Seven years after her death, the pop diva has landed her first new single on the American chart in 10 years
Whitney Houston is (once again) dancing with somebody on the Billboard Hot 100.
Seven years after her death, the pop diva has landed her first new single on the American chart in 10 years with her posthumous Kygo collaboration “Higher Love” — a previously unreleased rework of her 1990 cover of Steve Winwood’s 1986 hit, featuring contemporary electronic production. It debuts at No. 63 on the publication’s weekly ranking of the nation’s most commercially successful songs.
Chart placements are made after Billboard measures data from streaming, radio airplay, and digital sales from the week of June 28-July 5, during which “Higher Love” sold 24,000 first-week downloads, logged 6.6 million streams, and registered 1.3 million audience impressions on the radio, per Billboard.
The superstar’s dance-heavy collaboration with the Norwegian DJ marks her first Hot 100 debut since 2009, when the Swizz Beatz- and Alicia Keys-produced single “Million Dollar Bill” — the final single from I Look To You, Houston’s last full-length album before her death — premiered at No. 100.
“Higher Love” is Houston’s 40th overall entry on the Hot 100. She has accrued 23 top 10 hits — 11 of which rocketed to No. 1 — since dropping her first single, “Hold Me” (a collaboration with Teddy Pendergrass), in 1984.
According to Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law and sole executor of her estate, the revived cover of “Higher Love” is the first of multiple musical projects on deck, including a potential Broadway musical, a new album, and a hologram tour titled An Evening With Whitney.
“Before she passed, there was so much negativity around the name; it wasn’t about the music anymore,” Pat Houston told the New York Times of enlivening the singer’s legacy. “People had forgotten how great she was. They let all the personal things about her life outweigh why they fell in love with her in the first place.”
Elsewhere on this week’s Billboard Hot 100, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” leads at No. 1 for the 14th week; that’s two weeks shy of matching the record for most weeks at the top spot — a title shared by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s 2017 single “Despacito,” featuring Justin Bieber, and Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men’s 1995 release “One Sweet Day. And Lizzo earns her first top 10 hit as “Truth Hurts” climbs from No. 11 to No. 6.
Billboard will release the full Hot 100 update Tuesday.