I should point this out to anyone who doesn't realize it but I DIDN'T MAKE THIS LIST! I mean, I did. I wrote it down. I stared at a bunch of websites that made claims as to "album sales" in the United States and Kenya. But from there, I had no control over what they said the "sales" were. The reason Abbey Road is #25 and The Forrest Gump soundtrack is #11 is because, well, because that's the order I typed it in and I didn't feel like retyping it to suggest that there is some sort of logic to any of this. Sometimes I feel like I'm writing about hamburgers!
Anyhow, enough about me. What follows are my theories on who actually bought these albums and sometimes why. When I don't know an answer, I do like any other hungover college student and make it up!The Beatles--Abbey Road, 12 Million Albums Sold: Now, keep in mind, the RIAA (Recording Industry of Associating Associates) considers a double album TWO sales, ignoring the fact that you can't go into a store and only buy one-half of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. So, this is the best selling single Beatles album. Not Rubber Soul. Not Revolver. Sold to: people who preferred the Beatles with beards; people who own amazing stereos; people who have visited London and nearly gotten run over having their picture taken out in front of the recording studio where this cover photo as shot; and people who still secretly wonder if Paul is dead.
24) Bon Jovi--Slippery When Wet, 12 Million Albums Sold: I grew up in New Jersey, so I'm allowed to hate this album as much as I want to. Sold to: GIRLS; people from New Jersey; people not from New Jersey who have no idea what it's really like; people from Long Island who do know what it's like; more girls; hipsters being ironic; and people who like that "Livin' On A Prayer" song, which proves to be in the "very many" category.Boyz II Men--II, 12 Million Albums Sold: I must admit to preferring soul music with more grit, but then I have a sneaky suspicion that much of the music I like would be noticeably worse if it were recorded in modern times. Sold to: people who were hoping to get lucky; people who wanted to appear sensitive; people who got lucky; people who enjoy harmonies and wish they could sing as well; and people who had male children going through puberty and were hoping this album would explain something.
22) Phil Collins--No Jacket Required, 12 Million Albums Sold: As Creem reviewer Jeffrey Morgan put it at the time in the voice of Andy Rooney: he was hooked on Phil's music ever since hearing it on Miami Vice. Sold to: people who have used Rogaine with similar non-results; people who have trouble sleeping; people who think if every song sounds alike that at least it's consistent; people who own 24 albums and gave up because "this music thing isn't for me"; and relatives who listen to what the evil, underpaid music store clerks suggest.Def Leppard--Hysteria, 12 Million Albums Sold: The only thing that's inarguable is that there are many albums produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange that have gone on to sell millions of albums. From AC/DC to Shania Twain to Def Leppard, Lange knows what he's doing. Sold to: people who like music that sounds perfect; people who own the perfect stereo system; people who want to like heavy metal but don't want it to be too loud or abrasive; guys who are hoping women will think they're not complete meatheads; women who have different favorite members; and women who receive albums as gifts.
20) Dixie Chicks--Wide Open Spaces, 12 Million Albums Sold: I didn't expect this one. I knew they were popular, but this popular? Sold to: people who had to re-buy the album after they trashed their first copy because of what Natalie Maines said about President Bush and then realized they still liked the album; people who like country music enough to want there to be some on the albums they buy; people who bought the album because they collect southern memorabilia and saw the word "Dixie" in the title; and guys who were hoping for a full-color poster or calendar with the ladies holding power tools.Jewel--Pieces Of You, 12 Million Albums Sold: I interviewed Jewel once over the phone. I remember it well. She picked up. Sold to: people who wanted to give a young singer-songwriter a chance; people who hoped their own mediocrity wouldn't prevent them from being poets; people who wondered who would save their soul since their local preacher told them they didn't have the money to save it through "proper channels"; and people who heard she could yodel!
18) Kenny G--Breathless, 12 Million Albums Sold: I interviewed Kenny G once and it explained everything. Sold to: people who hate Jazz; people who hate music; people who hate the human race; people who have given up on life; people who think if you call something "music" enough times, it will become actual "music"; and people who can't possibly explain why they would do such a thing in the first place. I'm sorry, "It seemed like a good idea at the time" is not a valid reason or excuse.Led Zeppelin--II, 12 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who believe every generation needs to become familiar with "The Led Zeppelin"; people who listen to classic rock radio and panic that someone will take it away from them and they will never hear "Livin' Lovin' Maid (She's Just A Woman)" ever again; people who bought the vinyl and used the gatefold for other purposes; and people who belong to the Church of Zeppelin.
16) Matchbox Twenty--Yourself Or Someone Like You, 12 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: I don't know. It doesn't seem possible. Computer error?Pearl Jam--Ten, 12 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who wanted the "ultimate grunge experience"; people who found Eddie Vedder extremely attractive; people who already owned a ton of flannel shirts and figured "why not?"; people who were determined to help them outsell Nirvana; people who watched MTV and noticed they were on every ten minutes; and people who like their music loud and weren't hearing much else they liked and the tunes were pretty good.
