Whitney Houston has charted her first posthumous debut on the Billboard Hot 100, as “Higher Love” with Kygo enters in at Number 63.
The song, billed as by Kygo X Whitney Houston and released on RCA Records, is a reworking of Steve Winwood’s anthem, which topped the Hot 100 dated back to August 30th, 1986. The Whitney Houston estate offered Kygo the archival recording of her original cover, which was previously released as a Japan-only bonus track on the physical version of her 1990 album I’m Your Baby Tonight.
The Hot 100 blends all-genre U.S. streaming, radio airplay and digital sales data. All charts (dated July 13) will update on Billboard.com July 9th.
The remake also enters the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart at Number 2. It launched at No. 4 on the all-genre Digital Song Sales survey with 24,000 first-week downloads sold, according to Nielsen Music, while sporting 6.6 million U.S. streams and 1.3 million airplay audience impressions.
Houston tragically died on February 11th, 2012, at the age of 48. “Higher Love” marks her first Hot 100 debut since “Million Dollar Bill” spent a week at No. 100 on September 19th, 2009. In between, Houston last appeared on the Hot 100 just after her passing, led by her 14-week 1992-93 No. 1 “I Will Always Love You,” which spent three weeks on the chart, at Number 7, 3 and 30 over three weeks in February and March 2012. Her 1987 No. 1 “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” also returned in 2012, reaching No. 25, as did her 1986 leader “How Will I Know” (No. 49).
Overall, “Higher Love” marks Houston’s 40th charted Hot 100 title. She boasts 11 Number 1’s, the seventh-best sum in the chart’s 60 year history.
Kygo collects his sixth Hot 100 hit (all collaborations with vocalists). He has risen highest with “It Ain’t Me,” with Selena Gomez (No. 10, May 2017).
“We knew Kygo would be the right producer to enhance Whitney’s vocal performance on ‘Higher Love’ to the standards and expectations that [her] fans have recognized for over three decades,” said Houston’s sister-in-law Pat Houston. “The resurgence of this archival performance will carry Whitney’s musical legacy to a younger generation. [It’s] a testament to Kygo’s incredible talent, and a reminder of why we fell in love with Whitney.”
“I saw the email about if I could make this work, and I ran to my studio and tried to produce around this amazing vocal,” Kygo subsequently told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “This is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a collaboration I never thought was going to happen, so I just had to make it as good as I can.”
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