CSPC: Elton John Popularity Analysis

Elton John 2012

Elton John Career CSPC Results

So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each album by Elton John achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!

In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.

#CoverAlbumTotal CSPCSales*StreamsTotal CSPC
Studio AlbumsOther LPsPhysical SinglesDigital SinglesLast verifiedAuto updateDaily Increase
1Empty Sky873,000710,00080,00068,000
(227,000)
9,000
(60,000)
6,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A873,000
2EltonElton John20,505,0002,650,00016,379,000375,000
(1,250,000)
444,000
(2,960,000)
175,000
(02/05/18)
657,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 360
LD: 410
20,505,000
3TumbleweedTumbleweed Connection2,443,0002,090,000292,0009,000
(30,000)
15,000
(100,000)
10,000
(02/05/18)
37,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 20
LD: 20
2,443,000
4Friends548,000440,00014,00093,000
(310,000)
0
(0)
1,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A548,000
5MadmanMadman Across the Water6,692,0003,270,0001,954,000159,000
(530,000)
702,000
(4,680,000)
139,000
(02/05/18)
607,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 350
LD: 330
6,692,000
6HonkyHonky Château16,637,0003,280,00011,502,000624,000
(2,080,000)
426,000
(2,840,000)
163,000
(02/05/18)
805,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 470
LD: 550
16,637,000
7Don'tDon't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player12,177,0005,460,0004,927,0001,338,000
(4,460,000)
152,000
(1,010,000)
67,000
(02/05/18)
300,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 170
LD: 220
12,177,000
8GoodbyeGoodbye Yellow Brick Road31,956,00012,510,00016,232,0001,713,000
(5,710,000)
695,000
(4,630,000)
203,000
(02/05/18)
806,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 450
LD: 500
31,956,000
9CaribouCaribou10,885,0003,760,0005,184,0001,314,000
(4,380,000)
263,000
(1,750,000)
106,000
(02/05/18)
364,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 190
LD: 130
10,885,000
10CaptainCaptain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy8,613,0005,910,0001,222,0001,323,000
(4,410,000)
48,000
(320,000)
27,000
(02/05/18)
110,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 60
LD: 70
8,613,000
11RockRock of the Westies10,068,0002,290,0006,500,000675,000
(2,250,000)
113,000
(750,000)
96,000
(02/05/18)
490,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 290
LD: 300
10,068,000
12BlueBlue Moves6,317,0002,410,0002,955,000780,000
(2,600,000)
47,000
(310,000)
33,000
(02/05/18)
125,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 70
LD: 90
6,317,000
13AA Single Man3,184,0002,410,000157,000582,000
(1,940,000)
11,000
(70,000)
4,000
(02/05/18)
24,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 10
LD: 30
3,184,000
14Victim of Love724,000620,0000102,000
(340,000)
1,000
(10,000)
1,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A724,000
152121 at 332,042,0001,400,000148,000474,000
(1,580,000)
6,000
(40,000)
3,000
(02/05/18)
14,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 10
LD: 10
2,042,000
16TheThe Fox1,356,0001,010,000101,000242,000
(807,000)
1,000
(10,000)
1,000
(02/05/18)
2,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 0
LD: 0
1,356,000
17JumpJump Up!2,453,0001,330,000600,000470,000
(1,567,000)
18,000
(120,000)
8,000
(02/05/18)
35,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 20
LD: 20
2,453,000
18TooToo Low for Zero11,184,0003,350,0005,878,0001,074,000
(3,580,000)
266,000
(1,770,000)
74,000
(02/05/18)
616,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 400
LD: 570
11,184,000
19BreakingBreaking Hearts3,568,0002,530,000293,000702,000
(2,340,000)
8,000
(50,000)
5,000
(02/05/18)
35,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 20
LD: 40
3,568,000
20IceIce on Fire5,031,0002,390,0001,561,000927,000
(3,090,000)
39,000
(260,000)
19,000
(02/05/18)
114,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 70
LD: 90
5,031,000
21Leather Jackets832,000750,0001,00081,000
(270,000)
0
(0)
0
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A832,000
22RegReg Strikes Back2,485,0001,880,00054,000527,000
(1,757,000)
5,000
(30,000)
3,000
(02/05/18)
19,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 10
LD: 20
2,485,000
23SleepingSleeping with the Past9,058,0005,540,0002,243,000870,000
(2,900,000)
96,000
(640,000)
49,000
(02/05/18)
309,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 190
LD: 290
9,058,000
24TheThe One6,364,0005,680,000188,000450,000
(1,500,000)
15,000
(100,000)
9,000
(02/05/18)
31,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 20
LD: 30
6,364,000
25DuetsDuets3,820,0003,550,00012,000240,000
(800,000)
4,000
(30,000)
2,000
(02/05/18)
14,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 10
LD: 10
3,820,000
26MadeMade in England4,164,0003,690,00089,000345,000
(1,150,000)
12,000
(80,000)
8,000
(02/05/18)
28,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 10
LD: 20
4,164,000
27TheThe Big Picture3,404,0003,120,00081,000102,000
(340,000)
41,000
(270,000)
13,000
(02/05/18)
60,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 30
LD: 60
3,404,000
28The Muse100,000100,00000
(0)
0
(0)
0
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A100,000
29The Road to El Dorado337,000300,000036,000
(120,000)
0
(0)
1,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A337,000
30SongsSongs from the West Coast2,134,0001,940,00073,00042,000
(140,000)
26,000
(170,000)
13,000
(02/05/18)
53,000
(10/18/21)
Av.: 30
LD: 40
2,134,000
31Peachtree Road847,000820,0001,00015,000
(50,000)
8,000
(50,000)
3,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A847,000
32The Captain & the Kid410,000390,0005,0002,000
(7,000)
8,000
(50,000)
5,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A410,000
33The Union522,000500,00002,000
(7,000)
12,000
(80,000)
8,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A522,000
34The Diving Board342,000310,0003,0002,000
(7,000)
4,000
(30,000)
23,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A342,000
35Wonderful Crazy Night259,000240,0001,0002,000
(7,000)
2,000
(10,000)
14,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A259,000
36Orphan8,221,00003,670,0003,842,000
(12,807,000)
441,000
(2,940,000)
268,000
(02/05/18)
N/AN/A8,221,000
*Pure sales figures updated on 02/05/18.
'Av.' stands for Average, 'LD' for Last Day.

