January 6, 2013

The global top selling albums of all time

Bill Wyman, the rock critic not the retired Rolling Stones bassist, has a list of global sales of albums compiled by French music sales nerd Guillaume Vieira:

1. Michael Jackson, “Thriller”: 66,200,000
2. Soundtrack, “Grease”: 44,700,000
3. Pink Floyd, “The Dark Side of the Moon”: 44,200,000
4. Whitney Houston et al., “The Bodyguard”: 38,600,000
5. The Bee Gees at al., “Saturday Night Fever”: 37,200,000
6. The Eagles, “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975”: 36,900,000
7. Bob Marley, “Legend”: 36,800,000
8. Led Zeppelin, “IV”: 35,700,000
9. AC/DC, “Back in Black”: 35,700,000
10. Shania Twain, “Come on Over”: 35,400,000
11. Michael Jackson, “Bad”: 34,700,000
12. Soundtrack, “Dirty Dancing”: 33,300,000
13. Dire Straits, “Brothers in Arms”: 33,200,000
14. Alanis Morissette, “Jagged Little Pill”: 33,200,000
15. Fleetwood Mac, “Rumours”: 33,000,000
16. The Beatles, “1”: 32,400,000
17. Pink Floyd, “The Wall”: 31,900,000
18. ABBA, “Gold”: 31,400,000
19. Guns N’ Roses, “Appetite for Destruction”: 30,800,000
20. Simon & Garfunkel, “Greatest Hits”: 30,700,000
21. Queen, “Greatest Hits”: 30,600,000
22. Celine Dion, “Let’s Talk About Love”: 30,300,000
23. Michael Jackson, “Dangerous”: 30,200,000
24. Celine Dion, “Falling into You”: 30,200,000
25. The Eagles, “Hotel California”: 30,000,000
26. Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.”: 29,100,000
27. Metallica, “Metallica”: 28,900,000
28. Meat Loaf, “Bat Out of Hell”: 28,700,000
29. Soundtrack, “Titanic”: 28,500,000
30. The Beatles, “Abbey Road”: 28,300,000

Let's see, I own the Bob Marley, the Dire Straits, the Beatle's "1", the Springsteen, and the Meat Loaf. There are lots of of stuff I wouldn't mind owning such as the Eagles, Simon Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, Zep, and "Abbey Road."

When I moved to Chicago in 1982, I sold some of my albums to a used record shop. Interestingly, the owner was very offended that I wasn't keeping James Brown "Live at the Apollo" which he gave me a good price for. But he refused to buy or even take for free my Queen albums. He said his bins were full of Queen albums that nobody wanted. Obviously, much has changed in the view of Queen.

Every single album on the list is primarily in English, even the Celine Dion and ABBA stuff made by a French Canadian and Swedes. Wyman asks his source about a non-Anglosphere breakout:
What about China or India, I asked—could a Jackson-size phenom emerge from either country, each with a population far bigger than that of the United States? 
Definitely nothing crazy happening in China and India. Despite massive number of inhabitants their markets are pretty weak, similar to Australia or lower. 
In the golden age of the nineties, some local acts reached sales of three or four million in China, like their “local Michael Jackson” Jacky Cheung, with “The Goodbye Kiss” (arguably the best-selling album ever in continental Asia), and around two million in India, but those are the best-selling albums ever there.

The Anglosphere remains dominant in pop culture.

158 comments:

rwcg said...

I don't think anything has changed re: Queen, used Queen is still a dime a dozen (last I checked, which admittedly was years ago now since I don't buy physical albums).

All those used albums your record store guy was talking about we're purchased by someone new hence contributed to the overall number. One path to becoming a top seller in fact is to convince way more people to buy your album than will realistically end up wanting to listen to it.

I always think of my days in the "Columbia Record & Tape Club" picking 12 albums for a penny if I promise to buy 5 more or whatever. Maybe from their catalogue I find 7 I really want so now I have to pick 5 others that seem safe/non-wasted choices. Let's see: Journey's Greatest Hits, Eagles Greatest Hits, ABBA Gold....

This is how, I'm convinced, a lot of people ended up with those albums. And certain Queen albums too. And then selling them to a record store. Others you saw a lot in record stores (late 90s): REM Monster, Gin Blossoms, Soul Asylum....again the conclusion to draw from this is not that no one likes those bands but that the albums outperformed in new sales.

Something like Bob Marley would probably be an exception that proves the rule, because a lot of the college kids who overbuy Marley when going through their pot phase will probably never sell the albums back because that would make them feel racist. So you didnt see nearly as much used Marley as used Eagles, and this makes total sense.




Anonymous said...

2. Soundtrack, “Grease”: 44,700,000

5. The Bee Gees at al., “Saturday Night Fever”: 37,200,000


Weren't we just talking about Travolta in the Tarantino thread?

The guy might be an L-Ron-Hubbard-influenced bisexual creep, but that's a pretty dadgum impressive resume.

PS: If you can crank up a copy of Excel, and add a third column, for "year of release of album", then you're gonna see some pretty horrifying effects of dysgenic fertility and the collapse of the "culture".

Even among the more recent stuff, you've got the Whitney Houston album from 1992, Shania Twain album from 1997, the Alanis Morissette album from 1995: folks, that stuff is like TWO DECADES ago!

That's "Mommy music" for kids these days!!!

Anonymous said...

With English being the de facto universal second language for those for whom it is not their native tongue, the global dominance of English language popular culture is not going to end anytime soon.

Nick - South Africa

Carol said...

After years of immersion in jazz, I recently started listening to hard rock & metal, and was surprised by all the old stuff the supposedly top 40 hits station was playing - old ACDC, Pearl Jam and Nirvana from 20 years ago, old Metallica, Drowning Pool, Alice in Chains..usually bands with lead singers long dead. Such is the life. Do the kidz really go for their parents' music that much?

I guess there are plenty of new artists but they seem to be cranked out like sausages, Nashville-style.

Anonymous said...

"The anglo-sphere remains dominant". Probably true, but I don't think this is a good way to show it. I don't think any of those albums post-date 2000, and the large majority are pre-1990. "The anglo-sphere was dominant 20 years ago when people were buying albums" certainly is true.

FWIW: the most watched Youtube music video currently is a Korean pop-song.

dearieme said...

So basically it's a lot of crap plus the Beatles.

dearieme said...

Or am I being too hard on S&G and Bob Marley?

Steve Richter said...

who pays for music in India or China?

sword said...

At what spot in the top album made by artists that are Asian or Hispanic?

Anonymous said...

American commercial cultural hegemony grows only more global. This is Hegel's world geist acting, the first time as tragedy, afterwards comedy.

world music, Malian, Arab,others survive

Anonymous said...

Is it fair to judge Anglo dominance on the basis of sales of record albums? Even the name is dated. They were albums, then CDs, now . . . what? Not for nothing almost all of the albums here are from sixties through, at best, the eighties. I think you are right about Anglo dominance--I am not aware of that many phenoms from around the world, Gangnam notwithstanding. But albums seem like a note great measure.

