With farewell album, David Bowie tops U.S. album charts for first time

WASHINGTON — A week after he died, David Bowie has finally reached No. 1 on the U.S. album charts.

Released two days before his death last week of cancer, Bowie’s “Blackstar” sold 181,000 units last week, ousting Adele’s “25” from the top spot, according to Billboard.

This was Bowie’s biggest sales week for an album since Nielsen started tracking point-of-sale music purchases in 1991. His previous one-week sales high was when his 2013 album, “The Next Day,” sold 85,000 in its first week.

“Blackstar” is the first posthumous No. 1 album since Michael Jackson’s “This is It” topped the Billboard 200 chart in 2009, several months after Jackson’s death.

Nine other Bowie albums either returned, or made their first appearances on the Billboard 200 chart, with two in the top 40: “Best of Bowie” at No. 4, and “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” at No. 21.

“Blackstar” and “Best of Bowie” bring Bowie’s total of top-10 charting albums to nine,  joining  “The Next Day” (peaking at No. 2, 2013), “Let’s Dance” (No. 4, 1983), “ChangesOneBowie” (No. 10, 1976), “Station to Station” (No. 3, 1976), “Young Americans” (No. 9, 1975), “David Live” (No. 8, 1974), and “Diamond Dogs” (No. 5, 1974). But he never before hit No. 1.

Bowie had not disclosed his illness publicly before his death. “Blackstar” was released Jan. 8. He died Jan. 10, two days after his 69th birthday.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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