CSPC: AC/DC Popularity Analysis

AC/DC Donostia 1981

Physical Singles Sales – The 80s
Back in Black (1980) – 554,000 equivalent albums

You Shook Me All Night Long – 740,000
Hells Bells – 540,000
Back in Black – 320,000
Rock and Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution – 150,000
You Shook Me All Night Long (1986, reissue) – 90,000
Shoot to Thrill (2011) – 5,000

For Those About to Rock We Salute You (1981) – 228,000 equivalent albums

Let’s Get It Up – 410,000
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You) – 350,000

Flick of the Switch (1983) – 102,000 equivalent albums

Guns for Hire – 230,000
Nervous Shakedown – 70,000
Flick of the Switch – 40,000

Fly on the Wall (1985) – 44,000 equivalent albums

Danger – 50,000
Sink the Pink – 5,000
Shake Your Foundations – 90,000

Blow Up Your Video (1988) – 90,000 equivalent albums

Heatseeker – 210,000
That’s the Way I Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll – 90,000

Somewhat surprisingly, Back in Black is only the 3rd biggest single from their 1980 smash. The biggest one is the album’s lead single You Shook Me All Night Long – their first top 40 hit in the US. For Those About To Rock also delivered two decent singles, but AC/DC‘s drop in album sales during the rest of the 80s is mirrored in these single sales.

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Analord

T.N.T. just crossed 500m on Spotify, their fifth song to do so. There are only two other 20th century acts who can match that, Guns N’ Roses with also five songs (Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door is at 509m) and of course Queen who have… eleven songs over 500m 😆

Analord

Oh I missed Elton John :

Rocket Man 788m
Your Song 620m
Tiny Dancer 583m
I’m Still Standing 579m
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 536m

Martin

There’s also Fleetwood Mac;
Dreams 1113m
The Chain 774m
Go Your Own Way 712m
Everywhere 582m
Landslide 519m

The Rolling Stones are getting there
Paint It Black 792m
(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction 552m
Sympathy For The Devil 462m
Start Me Up 459m
Gimme Shelter 457m

and obviously the RHCP, who have 4 from the 90s and 3 from the 00s.

Analord

I’m not including live versions though, I don’t think it makes much sense personally… In any case, Landslide has 488m streams so it will reach 500m very soon indeed.

Nick

The Beatles are also getting there too:

Here Comes the Sun–893m
Come Together–552m
Let It Be–509m
Hey Jude–470m
Yesterday–451m

Analord

I just looked at his digital sales and there are some wild differences when it comes to what used to be his most popular songs : Tiny Dancer 4.2m Your Song 2.7m Rocket Man 2.6m Bennie & The Jets 2.1m (338m streams) Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1.1m (224) I’m Still Standing 1.1m ! Can You Feel The Love Tonight 0.9m (238) Candle In The Wind 0.9m (129) Step Into Christmas 0.8m (192) Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 0.7m !! AC/DC’s Highway To Hell is also an interesting case, only 50% of Back In Black’s sales but now they both have… Read more »

Nick

That movie Rocket Man changed things. I think Elton’s streams were way lower prior to the movie, in fact I think Madonna was outstreaming him prior to the movie (could be wrong about that one though).

Analord

February 2018 (15 months before the movie) : Like A Prayer 85m Material Girl 63m Like A Virgin 58m Vogue 52m La Isla Bonita 46m Holiday 28m Into The Groove 24m Frozen 23m Papa Don’t Preach 23m Ray Of Light 17m Your Song 132m Rocket Man 130m Tiny Dancer 111m Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 83m Can You Feel The Love Tonight 69m Bennie & The Jets 68m Step Into Christmas 45m I’m Still Standing 38m Candle In The Wind 36m Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 36m As you can see, it was already very different from his digital sales, just… Read more »

Nick

Thanks for backing up with data! Interesting that Madonna’s streams are way worse than her digital sales. She outsold The Beatles, (due to them releasing their catalogue very late on itunes), Elvis, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin, Elton (by a lot) and U2. But now she lags behind all of them.

Analord

But that’s largely because she was still very successful in the 2000s, a song like 4 Minutes sold 5m copies for example, but Material Girl or Like A Virgin only sold 1m… Compared with Elton :

Tiny Dancer 4.2m
Your Song 2.7m
Rocket Man 2.6m
Bennie & The Jets 2.1m
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road 1.1m

So her back catalog was already much less popular despite her being much more relevant during the 2000s… She also sold more than AC/DC :

Back In Black 5.9m
Thunderstruck 4.3m
You Shook Me All Night Long 3.7m
Highway To Hell 3.1m
Hells Bells 2.1m

Nick

Great data, thank you!

Martin

Not that Rumours is not insanely popular anyway, but Dreams has went crazy, since that Tik Tok guy on the skateboard.

I’ve not really been following the pre 2000 songs much of late, will AC/DC have 3 over 1B, before anybody else has 2?

Last edited 8 months ago by Martin
Thomas Christiansen

Yes they will. Besides Queen of course. They already have 4.

Martin

Yeah, that’s what I meant, excluding Queen.

Analord

Californication was released in the summer of 2000 though, the album is from 1999 but I think the most important thing is when did these songs became famous.

About AC/DC, let’s not forget that they arrived late on Spotify (2015), if not Highway To Hell would’ve probably reach 1B already, and Thunderstruck would be very close.

Thomas Christiansen

Californication was indeed released as the 4th single from the album in may 2000. But the album, and first 3 singles, were released in 1999. The album debuted and peaked at #3 in June 1999. Therefore I consider all it’s songs released pre-2000. However, it is possible the song benefitted from being fairly recent when Spotify began. I have a list of top pre-2000 songs dated feb. 2018 on which Californication rank as #10. 4 years later (jan. 2022) it’s down to #25. So it’s popularity is fading somewhat compared to the other oldies on the list. But the same… Read more »

Analord

Yeah it’s possible that Under The Bridge’s popularity is partly explained by the Chilis’ massive success during the 1999-2006 period, so even though the song is from 1991 its trajectory might be closer to a song from 2000 or so.

Btw I truly have no idea why my post got so many downvotes… I’m gonna assume there’s some weirdo out there with fake accounts who doesn’t like me 😆