Anonymous said...

OT: funny insane pic on drudge now showing Putin greeting Gerard Depardieu ... It's a lovefest!

The actor got Russian citizenship ... the only problem is that Putin is the kind of guy who slips a plutonium micro bomb into your drink for spectacular effect.

"Bonjour, Killer!"

Anonymous said...

Well, back when records, cassettes and CDs were still relevant technologies, China was poor. And now that it's not so poor anymore, the Internet has made records, cassettes and CDs obsolete. YouTube views and tour grosses are more relevant metrics for current music.

Britannia rules the airwaves said...

In my own very biased English opinion, in terms of popular music, the musically talented nations from outside the Anglosphere include the Dutch, the Scandies and the Germans.

The Spanish and Portuguese speaking nations, in particular Brazil, seem to have a lot of talented individuals and are often good at knocking out tunes of their own particular styles which have traction elsewhere. For example, Salsa music and dancing has been very popular in the UK.

So, Western European cultures rule the popular music world with the Anglosphere very much on top.

In the UK we get an entertaining TV program every year called the Eurovision Song Contest. I don't think anyone in the UK takes this seriously and most Brits tune in to laugh at the foreigners feeble and hilarious attempts to create a hit tune and act.

Lots of tactical voting goes on and invariably the foreigners gang up on the British although we very kindly always have a rubbish entry just to give them a chance, whereas the foreign nations will often have their song sung by the biggest star they currently have.

One of the striking things about this show is that it seems the further you get away from North West Europe (and countries such as Israel, Turkey and Azerbaijan take part) the more mental the 'music' and stage acts become.

This is all very strange when you consider how much great Russian classical music there is.

Nathan said...

What's really amazing is that most of those are over 20 years old.

kiev said...

No Stones? That's wierd

Anonymous said...

album sales is a moribund indicator, though. In the post-Napster age, no one actually *buys* albums anymore. In youtube views, a good-enough-for-now metric, Gangham Style, Girl's Generation etc do very well (South Korea) and various Spanish language "raeggaton" acts do very well, too.
(Also, album sales caught on too late to catch *tremendously* popular world acts like Edith Piaf or all the early oprah-ists, back when opera was mass-entertainment. In, say, 1920 I bet you anything more people were listening to music in Italian or German or Latin than in English on a recorded medium)

chucho said...

I've bought and sold LPs over the years on ebay, and if there's one truth in that trade it's that you will always see much higher prices in international auctions than purely domestic ones. It never fails to amaze me that people in Asia, Eastern/Southern Europe, etc will fork over huge sums for US rock and jazz LPs.

Anonymous said...

Queen are a big band everywhere but in the US. Though they're slowly gaining in followers here.

Anonymous said...

10.5 American (Fleetwood Mac is the .5)
8.5 British (Fleetwood Mac is the .5)
4.0 Canadian (Dion, Twain and Morissette)
1.0 Australian (ACDC)
1.0 Jamaican (Marley)
1.0 Swedish (ABBA)

The other 4.0 are soundtracks that are hard to classify with a country, though I guess we should get "Dirty Dancing" to ourselves at least.

Anonymous said...

for one thing, china is capital of piracy.

little red book was a big hit there.

Anonymous said...

"Definitely nothing crazy happening in China and India."

i duuno.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSPvvVfcoAw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrNoFeCajk0

Anonymous said...

psy beat them all utube

Anonymous said...

brits are not hitting the charts anymore

Anonymous said...

no mudonna? no rap?

DCThrowback said...

Like steroids/non-steroids, pre and post Napster comparisons need to be made. Shania and Alanis Morrisette are the two most recent and those are around 15 years old. Of course those 70s acts would complain that everyone in the 80s and early 90s owed a debt to MTV, etc.

How does one even count the popularity of something like Psy's "gangnam style"? Obviously you need a composite score, including youtube views.

Anonymous said...

is anglo domination due to quality or power of promotion via media? grease came with the movie.

lots of albums on the list sucks. the top beatles album is '1'?
that is lame.
huston and dion but no stones or beach boys?

there are lots of great black music in africa, latin america, francophone black world, but only anglophone stuff is on the list?

lots of fantastic french pop but none on the list. it's like shitty hollywood movies the alltime boxoffice lists.

Anonymous said...

No Rolling Stones albums?

No Elvis?

Anonymous said...

The anglosphere is blessed to set the tone for global culture

Nick Diaz said...


"The Anglosphere remains dominant in pop culture"

Of course, since albums and films require Money to be made, and the Aglosphere has had more Money than everybody else since 1800, first with theBritish Empire and latter with the U.S. Do you really think other non-Anglo countries couldn't make Hollywood junk if they had the Money and CGI expertise for it? There is almost NO acting/storytelling skills behind those junks.

And the Anglosphere is not as dominant as you think. I read a statistic from Brazil that 80% of the sales of records as well as 90% of T.V programs watched are national. I am sure this is true in many other countries.


But the Anglosphere

Anonymous said...

In my experience every third world market has huge numbers of conveniently located CD, movie, and video game pirate copy stores. In fact 95% of the time I saw these items for sale, they were illegal copies. Only the rare US style department stores would have authorized copies, for five times as much.

Anonymous said...

I'd have expected sales to follow Zipf's law (i.e., #2, #3, and #4 having half, a third, and a quarter the sales of #1, and so on) but in fact the curve is very flat, with a whole whack of albums selling around 32 million +/- 15%.

Cennbeorc

Dan said...

You only need to sell one album in China and CD burners will meet the remainder of the demand.

Anonymous said...

Take out Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Bob Marley, and that list is all white. Also, there's nothing from this century.

mel belli said...

Nobody noticed how Steve signaled his non-SWPLness? Know anyone else who would admit to owning a Meatloaf album?

TontoBubbaGoldstein said...

Take out Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Bob Marley, and that list is all white.

What do you mean "Take out Michael Jackson..."?
There was no early Jackson 5 album listed.

Anonymous said...

Take out Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Bob Marley, and that list is all white. Also, there's nothing from this century.

Albums don't sell anymore, good music is also dead.

Modern music is about self-gratification.

Anonymous said...

"Take out Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Bob Marley, and that list is all white. Also, there's nothing from this century."

Extend it to top 100 albums, and there will be lots of blacks. Btw, I'm surprised by Marley's high ranking. I guess there are lots of white college kids.

Anonymous said...

"Also, there's nothing from this century."

It's hard to measure music sales in this century because of the revolution in online sales and piracy. If Thriller came out now, I figure far fewer people would buy it. They would just share it and burn it. Or just go online to listen to it.

I mostly use youtube to listen to music, most of it french pop songs.

Anonymous said...

"Take out Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Bob Marley, and that list is all white."

Didn't Jackson die a white man?

Anonymous said...

