Skip to main content

Kaleo Earns First Alternative Songs No. 1 with ‘Way Down We Go’

The Icelandic band becomes the third act in 2016 to reign with its first charted song.

For the third time in 2016, an act tops Billboard‘s Alternative Songs airplay chart with its debut entry, as Kaleo‘s “Way Down We Go” rises 3-1 on the list dated Aug. 20.

The Icelandic band follows prior rookie leaders this year in Nothing But Thieves (“Trip Switch”) and The Strumbellas (“Spirits”). In 2015, only X Ambassadors (“Renegades”) and Elle King (“Ex’s & Oh’s”) led in their first visits, while five first-timers ruled each year from 2012 through 2014.


Kaleo is also the fifth act in 2016 to lead Alternative Songs whose origins lie outside the U.S. Previously, in addition to Nothing But Thieves (U.K.) and The Strumbellas (Canada), two other U.K. acts have conquered radio stateside: Coldplay (“Adventure of a Lifetime”) and Foals (“Mountain at My Gates”). That’s the most No. 1s by non-U.S. acts since 2012, when five also dominated. Since, two such acts led in 2015; four in 2014; and two in 2013.

Additionally, the 23-week rise of “Way Down We Go” to No. 1 (after debuting at No. 35 on the March 19-dated chart) is the longest journey to the top spot since Foals’ “Mountain,” which reached No. 1 in its 32nd week (also March 19).

“Way Down We Go” previously reached the top 10 of the Adult Alternative Songs airplay chart, peaking at No. 8 in March. On the current Aug. 20 Hot Rock Songs chart (which blends airplay, digital sales and U.S. streams), the track returns to its No. 13 peak.

A/B, Kaleo’s second studio album, and first to chart in the U.S., debuted and peaked at Nos. 3 and 4 on the Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums charts, respectively (July 2), starting with 17,000 copies, according to Nielsen Music.