No. 9 peak gave Jarreau his sole top 10 album among 16 charted titles, and it ultimately spent 103 weeks on the list. The set also won a Grammy Award for best pop male vocal performance.
In 1985, Jarreau joined the all-star USA for Africa for the iconic charity single “We Are the World,” which topped the Hot 100 for four weeks.
Jarreau would make perhaps his greatest pop culture impression (on his own) with 1987’s “Moonlighting (Theme),” which doubled as the musical opening to each episode of the hit Bruce Willis/Cybil Shepherd ABC TV series. The song reached No. 23 on the Hot 100 and crowned Adult Contemporary.
Also in 1987, Billboard launched the Contemporary Jazz Albums chart, and Jarreau would become a mainstay on it, tallying 11 top 10s, including four No. 1s: Heart’s Horizon (seven weeks on top, beginning in 1989); Tomorrow Today (11 weeks, 2000); Givin’ It Up, with George Benson (eight weeks, 2006); and My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke (four weeks, 2014).
Givin’ It Up and My Old Friend also topped the all-jazz-encompassing Top Jazz Albums chart.
Additional reporting by Trevor Anderson