After topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 14 weeks in 1992, Whitney Houston's heartbreaking parting-ways anthem "I Will Always Love You" is back in the top 10. As of the week ending Feb. 12 (just a day after the singer's death in Beverly Hills on Feb. 11), the single sits at the No. 7 position.
Traditionally, back-catalog singles have been excluded from or deemed ineligible for the Hot 100 chart. Houston’s death, however, is one of a few occasions that has brought about an exception to the rule: Lee Greenwood’s 1984 single “God Bless The USA” and Houston’s own “Star Spangled Banner” performance recording both charted in the Hot 100 after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Billboard chart director Silvio Pietrolungo explained the logic behind the rule-bending inclusion: "As the digital age has progressed, with the immediacy it provides, the line has blurred between the relevancy of new and older recordings, which are for the most part equally accessible from one's home computer." Clearly—Houston’s catalog enjoyed 887,000 individual digital track downloads this week, making a gain of 5,730 percent from the week before.
Houston’s posthumous chart activity, additionally, has inspired Billboard execs to think about changing the rules. "Going forward,” Pietroluongo said, “we feel that it is the proper move to allow older titles posting enough activity to return to the Hot 100 if ranking in the chart's upper half."
Houston’s best-of compilation, Whitney: The Greatest Hits, is also making a comeback. The album currently sits at the No. 6 position in the Billboard 200 albums chart—it moved 64,000 copies in the tracking week ending on Feb. 12, which included sales from only one full day after her death. Her 1986 debut, Whitney Houston, and the soundtrack to The Bodyguard are also in the top 100 of the Billboard albums chart. [via Billboard]
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