Why is it that in music, even liberals are so musically 'jingoistic'? Educated liberals take pride in watching foreign film and eating foreign dishes. But when it comes to music, all they care about is English language rock and some afro-jamaican stuff. Even the latin stuff they like is afro-influenced. They don't care for Mexican music and Bolivian indian music.
60s generation was into raga, but when was the last time anyone was interested in a sitar, even an electric one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5CkigqO7aY

Some people go for David Byrne, a fusion guy of world music, but still, it's music from around the world filtered by an english speaking american guy.

some might say that other nations imitate american pop, but american pop itself has turned into such a pomo formula that it's difficult to think of any american or english pop star who was original in the way Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach, Dylan, Lennon, Jagger, Young, Dead, Doors, and etc in their day.
Lady gaga is no more original than her 'imitators' in Europe or Asia.

In a way, given the rise of neo-idolism, it seems like america has been adopting the formula of euro-pop and j-pop.

American pop used to take pride in individuality and originality, but those words, like 'genius', are considered with disdain now.
it's all about clever marketing, hype, and promotion. creativity is less about creative creation than about creative blending of pre-existing formulas. and instead of personality, we have archetypality. dylan was uniquely dylan and hendrix was uniquely hendrix, stevie nicks was uniquely stevie nicks, and janis joplin was uniquely janis joplin, but all the new guys fall into broad categories such as 'badass ni--a', 'skankass ho', 'alternative rock dweeb', etc.

and Tarantino's movies are the same. nothing original about them. just pomo cinematic idolism.

Anonymous said...

I love much of classic rock but I must say I'm beatled out, dylaned out, stoned out, deaded out, doored out, byrded out, and etc.
The only way I can enjoy their music is by catching it on radio while driving. the element of randomness makes them fun.

only rock/pop albums i still enjoy are pet sounds AND shapes and patterns(swing out sister). I guess one never outgrows beauty.
lately, i really get a kick out of cady grove's Life of a Pirate album. That was really fresh, from the heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goihMCl1QRU

Lion of the Blogosphere said...

Grease was a pretty good soundtrack. And the only musical movie I recall fondly, until Les Miserables (which I probably wouldn't have liked as a kid).

Anonymous said...

Surprised Queen is not higher, Beetles are not higher.

ATBOTL said...

What percentage of French people are descended from European immigrants?

anony-mouse said...

Paul McCartney is on the album at the bottom of that list.

And on the album at the top.

Anonymous said...

"Grease was a pretty good soundtrack."

From 1977 to 1979, SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, GREASE, and DONNA SUMMER were the music of my life.

I must have heard 'hopeless devoted to you', 'sandy', 'how deep is your love', 'more than a woman', 'last dance' a million times. And after my dad took me to see Hair, I begged him to buy me the album and it was my fav album. He told me it was pretty sucky presentation of the 60s, indeed nothing like he remembered. and soon, I got into proper 60s rock.

I still like the song Frank Mills though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRpXVvOJ8ZY

nooffensebut said...

In the 90s, most talented artists, especially experimental artists, would have been ashamed to be on such a list. Napster and rap also ended the notion of "sell-out" (or changed it to a synonym of Uncle Tom). There is an anachronistic quality to that kind of elitism, but upon seeing this list, I sure would like to bring some of it back.

Education Realist said...

Interesting to compare to US only sales http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_albums_in_the_United_States

In the US, Michael Jackson was on top from 1983 to the late 90s, with the Eagles Greatest Hits in second place. In the late 90s, the Eagles passed it up and stayed on top until 2009, when Jackson's death led to a renewed burst in Thriller purchases and it passed up the Eagles again. I expect the Eagles to end up #1 again, as they have a wider audience base in the US. In terms of certified copies, the Eagles are still #2, globally, but "claimed sales" are what's used.

This methodology gives some double albums a 2:1 count, and others just one. It appears that the list you use does not.

In general, 70s music holds up very well today, which is why you see Eagles, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, SN Fever (disco, even!), and relatively few 80s or 60s bands.

Anonymous said...

"Know anyone else who would admit to owning a Meatloaf album?"

I have that album. I got it through columbia record club, the one where they sent you 12 free albums for a penny and then harassed you to keep buying new stuff for the next 2 yrs.

Anonymous said...

fwiw, bob marley had a white scottish father

Steve Sailer said...

MR. LOAF to you.

Peter the Shark said...

The "Grease" soundtrack? Really? Popular in the US I guess, but I've lived all over the world, and I never got the impression that Grease had much popularity outside the US. It must have moved a ton of vinyl when the movie first came out.

Actually this list seems very America-centric despite being "global" and makes me suspect that far more albums have been sold in North America per capita over the last 50 years than in the rest of the world combined. But that is not surprising.

Steve Sailer said...

Mexican-American teens today love the movie "Grease."

jack strocchi said...

Steve Sailer said:

The Anglosphere remains dominant in pop culture.

Well there is Gangham Stlye...but I guess that joke song is the exception that proves your rule.

I would qualify it by adding "global" to the phrase "pop culture". There are multitudes of national pop cultures out there in BRICA land. But they mostly get expressed in locally made and distributed soap operas and cheezy B-Grade movies, which don't travel well in the global lingua franca.

I dont see Bollywood or martial arts flicks supplanting Hollywood anytime soon.

But, yeah, there is only one global pop culture, and for that matter only one global toff culture, and both of them come courtesy of the countries that lie between or around the Baltic and Mediterranean seas.

This is going to be a continuing source of friction in a world where the global motto is "celebrate diversity".

dirk said...

Since none of these albums were released in the past decade, I don't see how germane this list is to the question of anglo hegemony. All it shows is that the album is dead.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Dire Straits/Brothers in Arms is in there that high.

The Onion:

BOSTON—The American Council of College Administrators (ACCA) met Monday to discuss an emergency ban on the Bob Marley greatest-hits compilation Legend. "The situation grows more severe by the day," University of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman told her fellow administrators. "At any given moment in Ann Arbor, it's impossible to walk down any street where there is undergraduate housing without hearing 'Get Up Stand Up' coming from five different porches." The ban would be the ACCA's first since a 1993 act restricting access to The Beastie Boys' Check Your Head.

Sideways said...

who pays for music in India or China?

Which is basically all that needs to be asked to know when their domestic markets will produce a global best seller to go on this list.

Anonymous said...

Presumably, most of these albums were bought in English speaking countries. Shania Twain is ranked 10th. Few people have heard of her outside of North America, let alone like her music.

Sideways said...

What's really amazing is that most of those are over 20 years old.

MP3s started getting popular in 1998 and Napster made rampant music piracy mainstream in 99. That's 15-14 years ago now.

what I'd like to know is just how far down that list the first entry made in the last 10 years would be

Am I missing any, or is Hotel California the only song there that put two albums on the list?

Anonymous said...

The "album" is an obsolete unit of measure. You must measure by "song" "piece"or "unit". Don't feel sorry for the "record" industry; digital sales cost virtually nothing yielding pure profit once the artist is paid. Don't feel sorry for the consumer who doesn't have to buy a bunch of clunkers to hear two or three quality songs.
The site needs to appeal to a younger crowd to get a pulse of what is cool now. Maybe some of the kids can post quick read bar codes on some college dorm bulletin boards to spread the word about HBD. My interest in music has waned with age, but the alternative and indie music I hear now really appeals to me, but I have too many distractions to pursue the interest. Who really cares if our Anglo-American style maintains its world dominance? Our music is For Us By Us to reflect on our culture.

