CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis

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How a third of us would rather be living in the Swinging 60s


The list of most successful songs is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each of them. It includes the song own physical singles sales with a 0,3 weighting, its download and streaming sales with appropriate weighting too plus its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.

1 1963 – I Want to Hold Your Hand [Orphan] – 15,690,000
2 1970 – Let It Be [Let It Be] – 15,420,000
3 1965 – Yesterday [Help!] – 12,920,000
4 1969 – Come Together [Abbey Road] – 12,870,000
5 1968 – Hey Jude [Orphan] – 12,090,000
6 1969 – Here Comes the Sun [Abbey Road] – 11,460,000
7 1962 – Love Me Do [Please Please Me] – 11,040,000
8 1964 – A Hard Day’s Night [A Hard Day’s Night] – 9,820,000
9 1963 – Twist and Shout [Please Please Me] – 9,800,000
10 1964 – Can’t Buy Me Love [A Hard Day’s Night] – 9,230,000
11 1965 – Help! [Help!] – 9,030,000
12 1963 – She Loves You [Orphan] – 8,430,000
13 1969 – Get Back [Let It Be] – 8,140,000
14 1967 – All You Need Is Love [Magical Mystery Tour] – 7,900,000
15 1966 – Yellow Submarine [Revolver] – 7,890,000
16 1964 – Eight Days a Week [Beatles for Sale] – 6,820,000
17 1969 – Something [Abbey Road] – 6,440,000
18 1966 – Eleanor Rigby [Revolver] – 6,290,000
19 1965 – In My Life [Rubber Soul] – 6,200,000
20 1965 – Ticket to Ride [Help!] – 6,180,000
21 1967 – Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 5,990,000
22 1967 – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 5,580,000
23 1967 – Penny Lane [Magical Mystery Tour] – 5,540,000
24 1967 – Hello, Goodbye [Magical Mystery Tour] – 5,440,000
25 1964 – I Feel Fine [Orphan] – 5,400,000
26 1967 – A Day in the Life [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 4,960,000
27 1965 – Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) [Rubber Soul] – 4,610,000
28 1967 – With a Little Help from My Friends [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 4,050,000
29 1963 – All My Loving [With the Beatles] – 4,010,000
30 1968 – While My Guitar Gently Weeps [The Beatles (White Album)] – 3,860,000
31 1968 – Blackbird [The Beatles (White Album)] – 3,850,000
32 1970 – The Long and Winding Road [Let It Be] – 3,680,000
33 1965 – Day Tripper [Orphan] – 3,560,000
34 1968 – Revolution [The Beatles (White Album)] – 3,350,000
35 1966 – Paperback Writer [Orphan] – 3,150,000
36 1965 – We Can Work It Out [Orphan] – 3,060,000
37 1964 – And I Love Her [A Hard Day’s Night] – 3,030,000
38 1963 – I Saw Her Standing There [Please Please Me] – 3,020,000
39 1968 – Lady Madonna [Orphan] – 2,880,000
40 1963 – From Me to You [Orphan] – 2,850,000
41 1967 – Strawberry Fields Forever [Magical Mystery Tour] – 2,810,000
42 1970 – Across the Universe [Let It Be] – 2,740,000
43 1967 – I Am the Walrus [Magical Mystery Tour] – 2,670,000
44 1968 – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da [The Beatles (White Album)] – 2,660,000
45 1965 – Michelle [Rubber Soul] – 2,390,000
46 1969 – The Ballad of John and Yoko [Orphan] – 2,310,000
47 1965 – Nowhere Man [Rubber Soul] – 2,240,000
48 1967 – When I’m Sixty-Four [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 2,060,000
49 1965 – Drive My Car [Rubber Soul] – 2,010,000
50 1968 – Back in the U.S.S.R. [The Beatles (White Album)] – 2,000,000
51 1969 – Octopus’s Garden [Abbey Road] – 1,870,000
52 1963 – Please Please Me [Please Please Me] – 1,840,000
53 1967 – She’s Leaving Home [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 1,810,000
54 1963 – Till There Was You [With the Beatles] – 1,640,000
55 1965 – You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away [Help!] – 1,630,000
56 1963 – Roll Over Beethoven [With the Beatles] – 1,620,000
57 1966 – Got to Get You into My Life [Revolver] – 1,580,000
58 1965 – Girl [Rubber Soul] – 1,550,000
59 1967 – The Fool on the Hill [Magical Mystery Tour] – 1,470,000
60 1969 – Oh! Darling [Abbey Road] – 1,420,000
61 1967 – Getting Better [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 1,390,000
62 1968 – Helter Skelter [The Beatles (White Album)] – 1,250,000
63 1966 – Taxman [Revolver] – 1,240,000
63 1967 – Within You Without You [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 1,240,000
65 1969 – Because [Abbey Road] – 1,230,000
66 1969 – Hey Bulldog [Yellow Submarine] – 1,220,000
67 1967 – Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 1,200,000
68 1967 – Lovely Rita [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 1,170,000
69 1967 – Fixing a Hole [Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band] – 1,150,000
70 1964 – Rock and Roll Music [Beatles for Sale] – 1,120,000
71 1969 – Don’t Let Me Down [Orphan] – 1,060,000
72 1969 – I Want You (She’s So Heavy) [Abbey Road] – 1,040,000
72 1963 – Do You Want to Know a Secret? [Please Please Me] – 1,040,000
72 1964 – I’ll Follow the Sun [Beatles for Sale] – 1,040,000
75 1961 – My Bonnie [Orphan] – 1,030,000

