Statistics, sales and other extremely fascinating stuff
Date: March 25, 2019 15:34
Hi ya all! I feel sorry for destroying HONK thread with my nonsensical statistics stuff, so I decided make a thread of its own for them. So some copy and paste work first with some edition. As a fan of 'what is done is done' I still leave that stuff in that old thread, but, however, I continue the discussion here. For some reason, I prefer to talk at the moment things like these, some cruel statistical facts, and interpreting them, than that of spending my time with bashing them for not providing a new album yet or trying figure out new tasty angles in upgoing Mick vs. Keith drama, or shouting aloud for a millionth time what my personal taste says of, say, EXILE ON MAIN STREET, PRIMITIVE COOL or CROSSEYED HEART.
So those interested in nerdy things like these, feel free to join me here.
I'd be especially grateful if georgelicks, from whom I have learned most of my 'numbers' I use here and who knows about these matters more than I ever do, could have time and provide some updated list of the Stones album selling numbers. Or whatever releated to stuff here.
So, first the post that started it all:
Hmm.. the strange world of greatest hits compilations started to interest me, so I went to chartmasters.org to check the sales of their compilations. It is about two years old, but still provides quite an accurate picture of their record sales. Here comes a few observations.
First of all, I noticed one funny fact about HOT ROCKS. It was not relaesed in UK until 1990, but it has sold over one million copies there ever since! It means that HOT ROCKS, an album designed once for North American market only, it's the best selling Stones album in their homeland not only since it was released in 1990 but ever.
Secondly, we all know what a huge seller HOT ROCKS is (12,8 m). But that shouldn't hide the fact how huge sellers many of their major compilations, especially the ones from ABKCO era, have been. From all of their albums released during the 60's, two of the three biggest sellers have been, surprise, surprise, BIG HITS (6,6 m) and THROUGH THE PAST, DARKLY (6,0 m), only LET IT BLEED (7,0 m) passing them. For example, albums like BEGGARS BANQUET (4th) and AFTERMATH (5th) have sold 'only' around 4 million copies. And those two greatest hits albums have been out of print for decades, basically HOT ROCKS (and for some time ROLLED GOLD) fulfilling their function (have they ever been released even in CD format?). With HOT ROCKS, those three albums together have sold over 25 million copies! This also is a rather strong indication that the 60's Stones were a singles band - although their studio albums, except LET IT BLEED, were not that big sellers, their hit collections from those days were and are.
And that's not the whole story. If during the 70's HOT ROCKS were targeted at American market, the other parts of world were treated also with rather well-selling releases. For example, mostly UK targeted ROLLED GOLD has sold 1,5 m, and an item called GREATEST HITS (known also as GET STONED), released in 1977, 2,4 m. MORE HOT ROCKS sold 1,7 m while years later (in 1989), SINGLES COLLECTION 2,2 m. Altogether, if we even leave FORTY LICKS and GRRR! out, ABKCO has sold almost 40 million copies with Stones compilations! No wonder Allen Klein must have been laughing all the way to bank.
But what goes for so called Rolling Stones Records/Promotone era, selling those hits has been a bit more difficult. Both MADE IN THE SHADE and REWIND were rather moderate sellers: with their 1,9 and 2,5 m sales they sold significiantly less than their new studio albums at the time (and SUCKING IN THE SEVENTIES barely 1,25 m). During the 70's and 80's, the selling point of the Stones clearly was their new studio albums. So it was not until the release of JUMP BACK in 1993 they would have a clear winner in their hands: its sales of 6,9 m since then are impressive, and like I have said in the psot above, it is their best selling 'new' album since TATTOO YOU and before FORTY LICKS was released. I guess that of being for a long time the only major album to cover Promotone era hits explains rather much its sales. A bit like the effect of HOT ROCKS.
Altogether, leaving FORTY LICKS and GRRR! out, The Stones during their Promotone ara have sold about 13 million copies of compilation albums (about 10 million more if we include those two). The total would be a bit more, since the sales of locally targeted (mostly UK) TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE are not available, but most likely it wasn't a million seller. Any case, Klein with his antique catalogue has been outselling them in greatest hits market.