14) Kenny Rogers--Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits, 12 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: your mother; your mother's friends; people who go to casinos to hear good music; people who thought he looked like Santa Claus; people who bought it on 8-track and eventually had to replace it on cassette; and people who like his chicken.The Rolling Stones--Hot Rocks 1964-1971, 12 Million Albums Sold: Double album alert. Sold to: people who wanted as many well-known Rolling Stones hits as possible in one place; people who probably still own the album and don't wonder why the heck they bought it, unlike most of the rest of the albums on this godforsaken list; people who think Mick Jagger is hot; people who think Mick Jagger is disgusting; and people who should also own many of their other albums and hopefully do.
12) Shania Twain--The Woman In Me, 12 Million Albums Sold: Another Robert John "Mutt" Lange production and with plenty of co-writes. Sold to: people who named their daughters Shania; people who collect albums by Robert John "Mutt" Lange; people who like country music to be more "pop"; people who hoped the album would help them find the woman inside themselves; and people who shop in places where such albums are sold.
10) Backstreet Boys--Millennium, 13 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: girls. Period. Young girls.Whitney Houston--Whitney Houston, 13 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who were looking forward to hearing a woman who could actually sing; people who didn't mind the fact that the singer insisted on singing a lot of notes; people who attended my high school; and people who were in no way prepared to see how crazy she would become in future years.
8) The Steve Miller Band--Greatest Hits 1974-1978, 13 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who wanted to hear the "uncensored version" of Paul Pena's "Jet Airliner"; people who had feathered hair and customized vans in the 1970s; people who wanted feathered hair and customized vans in the 1970s and in future decades; people who can almost tell songs like "Rock'n Me," "Take The Money and Run" and "Jungle Love" apart; and people who like to have something to play on long car trips where everyone can sing along something besides that hateful "100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" song.Prince And The Revolution--Purple Rain, 13 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who shortly thereafter began painting everything they owned purple; people who had accepted that the 1980s had arrived and it would sound like this; people who wanted to hear "Darling Nikki" because they weren't supposed to; people who began using '4' and 'U' long before text-messaging; and people who proved that Prince was no longer just a preferred brand of spaghetti.
6) Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band--Live 1975-1985 (Box Set), 13 Million Albums Sold: Five album alert! I have no idea how they calculate this one. It was 5 vinyl LPs, 3 CDs, 3 cassettes and supposedly 3 8-Tracks! Somehow the number is 13 million sold. The entire album lasts several days and not everyone makes it to the end: Sold to: people training to see "The Boss" in concert; people who own 15 or more live bootlegs and figured "what the heck"; people who bought it to collect previously unreleased cuts like "Seeds," "This Land is Your Land," "War" and "Jersey Girl"; and people who would never dream of buying Tom Waits' version of "Jersey Girl" because it sounds like it's being sung by a man who might throw up on them.Journey--Greatest Hits, 14 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who have never stopped believing; people who believe there is such a thing as "South Detroit"; people who watched the Sopranos and were reminded how much they liked the song; people who grew up in the 1980s and survived the hair spray; and people who could just as easily have bought a Foreigner album by mistake but at the last moment didn't,
4) Meat Loaf--Bat Out Of Hell, 14 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who think Bruce Springsteen is "too subtle"; people who hope the voice of Phil Rizzuto (RIP) will help them get lucky; people who would consider two out of seven not bad if it came down to it; and adults who live with their parents and need to make out in their car, which is, actually, a more challenging way to do things. So carry on!Simon And Garfunkel--Simon And Garfunkel's Greatest Hits, 14 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who like Simon and Garfunkel; people who can't be bothered buying five separate albums; people who only like songs they already know; and people who have sat on the Central Park lawn getting eaten alive by mosquitoes listening to these songs and figured it would be smarter to never venture out into the wilderness ever again and listen in the comfort of their Mercedes instead.
2) Britney Spears--...Baby One More Time, 14 Millions Albums Sold
Backstreet Boys--Backstreet Boys, 14 Million Albums Sold
Garth Brooks--Ropin' The Wind, 14 Million Albums Sold: I'm lumping in all three here to finish out the 14 million sold category. I figure these were all sold to the same people, the ones who went to different schools together. Sold to: people who buy extremely popular albums they hear on the radio and one day sell them at garage sales for a quarter.Metallica--Metallica, 14 Million Albums Sold: Sold to: people who like the "Enter Sandman" song; heavy-metal fans who enjoyed it; heavy-metal fans who hated it; heavy-metal fans who became confused; non-heavy-metal fans who finally owned a heavy-metal album and returned the Cannibal Corpse album as being too "out there"; and people who when asked say they like "all kinds of music" (except country and rap, of course).
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