The song (billed as by Kygo X Whitney Houston and released on RCA Records) reworks Steve Winwood’s anthem, which topped the Hot 100 dated Aug. 30, 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 tomorrow (July 9).
The remake also enters the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart (which employs the same methodology as the Hot 100) at No. 2. It launches 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 died on Feb. 11, 2012, at age 48. “Higher Love” marks her first Hot 100 debut since “Million Dollar Bill” spent a week at No. 100 on Sept. 19, 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 Nos. 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 No. 1s, the seventh-best sum in the chart’s six-decade history, among 23 top 10s.
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).