Sunday, December 8, 2013

The biggest rock bands in the world - a look at total album sales

I have always claimed that rock is the biggest, most important and persevering music genre in the world. This is also reflected in album sales from the industry, where the top lists is dominated by rock bands and pop artists. The difference is that the rock acts continue to draw crowds and make new fans over time, something that most pop artists can not manage. They are a product of popular culture with huge sales when they were sitting on the pop "throne" during a short period of their career whereby their albums sold ridiculously well. Rock bands are much more consistent and resilient to the ups and downs of popular culture. Out of the top 14 album artists of all time, we find seven rock bands on places 1-2-6-7-11-12-13.

250 million or more albums

1. The Beatles (UK)
2. Elvis Presley (US)
3. Michael Jackson (US)
4. Madonna (US)
5. Elton John (UK)
6. Led Zeppelin (UK)
7. Pink Floyd (UK)

200-249 million albums

8. Mariah Carey (US)
9. Celine Dion (CAN)
10. Whitney Houston (US)
11. AC/DC (AUS)
12. Queen (UK)
13. The Rolling Stones (UK)
14. ABBA (SWE)

Further down the list, in the interval 120 - 199 million albums, we find more rock bands. Out of 16 artists, 6 are rock bands:
  • The Eagles (US)
  • U2 (UK)
  • Aerosmith (US)
  • Genesis (UK)
  • Bruce Springsteen (US)
  • Dire Straits (UK)
In the interval 100 -119 million albums the amount of rock bands is virtually the same. Out of 30 artists there are 10 that I would consider to be rock bands:
  • KISS (US)
  • Metallica (US)
  • Rod Stewart (UK)
  • Bon Jovi (US)
  • Fleetwood Mac (UK)
  • Guns N' Roses (US)
  • Paul McCartney (UK)
  • Bryan Adams (CAN)
  • Def Leppard (UK)
  • The Who (UK)
Another interesting thing to notice is the amount of UK bands versus the amount of US bands. Out of the 23 rock bands listed here, 13 are from the UK and 8 are from the US. We also have AC/DC from Australia and Bryan Adams from Canada on the list! Out of the top seven rock bands there are five UK bands and only one US band! So one could say that the UK rock bands are the kings of album sales, and the biggest bands in the world.

Even so, the US have some of the more resilient rock bands with Aerosmith, Springsteen, Eagles, KISS, Metallica and Bon Jovi still touring and releasing new music to this day!

The UK bands tend to be more inactive, but they have a higher legendary status. Just think of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, Genesis, Dire Straits and Fleetwood Mac that no longer are active as bands… (Yes, Queen is touring under that name but without Freddie Mercury and Deacon I count them as inactive as a band just to make a point)

But still, my favorite band is from America. They have not sold the most albums. But they have more gold records than any other American band (meaning different albums certified gold). That is the sign of one of the most resilient bands of all time. That, and the fact that they have toured and released albums non-stop for over 40 years now. They have never been inactive on any level. Their work ethics are impressive. That has earned them the most loyal fan base in the world. One that I am proud to be a part of.

That band is KISS.

No comments:

Post a Comment