The Hottest 100s- Part 4


Here we are with the final part of our all time deep dive.

Headed back Stateside for the 100 Biggest Selling Albums in the US.

Let’s count them down one last time:

Appetite For Destruction- 18.4m
Guns N’ Roses

Come On Over- 20m
Shania Twain

Cracked Rear View – 21m
Hootie & The Blowfish

Rumours – 21.631m
Fleetwood Mac

Dark Side Of The Moon- 21.871m
Pink Floyd

Led Zeppelin IV- 24m
Led Zeppelin

Back In Black – 25m

Hotel California -26m

Thriller – 34m
Michael Jackson

Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 – 38m

The selection comes courtesy of Best Selling Albums.

It’s the same source as last week for the 100, which seems about as reliable as I can find.

Headline news for the US Album list; you guys really like Eagles.

I believe it’s in the constitution that every home must have one.

What other explanation is there for 38m sales? That’s 11.4% of the population based on current figures. Eagles are your equivalent of Queen for us, but even more popular. Based on “Queen’s Greatest Hits” sales around 10.5% of the UK population have bought it.

Just like Queen there are two volumes of greatest hits.

But this time, they also have a monster of an original album in there as well; “Hotel California” (#3). Not the biggest studio album though, as “Thriller” comes between the dual Eagles onslaught.

Once again Greatest Hits, Best of, Contractual Obligation, etc, etc account for a good proportion of the list.

Sixteen this time around.

While self titled albums are even more on trend with nine:

Boston, Metallica, Backstreet Boys, Whitney Houston, Led Zeppelin II & IV, NSYNC, Van Halen and The Beatles – OK, so everyone calls it The White Album – but it’s official birth name demonstrates a lack of imagination.

And once again there’s The Marshall Mathers LP, which you can argue amongst yourselves as to whether it constitutes self titled.

The Beatles remain expectedly big news but not as much as at home.

And it was a surprise to me: Sgt. Pepper (#42) being behind Abbey Road (#32) and 1 (#39). The White Album (#61) rounds off their entries.

Those four may surpass Eagles three, but there’s one clear winner in placing albums on the list:

Garth Brooks.

He might have missed the all time top 10 peaking at #12 with No Fences but he makes up for it with appearances at 31, 78, 91, 95 and 98. As if that wasn’t enough: he also lurks just outside at 101 and 103.

That Chris Gaines album really derailed his sales figures as all of his entries pre-date it.

If Eagles are your Queen equivalent, then Garth is Robbie Williams. A comparison I’m sure he and his fans will appreciate. He did chart here at #2 with In Pieces but that is one of only five times he’s made the UK top 40 albums.

The UK list contained 18 albums never to chart in the US top 100.

From the opposite side, it’s only seven. Four of these are greatest hits for artists that hadn’t had much in the way of chart success here,

Like Aerosmith’s 1980 compilation (#59) which pre-dates their appearance on any UK chart by six years.

Its not too much of a surprise that Garth Brooks’ No Fences (#12) and Kid Rock’s Devil Without A Cause (#71) failed to chart here but the other one is. The Lion King soundtrack never made it into the UK album chart despite Circle Of Life and Can You Feel The Love Tonight being hits for Elton.

Overall, 39 of these were UK #1s with 70 being top 10.

There are points of difference though. The UK list features REM and Red Hot Chili Peppers who don’t make it onto the US list. While Def Leppard and Led Zeppelin (three times) appear in the US list but miss out at home.

Then there are acts that made it onto both lists but with different albums;

Phil Collins:
UK = But Seriously (#46)
US = No Jacket Required (#58)

Green Day:
UK = American Idiot (#83)
US = Dookie (#96)

Guns N’ Roses:
UK = Greatest Hits (#90)
US = Appetite For Destruction (#10)

In terms of US chart performance there’s a few noticeable outliers.

Especially compared to Billboard’s All Time Hot 100 Singles where every entry had charted at #1 or #2.

Some of the albums have played the long game, selling consistently over an extended period without making the upper reaches of the album chart.

  • Steve Miller Band’s Greatest Hits 1974 – 1978 (#23) had a chart high of 18
  • Van Halen’s self titled debut (#77) made 19
  • Aerosmith’s Greatest Hits (#59) peaked at 43
  • Eagles Greatest Hits Volume 2 (#73) charted at 52

Last week we saw how partisan the UK 100 was in favouring the home team. And just as we saw on the singles 100 it’s even more partisan.

Britain puts up a good fight in the top 10, with Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd plus AC/DC and Fleetwood Mac having limey representation.

