Original Album Sales – Comments
1967 Bee Gees’ 1st – 1,350,000
1968 Horizontal – 1,200,000
1968 Idea – 1,250,000
1969 Odessa – 1,200,000
1970 Cucumber Castle – 350,000
1970 2 Years On – 400,000
1971 Trafalgar – 600,000
1972 To Whom It May Concern – 650,000
1973 Life in a Tin Can – 500,000
1974 Mr. Natural – 325,000
1975 Main Course – 2,800,000
1976 Children of the World – 3,000,000
1977 Saturday Night Fever – 34,800,000
1979 Spirits Having Flown – 11,700,000
1981 Living Eyes – 1,000,000
1983 Staying Alive – 3,550,000
1987 E.S.P. – 2,700,000
1989 One – 1,250,000
1991 High Civilization – 1,300,000
1993 Size Isn’t Everything – 900,000
1997 Still Waters – 3,600,000
2001 This Is Where I Came In – 1,100,000
Over the course of 22 studio LPs, from their first international release, the Bee Gees moved 75,5 million albums. If the average of 3,4 million units per album seems low already, considering 46,5 million copies come from two albums only, excluding those two albums leads to a median of a mere 1,22 million.
A one-album wonder, next! Well, not really. It is the strength of the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept to erase exploitation gaps between distinct artists. While acts like the Beatles had their studio albums extensively promoted over various decades, Polygram / Universal constructed the Bee Gees’ catalog differently.
Their first four albums sold very well upon release, hitting the top 10 or even #1 in most countries. The Bee Gees were even one of the very first acts to expand beyond the usual English-speaking territories, finding incredible successful all over Latin America and Asia while breaking records in South Africa. Markets were heavily singles-based rather than albums-based back then. During the first half of the 70s, when the LP started to grow, the band’s fame collapsed. Then, when their attractiveness climbed immensely after the release of Saturday Night Fever, most of their pre-1975 albums were out of print. Instead, various labels issued tons of compilations, standard priced or budget ones, covering their early hits. This situation remained true most of their career – Saturday Night Fever and Spirits Having Flown are the only two studio albums from the group that can be found at music retailers without struggling to find them. Well, not struggling too much at least. Of course, all those compilations that took over the band’s catalog appeal will be treated in the related section later on in this article.
We can’t avoid commenting on Saturday Night Fever’s total of 34,8 million units. It falls short of the 38,1 million copies shifted by Grease, in spite of outselling it by 22 to 15 million during their promotional periods. The last word hasn’t been said yet, however…
One last point about pure album sales, of course Spirits Having Flown hasn’t sold 20 million units as widely reported for so long, including by Billboard in 1997. That figure wasn’t only about the album, but included sales of its singles too. A smooth transition, as those physical singles sales are going to be displayed on the following pages!