For the first time in his storied career, Bob Dylan has a No. 1 song on a Billboard chart under his name.
“Murder Most Foul,” the iconic singer-songwriter’s nearly 17-minute chronicle of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, debuts at No. 1 on the Rock Digital Song Sales survey dated April 11.
Released March 27, the song sold 10,000 downloads in its first tracking week, ending April 2, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
Previously, Dylan had reached as high as No. 2 on the all-genre, multi-metric Billboard Hot 100 with “Like a Rolling Stone” (Sept. 4, 1965) and “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” (May 21, 1966), along with a No. 2 best on the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart with “Things Have Changed” (May 13, 2000). He also hit No. 2 on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay list three times as part of supergroup Traveling Wilburys in the late ’80s and early ’90s (“Handle With Care,” “End of the Line” and “She’s My Baby”).
However, Dylan had reached No. 1 as a writer. Peter Paul & Mary’s rendition of “Blowin’ in the Wind” topped the Adult Contemporary airplay chart for five weeks beginning in August 1963, and The Byrds’ version of “Mr. Tambourine Man” ruled the Hot 100 for a week in June 1965.
“Murder Most Foul” becomes Dylan’s first entry on the sales-, streaming- and airplay-based Hot Rock Songs chart, bowing at No. 5. In addition to its sales, the song starts with 1.8 million U.S. streams.
An “unreleased song we recorded a while back,” as Dylan wrote in a release announcing the tune, it’s his first music released since his 2017 covers album Triplicate and his first original material since 2012’s Tempest.