CSPC: Bob Dylan Popularity Analysis

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Original Album Sales – Comments

1962 Bob Dylan – 1,200,000
1963 The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – 4,200,000
1964 The Times They Are a-Changin’ – 2,800,000
1964 Another Side of Bob Dylan – 1,700,000
1965 Bringing It All Back Home – 3,800,000
1965 Highway 61 Revisited – 5,000,000
1966 Blonde on Blonde – 5,100,000
1967 John Wesley Harding – 3,200,000
1969 Nashville Skyline – 3,800,000
1970 Self Portrait – 1,800,000
1970 New Morning – 2,200,000
1973 Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid – 2,000,000
1973 Dylan – 900,000
1974 Planet Waves – 2,400,000
1975 Blood on the Tracks – 6,800,000
1975 The Basement Tapes – 1,800,000
1976 Desire – 7,700,000
1978 Street Legal – 3,200,000
1979 Slow Train Coming – 3,600,000
1980 Saved – 1,300,000
1981 Shot of Love – 1,100,000
1983 Infidels – 2,000,000
1985 Empire Burlesque – 1,100,000
1986 Knocked Out Loaded – 800,000
1988 Down in the Groove – 650,000
1989 Oh Mercy – 1,400,000
1990 Under the Red Sky – 900,000
1992 Good as I Been to You – 800,000
1993 World Gone Wrong – 500,000
1997 Time Out of Mind – 2,200,000
2001 Love and Theft – 1,800,000
2006 Modern Times – 2,450,000
2009 Together Through Life – 1,050,000
2009 Christmas in the Heart – 550,000
2012 Tempest – 850,000
2015 Shadows in the Night – 450,000
2016 Fallen Angels – 250,000

Some 37 albums, some 83,35 million units sold. Every LP from his first 24 sold at least 1 million units, all except 1973 Dylan which was actually a collection of outtakes not validated by the artist himself. Bob Dylan never had a studio album crushing the 10 million mark though, far from that as his highest selling LP remains Desire at 7,7 million.

Don’t get it wrong though, the legendary lyricist has been highly successful. From 1964 to 1966, only three artists managed to retain the #1 position in the UK Album chart along with Sound Of Music soundtrack, those artists were the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan who had two back to back chart toppers. During the Beatles era from 1963 to 1970, the longest running #1 artist album was also from Bob Dylan as his 1968 John Wesley Harding led for 13 weeks. In the second half of the 60s he had eight Top 10 albums in the US while latter both Planet Waves and Desire were one month #1 records. This last album was an unbelievable 23 weeks at the top in Spain, but also 8 weeks in the Netherlands, while smashing too in France or Italy. In spite of starting after his best years in 1968, Norwegian charts saw the unreal total of 40 Dylan albums reach the Top 10, while even his bootlegs are hitting #1 in Sweden.

All those facts highlight one key element which is that the artist 1963 to 1975 cult albums haven’t truly big sales only due to the very low market of that time. As a trademark of that situation, despite 16 Top 20 albums including 12 Top 10 / 6 Top 5 / 2 #1s, none of the artist albums up to 1975 reached 1 million units within’ their first two years on charts. Since, extraordinary catalog sales made those records reach 3-5-7 million copies sold in spite of sales spread over countless records.

Speaking of that incredibly large catalog, it obviously creates a favorable background for greatest hits packages. Thus, don’t let it go here as there is much, much more coming within’ the next pages.

2 thoughts on “CSPC: Bob Dylan Popularity Analysis”

  1. He is no doubt a great singer and song-writer!I can,t wait to read posts about another great jewish artist and of of Columbia’s Bs- Barbra Streisand

  2. Hi dear MJD !!!

    more and congratulations for the web site.
    Then it is very beautiful analysis for Bob Dylan, is very detailed even with the various live and many bootleg, you really are a very great scholarly and studious of these great artists (singers and groups). this week I hope you analyze some famous group that I mentioned to you earlier, they are (The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Queen etc.), of course the four groups I mentioned I hope you analyze for first Fab Four (The Beatles).

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