CSPC: David Bowie Popularity Analysis

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

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El Jolito

The Greatest solo artist in history.


That will be Michael Jackson


Best selling solo artist of all time, but not most important or most influential solo artist of all time.


That’s just your opinion, mine is he is very overrated and his sales are poor considering he is supposed to be that good. Half a dozen very good songs doesn’t make you the greatest.


Yes, Jacksons sales and popularity are amazing and his influence immense but Bowie was way, way more diverse than Jackson.


It’s so irritating when people can’t wrap their heads around the fact that sales aren’t everything. Sales are great but they don’t indicate how inventive, creative, influential, etc. an artist was/is.


Who cares. Musical diversity and critical acclaim is so overrated.


Lots of people care, lots of people don’t want to listen to an artist who just releases the same sounding stuff over and over again.

As for critical acclaim, I couldn’t give a toss about it either.

Last edited 4 months ago by Martin

“That’s just your opinion”

It’s all about opinions, except if you believe that talent should be measured by success, which would be very dumb.

Speed of Life

Also the version of All The Young Dudes with Ian Hunter and Bowie on vocals on the Mott The Hoople page doesn’t show up on his features.

Speed of Life

Just noticed that a number of Bowie songs have recently been been greyed out on spotify and their totals no longer show on the spotify tool report.They’re all on the albums Platinum Collection and Sound + Vision.
Also for some reason the songs credited to Bowie and the Spider on the Bowie at the Beeb album have a separate artist id??