U2 Retakes Sole Possession of Adult Alternative Airplay No. 1s Record Thanks to ‘Atomic City’

U2 returns to the top of Billboard’s Adult Alternative Airplay chart for the first time since 2017 and pulls ahead of Coldplay for the most leaders in the chart’s history as “Atomic City” jumps from No. 3 to No. 1 on the ranking dated Nov. 18.

The song becomes U2’s 14th No. 1 on Adult Alternative Airplay (which began in 1996; the band formed in the 1970s). The Bono-fronted quartet first ruled with “Staring at the Sun,” a seven-week leader beginning in March 1997. The band had last led with “You’re the Best Thing About Me,” also a seven-frame topper, starting in October 2017.

With 14 rulers, U2 surpasses Coldplay for the most No. 1s in the chart’s history.

Most No. 1s, Adult Alternative Airplay:

  • 14, U2
  • 13, Coldplay
  • 11, Jack Johnson
  • 11, Dave Matthews (solo and with Dave Matthews Band)
  • 8, Death Cab for Cutie
  • 8, John Mayer
  • 7, The Black Keys
  • 7, Counting Crows
  • 7, Sheryl Crow
  • 7, R.E.M.

In between “You’re the Best Thing About Me” and “Atomic City,” U2 appeared on Adult Alternative Airplay with four songs, paced by the No. 3-peaking “Get Out of Your Own Way” in 2017-18.

Concurrently, “Atomic City” rises 18-15 on Alternative Airplay, marking the band’s top-charting song since “Get on Your Boots” peaked at No. 5 in February 2009. The new single also lifts 39-35 on Mainstream Rock Airplay.

On the all-rock-format, audience-based Rock & Alternative Airplay chart, “Atomic City” ranks at No. 9, after reaching No. 5, with 2.9 million audience impressions Nov. 3-9, according to Luminate.

The song is currently a standalone single amid U2’s Las Vegas concert residency. The band’s most recent full-length album of new material, Songs of Experience, was released in December 2017. Songs of Surrender, a collection of re-recordings covering much of U2’s catalog, arrived in March.

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