As a reminder:

  • Studio Album: sales of the original album
  • Other Releases: sales of compilations generated thanks to the album
  • Physical Singles: sales of physical singles from the album (ratio 3/10)
  • Download Singles: sales of digital singles from the album (ratio 1,5/10)
  • Streaming: equivalent album sales of all the album tracks (ratio 1/1500 for Audio stream and 1/11750 for Video stream)

See where the artist ranks among remaining singers


With no surprise Goodbye Yellow Brick Road comes out on top with an impressive 31,35 million units, a figure that puts it almost on a par with albums like the Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Michael Jackson‘s HIStory. The album has strong results in every possible format.

The runner up was less expected. Elton John finishes with over 20 million comprehensive album sales generated, an incredible showing for an album which sold only 2,65 million sales with the proper studio album. It joins the likes of Billy Joel‘s Piano Man and Bob Marley‘s Natty Dread among early albums which haven’t sold that much upon release, but paved the way to an immense career with one iconic song that started it all. Honky Château is a solid third at 16 million.

Caribou and Too Low For Zero are almost tied at 10,6 million, followed closely by Rock of the Westies, Sleeping with the Past and Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, all inside a 2 million range. Closing the Top 10 are The One and Blue Moves, which edges out Madman Across the Water by only 1,000 copies at over 6,2 million.

Not all his albums have done so well, with as many as 17 releases on 2,5 million equivalent album sales or less. Does it really matter though? The point is that John accumulated countless successful albums and singles with a catalog matched by very few.