Anonymous said...

Forgive me, but I don't believe these numbers. Pink Floyd (I actually love Dark Side of the Moon) outsold the Beatles? Sorry. Don't buy it. I don't buy that Alanis Morissette did as well as this list claims.

Frankly, I'd need to see hard evidence in support of this. These numbers are made up.

Anonymous said...

"Don't feel sorry for the consumer who doesn't have to buy a bunch of clunkers to hear two or three quality songs."

You could always buy singles or record off the radio if you only wanted hit tunes.

Album was instrumental in the development of rock as an art form. Instead of focusing on good songs here and there, 60s rockers thought in terms of overall concept, shape, meaning, and chemistry. The songs on PET SOUNDS work beautifully together.
And BLONDE ON BLONDE are all of one piece, just like JOHN WESLEY HARDING is.
And I wouldn't wanna mix ABBEY ROAD songs with RUBBER SOUL songs.

Even today, some bands work brilliantly with album format. Cold Play's RUSH OF BLOOD TO THE HEAD and X&Y are great albums--though I wanna punch those pc dweebs in the face.

Demographics is destiny said...

It isn't called "Geezer Rock" for nothing.

Whiskey said...

No Elvis or Sinatra? Something is not right there. By all rights those two should be "flying to the moon" in total aggregate unit sales. If not inflation adjusted dollars.

Anonymous said...

Movies have become less albumlike--unified by idea, concept, story, plot, theme--and more like hit song like. LOTR and TRANSFORMERS are like a series of MTV music videogames.

Anonymous said...

Why did you get rid of your Queen, Steve? IMO there are few albums that bear more repeated listening than those of Queen. Even the albums you would have had back in the early 80s would have probably been good. They've done far more than just the "Greatest Hits" - albums such as Queen II are great with nary a dud song, but only one song from that album was chosen for the Greatest Hits albums.

Anonymous said...

What on earth are you talking about? LOTR not unified? In what way?

Anonymous said...

Bob Marley had a white scottish father? That could explain why reggae music sounded better when played on bag pipes.

Anonymous said...

"Know anyone else who would admit to owning a Meatloaf album?"


Sure. Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

What's really amazing is that most of those are over 20 years old.


That's not amazing, it's commonsense. You don't get to the 30 million records sold mark in a few years, or in a decade. Those albums are where they are because they have sold in large numbers for a long period of time. I'm sure they still sell well today.

Anonymous said...

I've known Americans who knocked Queen as a "gay band". Which would be fair enough - if these same people were not fans of genuinely gay bands like the B-52's. It's odd.

Anonymous said...

Albums might have a theme, but artists are wise enough to tailor the song lengths to radio play.
"Tommy" had some great tunes, but I can't picture ever listening to the whole album(s). Not hearing "Fiddle About" poses no risk to the culture.
I really don't pine for the old tunes of my youth, I much prefer exploring new genres on Pandora.
But don't count me an aging hipster, in March, I will be at Lincoln Center listening to the incomparable Mass in B minor and I'm sure the chorus will be laughing inside while watching the tears stream down my cheeks.

Tony said...

The British having more than 25% of the top 30 is pretty amazing when you think about it. Compared to the size of the population they are way ahead of any other country.

anony-mouse said...

Hotel California is not the only song on more than one of these albums.

There's also, from both Abbey Road and Beatles '1':

Something
Come Together

Matra said...

No Elvis or Sinatra? Something is not right there

I don't know about Sinatra but throughout the 70s and 80s there were so many Elvis greatest hits collections it would've been difficult for just one to make it to the top seller list as they all competed against each other. The Rolling Stones would have a similar problem, though I would've thought Hot Rocks 1964-71 would be close to being on the list. Also, the Stones don't have an obvious best (or rather, most commercial) studio album like Back in Black, Appetite for Destruction, or Thriller but lots of different ones (Exile on Main Street, Beggar's Banquet, Some Girls, Sticky Fingers) that could be called their best so, like with Elvis, they're sales would be divided between too many albums.

Anonymous said...

Bob Marley had a white scottish father?

Not quite. His father was half English, half Ashkenazi Jew. So you can say that Bob Marley was 25% Scot-Irish :-)


Anonymous said...

The best selling singles are much more interesting and varied. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_singles
The best selling artists are pretty much what you'd expect.

Sam R. said...

Maybe, but K-pop Girl Dance Squads are alot more enjoyable to watch...

Gand said...

I agree with some of the other posters on this page. I don't know if this way of listing popularity holds anymore. It may be true that these are the top albums of all time, but albums (and record stores) have been dying for over a decade. No one really buys albums anymore. Maybe singles would be a better way to judge? Even then, top selling may no longer= most popular. A huge # of people, including me, listened (for free) to Gangnam Style, but its not really the sort of thing I'd pay for to listen repeatedly to on my IPOD.

Ken the Hand said...

"Nick Diaz said...

...Of course, since albums and films require Money to be made, and the Aglosphere has had more Money than everybody else since 1800, first with theBritish Empire and latter with the U.S...."

And I guess that was just all handed to them by magic? There is a reason why more people buy from the anglosphere, and it isn't just that there is more $. If that were the case Luxembourg and Singapore would be putting out more hits than the UK or US per capita. Its the same reason why everyone the world over has copied the west. Mexico is plenty prosperous enough- at least the average Mexican today has a higher standard of living than the average American had during the early days of Hollywood rising to prominence in the world.

agnostic said...

Music from the past decade is already kicking the bucket. From the NY Post:

"A hefty dose of nostalgia last year led to a 32.7 percent jump in sales of music recorded during the decade that gave us synth pop and big shoulder pads.

While it’s no surprise that sales of music from the current decade are up 29 percent, songs from the 2000s fell 18.2 percent in 2012, according to Nielsen, which keeps track of the top-selling decades based on digital track sales."

'80s are up, 2000s are down -- so even in 10 or 20 years, the 2000s will still not have many, or any, mega-sellers on the list.

The only decent music was that new wave / post-punk revival stuff from the middle of the decade. But as fun as it was, it just makes you want to listen to the real thing instead of the revival.

agnostic said...

"The best selling singles are much more interesting and varied."

The concentration within decades shows the opposite pattern that we see for albums, where it was mostly the '60s through the '80s. With singles, there are a bunch of mega-sellers from the mid-century (after the Jazz Age, before the Sixties), and the past 20 years.

The '80s has the fewest mega-selling singles, probably because there were so many awesome one-hit wonders at the time, that no one of them or even a handful of them would scoop up the lion's share of single sales.

Everywhere I've looked through compilation CDs, the '80s are always the most represented. For the '50s or the 2000s, there are fewer great songs to begin with, and even those are usually by a small number of artists, and so can be put onto a few greatest hits albums.

