H) Billy Joel – Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2
This may seem quite random since he is regarded as a typical US artist in Europe, but Billy Joel has been huge since the end of the 70s all over Asia. One of the first foreign artists to get his albums officially released in China along with Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, he also sold massive numbers in Japan. From 1978 to 1983, the five albums he released plus one live all sold in the 240-500,000 units range as per Oricon initial figures only.
Logically, this golden era resulted into a compilation release, 1985 set Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & 2. Within’ six months only, this package sold an impressive 726,000 units on all formats. Later, in 1999, it was certified 3xPlatinum for 600,000. Logical? Yes, but not for the reasons you believe. In fact, those two figures of 726,000 and 600,000 units do not have a single copy in common. The first one was achieved in late 1985 / early 1986 while the second one came from November 1987 reissue only, a reissue which ironically sold supposedly only 24,000 units as per Oricon.
BILLY JOEL = Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2 = G = 100,000 = May-91
BILLY JOEL = Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2 = P = 200,000 = November-92
BILLY JOEL = Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2 = PP = 400,000 = March-95
BILLY JOEL = Greatest Hits Volume 1 & 2 = PPP = 600,000 = October-99
As you can see, those 600,000 units certified got reached off the radar thanks to continuous catalog sales. The album kept selling roughly 100,000 units every 18 months, close to 1,500 units a week, without ever appearing inside Oricon ranking except the first few weeks.
In spite of the release of The Ultimate Collection in 2000, once charts got extended to a Top 300, the 1985 best of randomly re-entered for 8 weeks in 2003/2004, selling an average of 900 copies a week on each of them.
If the first run of the album revealed only 240,000 sales at the time – only LP sales were reported to Medias – this album shipped an estimated 2 million units since its release at 1,1 million 1985-89, 600,000 1989-1999 and 300,000 units since. The album could have been even higher but its profile got downgraded a lot by 2005 release of Piano Man – The Very Best Of Billy Joel.
In the meantime, please note both 52nd Street and The Stranger got certified for 100,000 sales in 1994/1995 for their CD reissue sales only. Both of them along with An Innocent Man are close to the million mark, an incredible showing from the artist.