“Distance,” Wolfgang Van Halen’s tribute to his late father Eddie, soars onto multiple Billboard charts dated Nov. 28, including at No. 1 on Hot Hard Rock Songs.
Credited to his band Mammoth WVH, “Distance,” released Nov. 16, bows with 826,000 U.S. streams and 13,000 downloads sold in the week ending Nov. 19, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. The song also gleaned 1.6 million airplay audience impressions in the radio tracking week ending Nov. 22.
Those metrics spark the song’s launch atop Hot Hard Rock Songs (which began in June). Wolfgang, 29, follows Eddie, whose iconic band Van Halen topped the lists dated Oct. 17, 24 and 31 with “Jump,” following the guitarist’s Oct. 6 death at 65.
“Distance” also bows at No. 9 on the likewise multi-metric Hot Rock & Alternative Songs tally and opens at Nos. 1 and 2 on the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales and Rock Digital Song Sales rankings, respectively.
“I am beyond humbled by the response to ‘Distance,’” Wolfgang, who also wrote the song, tells Billboard. “I can’t believe that it’s appearing on all of these charts so soon after release. The fact that so many have embraced the song and video shows how much we have in common in the love and respect we have for my father. I just wish he was here to see it. Thank you so much to everyone who’s listening and also to my whole team who has worked so hard to make this a reality.”
While the song’s music video, which features home movies and video footage of the father and son together, drove much of the attention for “Distance,” a formidable part of its metrics for the week came from radio, as the track debuts at No. 20 on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart and at No. 32 on the all-rock-format, audience-based Rock Airplay survey. The band Van Halen is one of the top-performing acts on the former tally since the list began in 1981, with 13 No. 1s, tied for third-most all-time. (Wolfgang played bass and added vocals on Van Halen’s two most recent Mainstream Rock Songs entries: “Tattoo” and “She’s the Woman,” both from the band’s last studio album, 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth.)
“Distance” also received enough airplay, sales and streams to debut at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100’s Bubbling Under chart.