But to enjoy the full '80s experience, you need dozens of compilation albums for all the one-hit wonders. Just think how easy it is to make several CDs with just power ballads, with just arena rock anthems, with just saxophone solo songs. Let alone broader ones like "dance hits".

Can you imagine filling that many CDs with musically related stuff from the '90s or 2000s? Or the '40s or '50s? Maybe a few, but nowhere near as many as you'd need to capture the diversity of '80s awesomeness.

Steve Sailer said...

Okay, but why did 80s groups burn out so fast?

Cocaine?

Anonymous said...

"Okay, but why did 80s groups burn out so fast?"

REM, U2, Bon Jovi, and etc didn't burn out that fast.
And lots of bands in 60s and 70s didn't last long either.

Anonymous said...

What is so anglo about anglosphere? Did anyone see the opening of the London Olympics?

Education Realist said...

Pink Floyd (I actually love Dark Side of the Moon) outsold the Beatles?

Dark Side of the Moon charted for 15 years. Anyone who doesn't know that little factoid probably should retire from the conversation skulking with his tail between his legs.

Okay, but why did 80s groups burn out so fast?

I don't know that they did.

Groups/singers that started in the 80s, in no particular order:

Bon Jovi
U2 (technically founded in the 70s but first album in 1980)
REM
Metallica
Guns n Roses, but I'm not sure they had such a long relevant shelf life.
Red Hot Chile Peppers (ditto)
Aerosmith's reformation
Bryan Adams
Phil Collins (solo)
Don Henley (solo)
Janet Jackson
Whitney Houston

Svigor said...

I think the best a breakout Chinese act could hope for would be 1.2 billion illegal downloads by Chinese nationals.

Anonymous said...

Many of the 80s artist were probably the youngest sons of the baby boom generation and many probably had a few older brothers. So if you buy into the having older brothers makes you gay theory, the bands probably suffered for a lack of leadership. It also explains the incredible production of synth pop masterpieces. Sensitivity is a great attribute for a musician/songwriter but not for a bandleader.
It also explains the whole ethereal, androgynous style of the era.
If you ever watch any of those where-are-they-now shows the New Romantic bands just seemed to wilt, the way beautiful flowers do.
The break-ups were probably due to spats rather than ODs.

agnostic said...

I think Steve's referring to how many one-hit wonders there were in the '80s, like why didn't they last longer than just one song?

I don't see it so much as burning out fast as only having had the potential for one great song to begin with.

They must've tried hard with the other songs on the album, or previous albums before they hit it big, and on any attempts at a follow-up album. But, as revealed by audience reactions, it turns out that they only had one good song in them.

It seems like a sign of the decade's ambition that so many one-hit wonder groups actually said, "Hey dudes, let's go for it!" If they only got one hit, no big whoop, and if they got more, then so much the better.

Within the past 20 years, young people have gotten more risk-averse. There are individuals and groups who could've thrown together a decent single, but were afraid of failure and wussed out. Same thing with the Silent Generation as youngsters during the mid-century.

agnostic said...

Art Deco was another age of the one-hit wonder. Tell me without looking it up -- who designed the Chrysler Building? Or the Empire State Building? Or name your favorite local Deco example, like the LeVeque Tower in Columbus, Ohio.

Those are some of the most famous buildings in world history, and not only can nobody name their architects, they wouldn't even recognize their names once they were told. It's not like, "Oh, that was by Frank Lloyd Wright, well I'll be..."

Contrast that with the hegemony of pompous "starchitects" during the mid-century and the past 20 years -- Mies, Corbusier, Gehry, Hadid, etc.

One-hit wonders would also appear to reflect a lack of pretentiousness in the zeitgeist. If you're a one-song band, why get bogged down with pretensions of grandeur and keep trying to churn out more hits once it's clear you're not that great -- it's only pop music, after all. Or, it's only an office building.

Anonymous said...

Marley's paternal grandmother was Syrian-Jewish, not Ashkenazi.

Anonymous said...

From Wikipedia on the 80s in Music:
"Other successful synthpop artists of this era included Alphaville, Soft Cell, Depeche Mode, New Order, The Human League, Thomas Dolby, Yazoo, Art of Noise, Heaven 17, A Flock of Seagulls, OMD, Japan, Thompson Twins, Visage, Ultravox, Kajagoogoo, Eurythmics, a-ha, Telex, Real Life, Erasure, Camouflage, London Boys, Modern Talking, Bananarama, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and others are bands of the synthpop style."

These bands provided the background music for the mid80s college campus and dance clubs. They put out a lot of really good music, but the singles didn't have time to peak before something new came out. Agnostic is right, in the case of 80s, few made it huge, but the style certainly has staying power and influence.

ben tillman said...

In my own very biased English opinion, in terms of popular music, the musically talented nations from outside the Anglosphere include the Dutch, the Scandies and the Germans.

I'm not impressed.

Dutch: Shocking Blue (Venus), Gompie (Who the Fuck Is Alice?)

Scandies: ABBA, Röyksopp (Remind Me)

Germans: ?

Anonymous said...

The best selling singles are much more interesting and varied. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_singles
The best selling artists are pretty much what you'd expect.



I notice that most of those "best selling artists" don't write the songs they sing. At best they're given token credit alongside the real talent, such as Łukasz Gottwald. (Who singlehandedly inflicted Katy Perry on the world)

Steve Sailer said...

The Depression hammered architects, followed by WWII. In golf course architecture, there's almost zero overlap between great designers of the 1920s and the postwar designers. Maybe one golf architect based in Oklahoma, where there was some oil prosperity, Perry Maxwell stayed in business from the 1920s into the 1950s. Everybody else who was a big name in 1929 had quit and/or died by the time courses started getting built again 19 years later.

Anonymous said...

"In my own very biased English opinion, in terms of popular music, the musically talented nations from outside the Anglosphere include the Dutch, the Scandies and the Germans."

I'm not impressed.




Then you don't know much.

Martin Karl Sandberg

Johan Karl Schuster

Łukasz Gottwald

Toby Gad

Andreas Carlsson

Among many others. Modern pop music may be performed by young women and black men, but it's written by a cast of guys whose names conjure up images of the great age of classical music.

ben tillman said...

Why is it that in music, even liberals are so musically 'jingoistic'?

Because liberalism is completely unprincipled. Jingoism or racism or anything else is bad only in the specific contexts that the narrative dictates.

ben tillman said...

Am I missing any, or is Hotel California the only song there that put two albums on the list?

It's on just one of the albums. It was post-1975.

Anonymous said...

Anon at 8:21 PM:
Marley's paternal grandmother was Syrian-Jewish, not Ashkenazi

You should read Wikipedia a little more critically. Hint: no Syrian Jew was ever named even remotely similar to "Ellen Broomfield". The same Wikipedia provides a long list of names typical of Syrian Jews. Consult and compare.

ben tillman said...

Forgive me, but I don't believe these numbers. Pink Floyd (I actually love Dark Side of the Moon) outsold the Beatles? Sorry. Don't buy it.

