CSPC: Billy Joel Popularity Analysis

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Original Album Sales – Comments

1971 Cold Spring Harbor – 1,100,000
1973 Piano Man – 6,700,000
1974 Streetlife Serenade – 1,700,000
1976 Turnstiles – 2,900,000
1977 The Stranger – 15,300,000
1978 52nd Street – 13,300,000
1980 Glass Houses – 11,000,000
1982 The Nylon Curtain – 4,900,000
1983 An Innocent Man – 13,000,000
1986 The Bridge – 4,400,000
1989 Storm Front – 7,900,000
1993 River Of Dreams – 9,000,000

Overall, Billy Joel released 12 studio albums which accumulated a massive 91,4 million sales combined.

In terms of markets, he was the first solo artist to truly break the main audience of non-English speaking countries. The first international act to ever release officially an album in China, he was also the first to release an album on CD format in the world when The Stranger came out in Japan in 1982. Often regarded as a pure American act, Billy Joel has been an incredible seller and opened the door to foreign artists in various places.

Figures listed here don’t consider Fantasies & Delusions which is counted in Orphan category during upcoming pages. Speaking of which, and as explained in the introduction, Billy Joel‘s appeal doesn’t quite stop here given that he also boasts quite a huge catalogue of physical singles, compilations, live albums, box sets, music videos and, more recently, also digital downloads and streaming. Getting into those formats is the only way to truly have a perspective of his real status in the business. And that comes just next.

8 thoughts on “CSPC: Billy Joel Popularity Analysis”

  1. Great article, as usual. Just to let you know, there’s a typo on the Glass Houses page in regards to the US figure, it’s listed as 760,000.

  2. Hi Hernán! I have to say you did an amazing job on this article! Billy Joel’s sales are more impressive than i expected!

    However, I want to point out some certain mistake(s) you made. On page 8, for your estimation on Glass Houses, you have the US sales at 760,000, but the worldwide sales at 11,000,000? I’m guessing there’s a zero missing on that US figure. Otherwise, the remaining millions must come from Asia and Africa, which i find doubtful.

    Also, on page 15, the The Stranger album’s singles sold 5,55m, a 1,665m album equivalent than 1,65m

    Anyway, keep up the good work! Looking forward for the next article!

  3. Thanks both for your fixes!

    Raffi, you should get some work in data mining area, your ability to find out such specific errors impresses me 😉

  4. Hi dears MJD and Hernàn !!!

    congratulations again for the website and also for CSPC analysis of Billy Joel, I know that I will also be analyzed the new Nobel Prize for Literature (Bob Dylan), I am very happy, but I’m very curious to see also analyzed groups like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Pink Floyd, Eagles, Abba, Bee Gees, Aerosmith, AC / DC, Bon Jovi. I hope these groups will be analyzed very early because I would like to note the various differences for CSPC analysis and see who has sold more records !!!!

  5. Very interesting. I would like to ask if you have more details concerning his sales in Japan?
    Where does the figures of his first lp come from?
    How do you estimate the sales of his LPs?

    I noticed that some of his back catalogue albums were certified without charting like “52 nd street” or “the stranger” and even the “Honesty” single re-issue from 1990.

    Any explanation why he is so popular in Japan?

  6. These reports look really cool- but is there any way to view them on one page, rather than having to click thirty smaller pages?
    Thanks either way!

  7. Hi MJD and Hernán! I would like to ask you about Billy Joel’s sales.

    According to your album breakdowns, Billy Joel sold an impressive number of albums in Japan. Also, when i deduct the worldwide total of his albums from his heydays to the countries listed, there is a remaining 1-2m+ in sales, and I’m guessing a majority of those sales come from South East Asia.

    What I’m asking is that could you provide a breakdown per album for his albums in Asia here in the comments section like you did with Britney Spears. Could you also tell me which countries in Asia did Billy Joel had good sales in? Also, how high would Billy Joel rank in the biggest selling international artist in Japan and Asia overall?

    Thank You!

  8. Hi Raffi!

    Sadly for such old albums and with someone like Billy Joel, who is covered nowhere near the likes Michael Jackson or Madonna, there is too little information to answer accurately your questions, we can only work out with proportions with markets.

    What I can confirm is that he was indeed widely popular all over Asia. Most of his albums went Platinum in Hong Kong while he was also as mentioned the first international artist ever to see his albums officially issued in China. I have read various articles from Southeast Asian coverage referring to him as a huge seller, although with no specific figure.

    Basically as a rough guide, the proportion would be 1 to 0,7 between Japan and rest of Asia. He is among the Top 10 international sellers ever in Japan.

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