Blackstar, which was released two days before Bowie's death on 10 January from a secret battle with cancer, debuted at number one on the Billboard album chart for the week through to Thursday.
Amid the outpouring of mourning after his death, Bowie not only scored his first US number one album but became a rare artist to have two in the top five, with his greatest hits collection Best of Bowie, released in 2002, hitting number four.
Blackstar had immediately won critical acclaim for its experimentalism as the long-reinventing artist developed a hard jazz sound.
His death threw a whole new light on Blackstar as it emerged that he intended the album as a final artistic statement, full of meditative reflections on a half-century on the cutting edge of music.
Especially poignant was the video for Lazarus as Bowie levitates from a hospital bed and returns into a dark closet.
Bowie spent the final two decades of his life living in New York and has said that his first love was African American music, especially funk and soul.
Yet while Bowie cast a huge influence over US pop culture, he was generally considered an avant-garde artist and did not achieve the same mainstream success as in his native Britain.
Blackstar also opened at number one in Britain, where it was Bowie's 10th chart-topping album.
In the United States, Bowie had gone to number two with his previous album, The Next Day, in 2013 and reached number four with his pop-driven Let's Dance in 1983.
Blackstar wrested number one from fellow British singer Adele's blockbuster 25, which had topped the chart for seven weeks.
Blackstar sold 181 000 copies or their digital equivalent, tracking service Nielsen Music said.
The strong performance of Best of Bowie came largely through purchases or streaming of individual hits, which accounted for about half of the equivalent sales.
Also re-entering the charts was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Bowie's science-fiction concept album that was at number 21 last week, far higher than it charted after its release in 1972.