You must be very young. The Beatles' career largely predated the popularity of albums; different Beatles albums were sold on the two sides of the Atlantic; the Beatles' body of work was larger (meaning that not every Beatles fan would buy every Beatles album); the Beatles had a number of albums (including the Red and Blue "hits" albums) that might qualify as their best (for people who wanted just one or two Beatles albums), while Dark Side was clearly superior to anything else Pink Floyd did (no matter how much you might like Wish You Were Here, Meddle, and Animals); Dark Side came out at a much more commercially propitious time; and Dark Side was better than any Beatles album ever made.

ben tillman said...

Forgive me, but I don't believe these numbers. Pink Floyd (I actually love Dark Side of the Moon) outsold the Beatles? Sorry. Don't buy it.

Billboard on Dark Side of the Moon

On March 17, 1973, a band in musical transition named Pink Floyd hit the Top 200 chart with the release of its new album, "Dark Side of the Moon." It entered the chart at No. 95, the top debut that week. And then a funny thing happened: It never left. Or almost never, anyway.

More than 14 years later -- 736 weeks to be precise -- in July 1988, it finally fell off The Billboard 200. Add in a later run on that chart and another 759 weeks on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart, and Pink Floyd, with this issue, reaches the staggering plane of 1,500 weeks on the charts.

It's difficult to contextualize just how singularly dominant a chart -- and cultural -- force the album has been. The runner-up for time served on The Billboard 200, Bob Marley and the Wailers' "Legend," is several years behind, and Floyd's lead in total chart weeks is greater Marley's by an almost 2-1 margin.

Label sources say "Dark Side" has sold roughly 40 million copies worldwide and still routinely moves 8,000-9,000 copies on a slow week. In fact, the album still often outpaces the low end of The Billboard 200, and every song on the more than 30-year-old record still gets radio play, with some among the most-played songs at classic rock stations monitored by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems.

"When the record was finished, I took a reel-to-reel copy home with me, and I remember playing it for my wife then, and her bursting into tears when it was finished," Pink Floyd principal Roger Waters tells Billboard. "And I thought, 'This has obviously struck a chord.' I was kinda pleased by that. I thought to myself, 'Wow, this is a pretty complete piece of work,' and I had every confidence that people would respond to it."

Anonymous said...

"Forgive me, but I don't believe these numbers. Pink Floyd (I actually love Dark Side of the Moon) outsold the Beatles? Sorry. Don't buy it."

Beatles sold a lot but marketing and sales distribution network in the 60s wasn't what it was later.
It's like multiplex cinema came later.

Stones biggest selling album was SOME GIRLS because distribution system has greatly expanded in the 70s.

Anonymous said...

Dark Side isn't as good as other floyd albums.

Anonymous said...

With music having gone digital and sales made by single mp3's, I doubt we'll ever see numbers like what we see on that list. All of those albums were released pre-Napster and iTunes.

Also, musical tastes seemed to have decentralized further. There are more genres today than ever.

Despite this, I think the conclusion that Anglosphere still dominates pop culture is somewhat flawed, considering that the most current album on the list was from 16 years ago.

Also worth consideration would be who bought those albums? If it was mostly English speakers, to say Anglosphere dominates pop culture in Angloshpere is not a point worth mentioning.

I agree that Anglosphere still dominates, but the arguments I would make would include pointing out the copycat genres of music performed internationally.

If we include movies and fashion, it's no contest, although it's nothing to be proud of imo, as they are representations of the degeneration of civilization.

Anonymous said...

The '80s has the fewest mega-selling singles, probably because there were so many awesome one-hit wonders at the time, that no one of them or even a handful of them would scoop up the lion's share of single sales.

It probably had more to do with the quick transition from vinyl to cassettes and then CD's. As far as I can remember, they weren't making many single track cassettes or CD's.

commonwealth contrarian said...

Another reason why the Anglosphere has dominated popular music is that most other languages don't sound very good when mixed with rock music.

German sounds to harsh, Slavic and Scandinavian languages sound very awkward, and French only sounds good with jazz or folk.

Italian and Spanish sound quite good in rock songs, but most Latin rock music is too uncommercial for Anglo-American tastes.

Interestingly early Genesis (a very uncommercial-sounding band in the pre-Phil Collins era) sold more albums in Italy than the Beatles in the late 60s and 70s, so tastes are very hard to predict outside the Anglosphere.

Anonymous said...

Germans: Kraftwerk, Rammstein

Anonymous said...

Or name your favorite local Deco example, like the LeVeque Tower in Columbus, Ohio.

Don't confuse this with the Rene Levesque Tower in Quebec City.

Anonymous said...

10.5 American (Fleetwood Mac is the .5)
8.5 British (Fleetwood Mac is the .5)
4.0 Canadian (Dion, Twain and Morissette)
1.0 Australian (ACDC)
1.0 Jamaican (Marley)
1.0 Swedish (ABBA)


ACDC had a British lead singer, from Back in Black onwards. And a British bass player. Thats 0.4. So I'll revise your list:

10.5 American
8.9 British
4.0 Canadian (Dion, Twain and Morissette)
0.6 Australian (ACDC)
1.0 Jamaican (Marley)
1.0 Swedish (ABBA)

(ACDC has had all manner of Brits, Aussies, British born Aussies and an American as members at various earlier times)

Anonymous said...

I can remember seeing plenty of Michael Jackson albums in the bargain bins in British record shops in the 1980s UK. It was odd that they were for sale new at all, as it was so easy to pick up a 2nd hand copy. So Im guessing the way oversold new explanation holds some water.

Anonymous said...

Weren't we just talking about Travolta in the Tarantino thread? The guy might be an L-Ron-Hubbard-influenced bisexual creep, but that's a pretty dadgum impressive resume.

Am I the only fellow here who actually remembers Grease & SNF?

Hello?

Anyone?

Derb?!?

Anonymous said...

Do kids today appreciate the Byrds? A most remarkable band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHOgkj7OuvQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbQYSRdojYw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq_kWvh6G7o

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQcvCxtvOfI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TlsIfb4lo1c

Anonymous said...

Woodstock sums up the liberal mind. 300,000 people turned green farmland into a field of trash and shit in 3 days, but it was said to be about going 'back to the garden'. Symbolism justifies reality no matter how miserable the latter is.

Anonymous said...

In re Travolta - sorry, I meant to add - snagging the lead in the #2 and the #5 album movies of all time is the 1970s/1980s/1990s equivalent of Julie Andrews winning Best Actress in 1964 [Mary Poppins] and then turning right around and playing the lead in 1965's Best Picture [The Sound of Music].

That sort of achievement requires [or at least confers] some pretty serious pop culture gravitas.

Matra said...

I'm not impressed.

Dutch: Shocking Blue (Venus), Gompie (Who the Fuck Is Alice?)


Don't forget Golden Earring (Radar Love in 1974, and to a lesser extent Twilight Zone in 1983 )

Scandies: ABBA, Röyksopp (Remind Me)

A-Ha, Europe, the Cardigans, Roxette. Three of those were no good but they sold a lot of records.


