January 8, 2021, should have marked music legend David Bowie's 74rd birthday. Born in Brixton, London, in 1947, the shape-shifting artist and provocateur was among the most prolific and innovative artists of the 20th century.Tragically, liver cancer cut his life short, with the artist passing away on January 10, 2016.
Bowie and his work transcended genre, veering from glam-rock sex queen to silky smooth Philly soul man to abstract alien from space trapped in a world that he never made. The original rock and roll chameleon, his influence is readily reflected in contemporary music and art.
While Bowie's boundary-pushing was often ahead of the general American public, he was still able to nail the zeitgeist more than once when it came to the charts. He made an impressive showing on the Hot 100 over the years, with a pair of #1 hits, and four more showings in the top 10. Here's a rundown of David Bowie's biggest hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
1. "Fame" (1975)
Fall was in full effect when Bowie topped the US charts for the first time on September 19, 1975, with this funky groove about the peaks and perils of celebrity. Written with John Lennon and guitarist Carlos Alomar, it was the artist's lone #1 over the course of his historic '70s run.
2. "Let's Dance" (1983)
Bowie's second trip to #1 came courtesy of producer Nile Rodgers and guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan. That sonic dream team crafted this monster hit, which peaked on May 20, 1983.
3. "Dancing in the Street" (1985)
Yes, really. Bowie's much maligned duet with Mick Jagger was an actual hit record, hitting #7 on October 11, 1985. It was for a good cause--all proceeds from the track were handed over to the Live Aid famine relief efforts.
4. "Blue Jean" (1984)
Who remembers jazzin' for Blue Jean? This single from Bowie's Tonight album put an '80s spin on classic Eddie Cochran rockabilly, and to impressive results. The track would climb as high as #8 in America on November 2, 1984.
5. "Golden Years" (1976)
After hitting #1 the year prior with "Fame," Bowie grabbed some spirit of '76 to craft this effortlessly cool single. It crashed the top 10, grabbing the #10 spot on April 2, 1976. he would famously perform the tune on the top black music TV show in America, Soul Train.
6. "China Girl" (1983)
Bowie followed up "Let's Dance" with his version of the song he'd written with Iggy Pop for Pop's 1977 solo debut, The Idiot. Bowie's smoothed-out take came with a scenic music video shot in the Chinatown area of Sydney, Australia. Thrown into heavy rotation on MTV, the clip would help propel the song to the #10 slot on the Hot 100.