34 thoughts on “CSPC: The Beatles Popularity Analysis”

  1. holy moly you guys this is epic!! i knew you were working on something huge!! phenomenal job. wow. i need to read this article a few more times again to fully grasp everything. once again, all 3 of you, BRAVO!!!

  2. Fantastic job! I’ve waited for this moment!!!

    I also noticed these massive sales from Argentina. Their studio albums sold more there than in much larger markets like France, Brazil and Australia, do you know if there’s any particular reason for that?

    1. Hi Al,

      Thanks for your comments and we are very glad you liked the article, that was our purpose!

      As for Argentina, there are a number of reasons, some related to the market’s size and others to the cultural impact made by British groups, starting from The Beatles.

      The first thing to mention is that Argentina isn’t a very strong market now, but it was quite big (let’s say medium-to-big level) until the mid 70s. For instance, 32 million albums and singles were sold during 1975, more than in several key markets like Netherlands, Spain and even slightly bigger than Italy. The Argentinean market was similar, in size, to that of Mexico or Brazil despite the latter two countries being then and now far more populated. If we go further back in time, the mid to late 60s, the Argentinean market was actually the biggest in Latin America. Argentina is almost a unique case in the following sense: the local market was almost in better shape from about 1964 to 1975 than from 1976 to about 1990, which favoured The Beatles.

      The market returned to a big level during the 90s -athough this was a worldwide phenomenon-, in time for the public to start buying The Beatles’ stuff in CD format, whose explosion occurred in 1992/1993.

      And then, of course, we have the cultural reasons, which exceeds the content of the article and would need to be studied more deeply in the future. But Argentina has always had a positive bias toward British groups. The most populated and richer zone of the country is the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires, a highly cosmopolitan city and massively open to the music of the world, notably foreign rock/pop and the British one in particular.

      It is a combo that perfectly benefitted The Beatles, I would say.

      1. Thank you for the answer!

        Do you know if The Beatles are the best selling artist of all time in Argentina? (in album sales)

        1. Counting foreign music not sung in Spanish, they are the very best selling act ever and by a huge margin.

          Counting all sort of acts, disregarding the language, then Luis Miguel is likely to have sold a similar amount or even slightly bigger. That would take some research and no doubt that Luis Miguel will eventually be covered on Chartmasters.

          Julio Iglesias and Sandro (local singer) are both very strong selling artists, but highly unlikely to rival The Beatles in albums sales.

          So The Beatles are likely to be either the very best selling act in Argentina or the second best selling, easily the best selling non-Spanish act.

    1. Yes I can’t see either topping The Beatles. I’d also imagine that while MJ (if analysed) will not be an easy or quick task to undertake, Presley (if analysed) would be an absolute nightmare given the plethora of different titles released under his name, globally and locally. I certainly wouldn’t like to undertake the that mission lol

  3. I appreciate your work. Thanks for showing how amazingly well the Fab Four did! The orphan album is just so massive, wow!