Anonymous said...

GREASE is also still pretty much a staple of UK "Sixth Form" (US HS Junior/Senior) theatrical productions, and has been ever since the movie. References that nobody in England would get (e.g. "yearbooks") are edited. Fun to watch the kids strain to do American accents, funnier when they occasionally slip ("disc jockey" in particular seems hard to remember to do right).

Anonymous said...

Hint: no Syrian Jew was ever named even remotely similar to "Ellen Broomfield"



Hint: No Ashkenazi Jew was ever named "Ellen Broomfield" either. That old one-drop-rule keeps on tripping up people here in the Stevosphere.

Anonymous said...

There were considerably fewer people in the 60s than in the 80s. Also, much of the non-West as dirt poor in the 60s but had booming consumer markets by the 80s and 90s.

If we take population ratios into account, I wonder if Sgt Pepper might have outsold many albums on the list.

Anonymous said...

One good thing about youtube is it's making people all over the world know more about music outside America.

Anonymous said...

http://slnm.us/LhQYg2u

Huh? Since when is rap supposed to be nice? It's been calling people ni----, been celebrating gun violence, been calling women 'skankass hos', been calling for killing cops, been calling for killing of politicians, and etc. etc.

White libs defended rap all these yrs as the 'message' of the black community, and NOW they wanna get all hissy over 'homophobia', which is a bullshit term. After all, blacks don't fear gays. They despise gays as wusses. Rap music, like much of black community, is into Manhood, toughness, machismo, and badassness, and white liberals have been wetting their pants all over black machismo.

And now they're bitching that black rappers are not sensitive about gays? So, what are white libs saying? Rappers can go on being offensive and gross and hateful but not against gays? Why this special treatment for gays? Are gays somehow special or better than others? Why is it okay to for a rapper to say, "Ni----, I's gonna shoot yo' ass" or "Bitchass ho, come suck my dick", but it's ohhhhh soooo terrible for rappers to say that homos suck?

Anonymous said...

Metallica's success is interesting. They didn't receive the amount radio play (especially on Top 40) or attention the other giants on that list did. But they were the band from their scene, time and place that got the most airplay via hard rock stations and MTV. They were the kings of working to middle class adolescent white male music at that point it time.

You probably won't dig their stuff, Steve, but if you want to give them a listen, One is in my opinion one of the best metal songs written.

Anonymous said...

"Do kids today appreciate the Byrds? A most remarkable band."

The kids today who've even heard of the Byrds prefer the Dylan versions.

Anonymous said...

"Another reason why the Anglosphere has dominated popular music is that most other languages don't sound very good when mixed with rock music."

Would mexicans, hindus, japanese, and arabs be popular if they sang in english?

Anonymous said...

Hint: No Ashkenazi Jew was ever named "Ellen Broomfield" either.

Wrong. Bloomfield = Blumenfeld/Blumfeld, a very common Yiddish name.

Anonymous said...

Would mexicans, hindus, japanese, and arabs be popular if they sang in english?

For some reason, Komment Kontrol never lets me make this point, but I'll try again anyway: Freddie Mercury [Bohemian Rhapsody] was ZOROASTRIAN.


Anonymous said...

Doing an album list as any sort of measure of the dominance of anglo-sphere culture is really outdated. It is like comparing the number of horse buggy wheels in the 1900s and now in 2013 to draw any comparisons. Meanwhile on Youtube, the #1 vid of all time is PSY. And 3 out of the top 5 most viewed Music Videos this week are Kpop MVs

Top Viewed Music Videos This Week
www.youtube.com/channel/HCp-Rdqh3z4Uc

Including Girls Generation (a 9 member girl group) whose Music Video you can see below
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wq7ftOZBy0E

And they got rave reviews on Billboard
www.billboard.com/new-releases/girls-generation-i-got-a-boy-track-by-track-1008068002.story

Anonymous said...

I've been searching for something new, hip, edgy to post and maybe others will find this as awesome as I do. I don't know how to categorize it: Academy of St.Hipster in Austin.

They have a pretty cool documentary too.
http://m.video.klru.tv/video/2295950718/

Gives me some faith in American youth. These are kids. I think the oldest is 21.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPnGPIMUnus

What did abba get that this band not?

Anonymous said...

"Dark Side came out at a much more commercially propitious time; and Dark Side was better than any Beatles album ever made."

In my view the reason DSOTM was on the charts for so long is that it (and other PF albums) is a perennial favorite album of potheads everywhere, and nothing has replaced it. Other such music is crap by comparison (Phish, Grateful Dead), so PF's reign is uncontested. Because pot has never really been out of fashion, DSOTM kept on getting purchased until MP3s came along.

It would be telling to see a graph of the DSOTM poster sales chart alongside the DSOTM album sales chart. That famous prism poster is still being put up in college dorm rooms all across the world, and college kids are never going to be buying commercial quality poster replicating equipment the same way they have computers in their rooms.

As an album, I don't think DSOTM any better than Sgt. Pepper. But no other album has welded itself to a subculture or human condition the way that DSOTM has. Angry young men have Metallica, but they also have a thousand other metal bands to listen to, many similarly talented. And rap, if they want to go that way.

Love songs are written every day, no band can lay claim to that. Alcohol use is not a subculture the way that pot is. Gays have a thing for Madonna, but also for many other things. It's as much the lack of real competition within the subculture as it is the association with the subculture and the intrinsic quality of the song that makes DSOTM what it is.

Anonymous said...


Would mexicans, hindus, japanese, and arabs be popular if they sang in english?

For some reason, Komment Kontrol never lets me make this point, but I'll try again anyway: Freddie Mercury [Bohemian Rhapsody] was ZOROASTRIAN.





Not only Zorastrian...but BORN IN AFRICA!!

Anonymous said...

Gangham style poses the greatest threat to Anglo popular music dominance since the Macarena.

Anonymous said...

Wrong. Bloomfield = Blumenfeld/Blumfeld, a very common Yiddish name.

Her name was Broomfield, not Bloomfield. And Jewish immigrants to England frequently anglicized their names or even took entirely new "English-sounding" names. For instance, Barbara Walters' grandfather's original surname was Waremwasser," which he changed to Walters after emigrating to England from Poland.

Anonymous said...

Actually the Titanic soundtrack is pretty much driven by Celine, so you have to give five to Canadians. That's more impressive than the British considering their population.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to find good music nowadays just by looking at the charts. On the brighter side, though, it has become incredibly easy to listen to not-quite-as-popular bands' songs on Youtube. The real trouble is in sifting through the morass of so-so bands and getting to the good stuff.

Music review websites like Pitchfork do a reasonable job of covering indie and more underground artists, but their pretensions cause their review scores to be rather skewed. I'm also a personal fan of Youtube music critic Anthony Fantano, who is rather entertaining to watch (despite being a SWPL hipster at the core):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7crV1BXXVg

Anonymous said...