Yep, then we have these two 'hybrid' releases, covering their whole career. FORTY LICKS sold 7,7 m in its a decade long lifespan, which makes it rather high in their over-all ranking, and it most likely will be remain their last 'huge' seller. Compare that to sales of BRIDGES TO BABYLON (4,7 m) and A BIGGER BANG (2,6 m) - clearly out-selling both. By the time GRRR! was released the album market had slowed down efficiently, but still I guess the sales of 2,2 m might have been a bit disappointing for UMG. For example, BLUE & LONESOME has briefly outsold it. What goes for the fate of HONK, the question is how long it will be on sale, and being the only album to cover the post '71 era. Still I would say selling about half of what GRRR! did will be a tough task.
Some summary of the sales of compilation albums:
ABKCO era: 38,5 (added two extra million)
Promotone era: 14 (added one extra million)
Totals: over 60 million
Lastly, here are all of their albums listed by their sales:
1. HOT ROCKS 12,8
2. SOME GIRLS 11,3
3. STICKY FINGERS 9,4
4. TATTOO YOU 8,5
5. EXILE ON MAIN STREET 8,1
6. FORTY LICKS 7,7
7. LET IT BLEED 7,0
8. JUMP BACK 6,9
9. BIG HITS (HIGH TIDE AND GREEN GRASS) 6,7
10. VOODOO LOUNGE 6,4
11. GOATS HEAD SOUP 6,4
12. THROUGH THE PAST, DARKLY (BIG HITS VOL. 2) 6,0
13. EMOTIONAL RESCUE 5,7
14. STEEL WHEELS 5,6
15. BRIDGES TO BABYLON 4,7
16. BLACK AND BLUE 4,1
17. BEGGARS BANQUET 4,0
18. FLASHPOINT 4,0
19. STRIPPED 4,0
20. AFTERMATH 3,9
21. DIRTY WORK 3,9
22. IT'S ONLY ROCK'N'ROLL 3,7
23. GET YER YA-YA'S OUT! 3,6
24. UNDERCOVER 3,4
25. STILL LIFE 3,2
26. OUT OF OUR HEADS 2,9
27. A BIGGER BANG 2,6
28. REWIND 2,5
29. BLUE & LONESOME 2,5 (?)
30. THE ROLLING STONES/ENGLAND'S NEWEST HITMAKERS 2,5
31. THEIR SATANIC MAJESTIES 2,5
32. LOVE YOU LIVE 2,5
33. GREATEST HITS 2,4
34. GRRR! 2,2
35. BETWEEN THE BUTTONS 2,2
36. SINGLES COLLECTION: THE LONDON YEARS 2,2
37. MADE IN THE SHADE 1,9
38. MORE HOT ROCKS 1,7
39. GOT LIVE IF YOU WANT IT! 1,7
40. 12X5 1,7
41. FLOWERS 1,5
42. ROLLED GOLD 1,5
43. METAMORPHOSIS 1,4
44. THE ROLLING STONES, NOW! 1,3
45. DECEMBER'S CHILDREN 1,3
46. NO SECURITY 1,3
47. SUCKING IN THE SEVENTIES 1,3
48. THE ROLLING STONES NO 2 1,0
49. LIVE LICKS 0,8
50. SHINE A LIGHT 0,7
51. STONE AGE 0,5
52. ROCK & ROLL CIRCUS 0,5
53. GIMME SHELTER 0,4
54. MILESTONES 0,4
55. RARITIES 1971-2003 0,4
56. SWEET SUMMER SUN 0,3
57. STORY OF THE STONES 0,3
58. HONK 0,2
59. THE VERY BEST OF 0,2
60. BRAVO 0,2
61. ON AIR 0,2
62. TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE 0,1
Surely, there are many albums still missing, and most likely some of them would probably make top 50 or close, such as TIME WAITS FOR NO ONE and ON AIR (EDIT: no, those two did not, but now added to the list!). I am rather sure an early German-based Decca compilation AROUND AND AROUND sold rather well at the time.
A side note: best selling Jagger solo album (SHE'S THE BOSS) with its 2,5 m sales would make #28-32 in this list. Keith's best selling album (much hailed TALK IS CHEAP) with its 1 m sales would be #48... No wonder those guys aren't much into solo career...
Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 2019-07-30 09:58 by Doxa.