CSPC: David Bowie Popularity Analysis

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Let's Dance

While retaining a solid position in the UK, topping charts in 1980 and in 1981 with singles Ashes to Ashes and Under Pressure, by 1982 it had been seven years since David Bowie last visited the US top 10 of the Hot 100.

In 1983 the album Let’s Dance fixed the situation. For the very first time of his career, the artist got one trans-Atlantic Top 5 single. A global #1, the title song of that album is one of the very best selling singles of the 80s at 5,5 million units sold. That massive hit also boosted following singles from the album which added 4,7 million sales. In terms of physical singles sales, this remains by very far the artist biggest era of his career. It also represents a large chunk of the 16 million singles he sold as a solo artist during the 80s since both follow up eras failed to replicate a similar success.

As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between one album and one physical single.

Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) (1980) – 915,000 equivalent albums

Up The Hill Backwards – 150,000
Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps) – 150,000
Ashes To Ashes – 1,900,000
Fashion – 850,000

Let’s Dance (1983) – 3,060,000 equivalent albums

Let’s Dance – 5,500,000
China Girl – 2,300,000
Modern Love – 1,800,000
Without You – 200,000
Cat People (Putting Out Fire) – 400,000

Tonight (1984) – 600,000 equivalent albums

Loving The Alien – 300,000
Tonight – 500,000
Blue Jean – 1,200,000

Never Let Me Down (1987) – 315,000 equivalent albums

Day-In Day-Out – 550,000
Time Will Crawl – 100,000
Never Let Me Down – 400,000

7 thoughts on “CSPC: David Bowie Popularity Analysis”

  1. Great articel! I know the legend because Barbra covered her classic Life on mars. I still waiting for articels abou France Sales and CSPC for Barbra

  2. Bowie did well for the kind of act he was.

    I really like this series. Can you do wholr popularity analyses for Red Hot Chili Peppers, Little Mix, Janet Jackson, Radiohead and Queen?

    Thanks =)

  3. David’s total is quite good, amazing considering he doesn’t have a hugely successful album but surpassed those who have one (Britney, Guns and Roses etc.) He is definitely up there among the most successful artists in history, despite going against the typical music industry rules and being highly risky and innovative.

    Anyway, i don’t know if you know this, but January 16 would mark Aaliyah’s 38th Birthday! I hope you would do a CSPC analysis on her as it would be quite fitting. I don’t expect her to have a huge result, but as an R&B artist who only released 3 albums, i’m quite curious into how she would rank among her peers.

    Keep up the good work!

  4. Hi – thanks for a very comprehensively researched article.One question what about the sales of Under Pressure on Queen albums – Greatest hits and Platinum Collection?? Regards

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