"They have a pretty cool documentary too.
http://m.video.klru.tv/video/2295950718/

Gives me some faith in American youth. These are kids. I think the oldest is 21."

That's some metrosexual fruity crap.

Anonymous said...

petula clark was fabulous.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jda2ivskI8


Anonymous said...

No country?

I don't consider beagles and twain country.

Tammy Wynette was tops.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2o9-jmtNoU

Anonymous said...

I wonder who sold most records by composer.

I'm thinking

lennon-mccartney

dozier holland dozier

carole king

burt bachrach

michael jackson

Anonymous said...

"The kids today who've even heard of the Byrds prefer the Dylan versions."

I thought Byrds chose the right Dylan songs to cover and their versions are more catchy.

This is especially true of 'my back pages'.

the dylan version really sucks.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h80l4XIPJC4

Anonymous said...

The Violent Femme's debut album had a somewhat similar arc to Dark Side of the Moon. Released in 1983, it peaked in 1991 at #171.

It was really an odd case; it got little mainstream radio play on release but became an institution on college radio and, later, alternative radio. It managed to worm its way into the consciousness of a generation just on the basis of hanging around forever.

Anonymous said...

I concur that it is not Anglo culture per se rather than American/Brit media's and language's world dominance.

Scandies have a constant stream of moderately world-famous musicians that sing in english and promoted through english language media.

Every other year, of course, we get Mori Kante', Panjabi MC, PSY but they are like the packet of seasoning on the serial production bland microwave dinner. They aren't some other crap. when you buy the product you get everything in the package.

Kanye West and Justin Beaver Timbaland. Hail the dominance of the Anglo Culture.

Anonymous said...

"Actually the Titanic soundtrack is pretty much driven by Celine, so you have to give five to Canadians. That's more impressive than the British considering their population"

In that case you can add 2 more to Australia as the Grease and Saturday Night Fever soundtracks were driven by the Australian impresario Robert Stigwood, the Australian raised Bee Gees, Olivia Newton-John and John Farrar.

Anonymous said...

"That's some metrosexual fruity crap."
My wife's opinion too and it was my comment. Guess I won't have a second career as a producer.

Anonymous said...

""That's some metrosexual fruity crap."
My wife's opinion too and it was my comment. Guess I won't have a second career as a producer."

Listened to it again. Still think it's awesome. Morrissey with an accordion - I bet it will catch on in Mexico.

Anonymous said...

Well, the trend of American pop music for the last few years has been to increasingly adopt the style of European dance music, especially electro house, which is dominated by continental Euros. But dubstep is popular too, and it's mostly a UK thing.

Doesn't really seem like there's much new going on in rock/metal. Rap has basically stagnated, too.

Anonymous said...

Didn't Bravo Cable channel focus on foreign films? Is it still around?

What I would like to see is channel devoted to music--serious and popular--from all over the world.
I don't wanna see the rapdonaldization of music.

Some good non-American pop music I found on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IcKNq5qiu0

Marinella is great. Father of my Greek friend had tons of Greek music cassettes from the 50s and 60s and let me record a whole bunch of them in the 80s. I misplaced and lost most of them but I found a lot of the songs on youtube.

One thing I noticed... while American pop music had a great influence all throughout 20th century, much of pop music around the world had a folkish/local/unique flavor. It could be Americanish but wasn't just an imitation. It took elements of american music and molded and melded them with local traditions. I dare say this was true even of British rock. Beatles didn't just sing rock n roll but gave it a classy and clean British twist. Hard Days Night owes to British pop tradition. Penny Lane too.

But over the yrs, pop music all over the world all sound like the same global MTV crap. It got especially bad starting in the 90s with global hiphopization.

Euro-pop in the 60s had a distinctness from American pop, but now it just sounds the same. Anna Vissi's songs in the 70s and 80s were distinctly Greek though in the rock idiom. But her pop songs of the late 90s is just the same skankass ho BS you see on MTV over here.





ben tillman said...

I thought Byrds chose the right Dylan songs to cover and their versions are more catchy.

This is especially true of 'my back pages'.

the dylan version really sucks.


Despite the fact that it's one of best songwriting efforts.

ben tillman said...

"Do kids today appreciate the Byrds? A most remarkable band."

The kids today who've even heard of the Byrds prefer the Dylan versions.


Pretty funny, but the Byrds weren't just a Dylan cover band. They wroye some great stuff like:

Wasn't Born to Follow
Lover of the Bayou
Well Come Back Home
Eight Miles High

ben tillman said...

Should say:

Despite the fact that it's one of DYLAN'S best songwriting efforts.

"I was so much older then; I'm younger than that now" is an abolutely wonderful line.

Anonymous said...

"Johan Karl Schuster, better known by the stage name Shellback, is a Swedish songwriter, record producer and musician. Shellback was listed as the #1 producer of 2012 on Billboard Magazine's year end chart, and he also topped the list of their "Top 10 Songwriters Airplay Chart" the same year. He regularly collaborates with songwriter Max Martin, and together they've written "So What", "Raise Your Glass" and "Fuckin' Perfect" by Pink, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and "I Knew You Were Trouble." by Taylor Swift, "Whataya Want from Me" by Adam Lambert, "3" and "I Wanna Go" by Britney Spears, and "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love" and "Scream" by Usher, all of which have charted within the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States. Shellback also co-wrote and produced "One More Night", "Payphone" and "Moves Like Jagger" by Maroon 5, the latter spent eight weeks at #1 on the World Chart."



Back in "The Golden Age of Music", say the 1950's through the 1980's, the people who performed the music were largely the same people who wrote it, with some obvious exceptions for covers. The Beatles, ABBA, and the Scorpions all performed their own songs.

That's sharply different from modern music, where the songwriter/producer role has split away sharply from that of the performer.

If the Beatles were around today, John and Paul would function as full time songwriters and producers for other people - people of the non-male and non-pale persuasion. The modern audience does not want to see or hear bands made up of four white guys. Of perhaps the modern music industry does not want to sell them.

Anonymous said...

Metrosexuals would be on the masculine end of the spectrum when it comes to performers, nobody can out -metro Mick Jagger.

Anonymous said...

"nobody can out -metro Mick Jagger."

He was skinny but no dweeb. He was on fire onstage.

Anonymous said...

Metrosexual is more like Green Day.

Anonymous said...

Jagger is a image/body snob whose every hair is perfectly disheveled (and dyed). Nobody has ever accused metros of having an energy deficit - the effort would exhaust most men.

"He was on fire onstage."

Here, Jagger is so hot he has to drink a soda he found on the street. He's FLAMING.

Anonymous said...

"In youtube views, a good-enough-for-now metric, Gangham Style, Girl's Generation etc do very well"

Gangnam Style is the Macarena of our time. South Koreans are not about to take over the music biz.

Anonymous said...

What? No Lata Mangeshkar?

Anonymous said...

to reply to posters saying Hotel California is on two of these albums, that is incorrect. HC was released in late '76, the GH album is '71-'75. the Eagles put out a GH2 with HC on it. shout out for GnR AFD, which is the best album in my lifetime!