When David Bowie passed away on January 10, it was a shock to fans, but he had known of his cancer for 18 months. Bowie made his final album, Blackstar, knowing full well that it would be just that. What he might not have known is that it would also be his first to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
Blackstar was released on January 8, and earned 181,000 “equivalent album units” in the U.S. during the week ending January 14, according to Billboard. 174,000 of that number was pure album sales, which is the most any album in Bowie’s catalog has seen since Billboard began tracking sales in 1991.
By comparison, Bowie’s previous sales high as tracked by Billboard came when his previous album, 2013’s The Next Day, was released. That album sold 85,000 units in its first week, meaning Blackstar more than doubled that number.
Since the artist’s death, nine other of his albums have either moved back into the Billboard 200, or began appearing there for the first time. Two of them, the 2002 greatest hits collection Best of Bowie and 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, have made their way into the top 40, sitting at No. 4 and No. 21, respectively.
The strong sales shouldn’t come as a surprise, as songs from Blackstar and others spanning Bowie’s sprawling back catalog have been breaking additional records. Last week Bowie’s video catalog gathered 51 million views during the 24 hours after the announcement of his death. Spotify streams of the artist’s catalog were up by 2,800 percent, according to the company.
Fans have found other ways to celebrate the musician as well. Last week a city street in Austin was illegally changed from Bowie Street to David Bowie Street, a change that the city ended up allowing as a tribute. On a more cosmic scale, the music legend also had a brand-new constellation named in his honor.
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