But overall, its no contest and with even fewer countries;

US: 69
UK: 18
Canada: 6
Ireland: 1
Jamaica: 1
Australia: 1

Fleetwood Mac demonstrate neat symmetry of UK/US membership and Rumours being at #7 on both sides of the Atlantic.

U2 this time get the field to themselves in being top of the pile from Ireland (Joshua Tree #57).

Those figures don’t add up to 100 due to the presence of that staple: Soundtracks.

The Bodyguard (#11), Saturday Night Fever (#18), Grease (#24), Dirty Dancing (#45) and Sound of Music (#74) all appeared in the UK 100 and are joined by Purple Rain (#27), Titanic (#68) and The Lion King (#97).

Looking at the make up of the acts, the numbers don’t differ too much from the UK list.

  • 20 solo female
  • 24 solo male
  • 51 groups

In a potentially contentious delineation, I’ve included the following in the group section based on the full credited artist; Bob Seger And The Silver Bullet Band – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers – Prince And The Revolution.

Women are again massively underrepresented when looking at the make up of the groups with two all female acts in TLC and Dixie Chicks (going by their name at the time of release) with Fleetwood Mac and No Doubt having a male / female dynamic. That’s only nine women across those 51 groups.

There is an improvement compared to the UK list in terms of Rap, RnB and soul representation:

With Eminem joined by Boyz II Men (II #53), TLC (Crazysexycool #54), Nelly (Country Grammar #89) and Lauryn Hill (The Miseducation Of #90).

Like the UK though the majority of the list is overwhelmingly white and far less diverse than the singles equivalent.

Teenage pop sensations do encroach onto the rock dominated list courtesy of Britney Spears, Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys and Justin Timberlake while in NSYNC, all debuting on the list at 17 with Taylor Swift just behind them at 18.

Carlos Santana represents the other end of the scale at 51 when Supernatural was released.

On to the winning decade:

In Britain the number of albums increased every decade through to the 00s, before hitting the cliff edge of streaming in the 00s.

In the US, it’s the same story – but a decade ahead, pushing the 90s into a clear lead before a big fall off.

Elvis leads the charge with his 1957 Christmas Album at #16. The 60s mirrors the UK through The Beatles and Sound Of Music before things really start to take off in the 70s.

Once again, Adele did her best to shore up the albums market with 21 (#28) and 25 (#69).

These being two of only three albums released after 2005 to make it – Taylor Swift; Fearless (#87) from 2008 is the other. By the decades:

  • 1950s 1
  • 1960s 5
  • 1970s 17
  • 1980s 23
  • 1990s 41
  • 2000s 11
  • 2010s 2

The biggest year was 1994 with seven entries, led by Hootie & The Blowfish; Cracked Rear View (#8).

Another one of those bands that don’t translate to these shores. I’m surprised to find it charted as high as #12 here.

The UK top 10 had better cross generational representation with every decade from the 60s to 00s in there.

Not the case here.

The 70s may lag well behind the 90s overall, but it claims half the top 10. The 80s pipping the 90s three to two.

There aren’t as many debut albums this time, 16 compared to 22 on the UK list and only Britney, Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Van Halen and Whitney come back with another blockbuster.

We do have a fine example of the one album wonder in the shape of Lauryn Hill. It’s possible she’ll get it together to record a follow up but it’s not looking likely.

There are another couple of fine examples of the follow up not performing to the same standard.

No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom sold over 8 million bringing Diamond certification. Follow up Return Of Saturn sold a number that many acts would sell their drummer to the devil for, but that Platinum certification pales in comparison.

It’s not the biggest drop off though. Step forward, Carole King:

She achieved 14 X Platinum status with all time classic Tapestry and followed that up within a year with Music.

Which dropped 13 of those Platinum certifications.

Thanks to the appearance of Back In Black (#4) and Eliminator (#86) we’re covered from AC/DC to ZZ Top.

It could be a disadvantage for ZZ Top to be racked at the back of the store where casual browsers don’t reach but they make it nonetheless.

For one last time, who are we missing, then?

Across the four parts there’s still no Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, or Bowie. 

Sorry guys, but there’s already too many bros in the club.

And being a legend doesn’t mean you get your name on the list.

…end of series.

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JJ Live At Leeds

From across the ocean, a middle aged man, a man without a plan, a man full of memories, a man like JJ.

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Famed Member
June 12, 2023 8:10 am

No “Songs in the Key of Life”? I’m shocked by that, as well as the relatively low placing of SNF and Grease and high placement of Shania and Hootie.

I’m guessing the multiple charting singles bit into “Rhythm Nation” and “Born in the USA” sales, but it’s still a surprise not to see them higher up.