    I am hoping for you to finally cover Mariah Carey for her birthday on the 27th of March! See ya!

  4. I was wondering, have you tried putting these figures on Wikipedia, I know the editors there are pretty strict but if these figures are correct (or at least in the same ballpark) then why not put them there?

  5. Very interesting reading and historical overview. Enormous amount of work and documentation are involved here.
    Anyway, I am very surprise by the amount of record sold in south america, especially if the sixties and seventies are concerned.
    This is what I found in Cashbox 1968-7-6 :
    “Sales figures in Argentina remained at the same level of 66/67, with strong hits selling between 60.000 and 100.000 (singles), LP’s ranging from 30.000 to 60.000 and many best sellers lits not surpassing the 15.000 mark.”
    This is about the same than Spain when per hit “Delilah” by Tom Jones did 125.000.

    1. Hi Grendizer!

      In all countries, including in Latin America, sales during the 60s represent only a small fraction of their albums sales to date. Their albums have been tremendous catalog sellers ever since the first day.

  6. Amazing job!

    you have a new follower in latin america . Could you please post the BONUS: Total Album (all types) Sales per Country for the Beatles? please!!

    Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Hi John,

      There is an entire page (25) demonstrating the real sales of Sgt Pepper’s in the UK. The 5 million plus figure is pure fantasy from Alan Jones.

    1. Hi John,

      All countries aren’t listed, which doesn’t mean they have been ignored – in fact if you add detailed countries numbers and the Worldwide total you will be able to see the difference.

      As for Africa or India, their markets are tiny / non-existent depending on the period. Up to the mid-80s their records weren’t issued in most Asian / African countries. Even in latter years, only South Africa, Turkey and Israel developed some kind of an album market, the rest of the continent was relying exclusively on pirated records and a few imports.

  7. Hello MJD !!!
    Due to keep blocking or removal Apple many videos on YouTube have been removed, so imagine that YouTube streaming of The Beatles is disappointing,insignificant or irrelevant.
    What do you think about it ? I’m curious about your opinion !!

    1. Hi Pelvis,

      The lack of continuity of songs on streaming services in general is obviously an issue. I try to collect as many streams as possible – and manage to access in direct to disabled pages of Spotify to get streams of currently unavailable songs – but if a video is suddenly deleted from YouTube before I log its views they will be effectively “lost”. Very often, the same videos are re-uploaded, plus YouTube equivalent sales are still kind of irrelevant for historical artists like the Beatles so the impact is quite minimal still. I’m confident that all songs will be consistently available on YouTube / Spotify in the future when it will be impossible to ignore streaming for labels.

      1. Hello MJD, would it be possible to add total albums per country
        and records and achivements for The Beatles ?..Thanks in advance
        for your work on this site 🙂

      2. Thank dear MJD for the full answers, then noticing the section of the orphane songs I saw that 2 songs are missing : All Things Must Pass (demo) which is present in the Anthology 3 and Fly On The Wall (Interview – Let it Be…Naked) (Medley).
        I think you upgrade the Beatles with their respective YouTube streaming towards the beginning of March 2018. Did I Guess ?

  8. Then when you will see their respective videos on YouTube I noticed that some videos find them without putting the article The preceding into the word Beatles.

  9. Unreal achievement. Backstreet Boys and Nsync are nowhere near where they are at their peak. Dont let me even begin with one direction. I was too young to know. However, my father who was a big huge fan of the Beatles and used to play so many2 60s singers CD in our hi-fi back when I was a kid, used to tell me that top singers like Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross & The Supremes, Elton John, Cher, are all just a 2nd rate singers compared to The Beatles. Such a legend.

  10. Geoff Emerick just posted a picture of him recieving an award
    for Anthology 1 for sales of more than 8 million..You can see
    the picture in the FB group ” The magnificent Beatles videos and photos room.

  11. Today “Come Together” reached 1oo million streams on spotify,
    the second song from “Abbey Road”, the first was “Here Comes The Sun”.
    “Abbey Road” total now is 432,741,690.

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