Great job!

Famed Member
Online Now
June 12, 2023 10:14 am

Not all of us Yanks love Eagles. I admire their craftwork, but I really don’t understand why they’re so popular.

I’m with Chuck. This list needs more Stevie Wonder.

I’ll ask the same question as last time. If we didn’t count the greatest hits and soundtracks, what albums would make it into the top 100?

Famed Member
June 12, 2023 11:05 am
Reply to  Virgindog

I too would like it noted that not everyone here prefers Eagles. Most of their music is a slick commercial product which does nothing for me as an adult. I once compared them to Thomas Kincaid in the comment section. It doesn’t mean either is bad. Just no longer for me.

Famed Member
Online Now
June 12, 2023 3:52 pm

It’s a tough decision, but I think I’d go:

  1. Naval Warfare
  2. Golf
  3. Thomas Kincaid
Famed Member
June 12, 2023 4:07 pm

Yes, he is known as the painter of light. I really liked his works at first, but they were mass produced and became more like product than art.

Famed Member
Online Now
June 12, 2023 12:11 pm

Will Smith surprises me, too. I knew it sold a lot, but 8 million? Wow.

Good work, JJ!

Famed Member
June 12, 2023 10:54 am

Well done, JJ. Here is the top ten list reordered by how likely I am to listen to these albums these days.
1. Led Zeppelin IV
2. Rumours.
3. Dark Side of the Moon
4. Back in Black
5. Appetite for Destruction
6. Thriller
7. Hotel Caifornia
8. Come On Over
9. Cracked Rear View
10. Their Greatest Hits (Eagles)

Famed Member
June 12, 2023 4:18 pm
Reply to  rollerboogie

I’d go this way:

1. Rumours
2. Dark Side of the Moon
3. Thriller
4. Led Zeppelin IV
5. Back in Black
6. Hotel Caifornia
7. Their Greatest Hits (Eagles)
8. Appetite for Destruction
9. Cracked Rear View
10. Come On Over

Pauly Steyreen
Famed Member
June 12, 2023 11:45 pm
Reply to  rollerboogie

Like the Dude, I hate the fucking Eagles. Throwing out their albums as well as Shania and Hootie, that would leave me with 6 killer albums I’d never get sick of…

1. Rumors
2. Dark Side of the Moon
3. Led Zeppelin IV
4. Appetite for Destruction
5. Back in Black
6. Thriller (guey)

Famed Member
June 12, 2023 4:18 pm

So many yummy stats! Excellent work here, sir!!

Famed Member
Online Now
June 12, 2023 9:49 pm

Hootie is the biggest surprise here for me. I guess I knew about most of the others, but I totally had a blind spot on that one.

Country music is a genre that really doesn’t register well in the UK, and the Eagles are basically rock with a massive dose of country thrown in. They’re a funny band for me. They are similar to other radio favorites who I never need to listen to at home, because I’ve heard them so much all my life (like Creedence Clearwater Revival, for example). But I gotta admit…if I hear “Tequila Sunrise” or “Take It to the Limit” or “New Kid in Town” or “The Long Run” or “Witchy Woman”, etc…I really don’t mind hearing them. The craft still impresses me and they’re darned catchy.

Here’s my list of likelihood of listening:

  1. Dark Side of the Moon
  2. Rumours
  3. Thriller
  4. Zeppelin IV
  5. Hotel California
  6. Eagles Greatest Hits
  7. Come On Over
  8. Back in Black
  9. Cracked Rear View
  10. Appetite for Destruction
Famed Member
June 13, 2023 2:26 am

“Thanks for the tutorial, and no, you’re not the first to bring this to my attention- and you’re not the first to completely misinterpret the lyric and miss the metaphor. Believe me, I’ve consumed enough alcoholic beverages in my time to know how they are made and what the proper nomenclature is. But that line and song has little to do with alcoholic beverages. It’s a sociopolitical statement. My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the purpose of using literacy devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes.” -Don Henley

Henley was talking to John Soeder of The Plain Dealer.

I’m not excusing Henley’s behavior, but if you sold that many records, how could you not think of yourself as “The Emperor of Song”?

More than Thriller?

I had no idea.

Famed Member
June 20, 2023 10:09 am

I love how all this deep diving into the charts in UK and US can be simply summed up thusly –

Queen owns the UK, The Eagles own the US.

For the record, I own Queen’s Greatest Hits and Classic Queen. I do NOT own anything from The Eagles or any solo works of Eagles members. Does this mean I could be arrested on grounds of treason?!

I hadn’t realized The Eagles had pulled so far ahead of Thriller, yikes.

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