In total, Elton John shifted 196,1 million equivalent album sales across his immense career. If we can’t know if his Farewell tour will really be the last, what’s safe to say is that it will help the icon to shoot to over 200 million during the upcoming years.

The following pages list his most successful songs as well as his records and achievements. Do not forget to check our amazing cross-artists lists posted inside the CSPC: Data Collector which includes the full listing of all CSPC results compiled so far to better gauge his position in the history of the music industry.

As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!

Sources: IFPI, Spotify, YouTube, Chartmasters.org.

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obro

hi, coming back to this article im curious as total of dont let the sun go down on me. what are the separate sales for the original and the george michael duet?

ojd

hello what are the total AES for George Michael and Elton John’s version of Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me??

MSchr

What about “Don’t go breaking my heart”? It doesn’t appear on the list although it may have been his biggest hit single during the 70s.

MSchr

Hallo,
perhaps I’m too blind to find it. I’m not refering to the 1993 version from the Duets album. The original version from 1976 is not on the list with the physical singles. If I overlooked it please tell me.

Mauricio

It *is* on the physical singles list, but it’s missing from the digital singles list.

MSchr

On which page exactly? I’m sorry, but I’m still confused because it’s not listed under “Rock of the Westies”.

Lance

I think that would be fair weight to the extra value of the good box sets. Certainally the people who bought”to be continued” wouldn’t have ran out and bought all the studio albums that made it up. They would have probably bought volume I, II and maybe III of his greatest hits, but the box set had some nice extras in it. So I think if that was given a weight of 2 albums that would be a logical offset. On the other hand, I think if the best of Led Zeppelin would have come out prior to the Led… Read more »

Lance

Wow, awesome article. I really thought Elton would finish higher, but still an amazing figure. One thing I was wondering about is why a box set, like “to be continued” is only counted as one unit in the CSPC. I remember buying that box set when it came out, because next to Led Zeppelin it was one of the most comprehensive box sets ever released, and as I recall it was in the neighborhood of $60.00, the equivalent of about 5 or 6 regular album sales at the time. On the other hand Queen’s Platinum Collection was counted 3 times… Read more »

Raffi

Hi Lance! Interesting question there! Though MJD might explain it further, I believe the main reason for this is because of the nature of the 2 sets. Both are classified as box sets by Wikipedia, but here, Queen’s Platinum Collection is definitely a box set, while To Be Continued is classified as a compilation set. I believe the reason here is because the 3 discs on The Platinum Collection have the same track list as their 3 Greatest Hits Album (I,II and III). Thus, when this box set was released, it cannibalized the catalog sales of all those 3 albums.… Read more »

Raffi

Apparently, MJD also referred to this situation as well!

MJD: Elton really suffers from an exploitation of his catalog that doesn’t benefit sales units. First, he never had a major selling box set. The only one close to that, To Be Continued…, was a ‘new’ package rather than already existing sets put together.

I hope this answers your question!

Lance

I see the logic in it, and I also understand that this site measures popularity and not necessarily the monetary value of sales created the way Billboard tries to, which I think is good because a double album that sells 7 million albums isn’t more popular then a single album that sells 13 million albums. However, I’d argue the 350,000 copies of “to be continued” cannibalized several times that number in studio albums and compilations because it was such a comprehensive set, just as Queen Platnum and the individual Greatest hits albums that made it up cannibalized it’s back catalog,… Read more »

RLAAMJR.

Hi MJD, perhaps a bonus article for your top 10 greatest superbowl halftime shows ever?

Che1967

I also think Candle in the Wind (the charity single) should be included in Elton John’s total. It may be an outlier and not truly reflective of his popularity but Elton’s popularity coupled with his musical ability in co-writing the song and adjusting the lyrics helped it sell 30 million copies. If that song had been recorded by any other singer (Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, David Bowie, George Michael, Billy Joel, Liam Gallagher etc) it would not have sold any where near that number. The original was written about Marilyn Monroe and this version adapted for Lady Di, both women… Read more »

RLAAMJR.

I can see why MJD didnt include sales of the Titanic album soundtrack to Celine Dion’s name but not including Candle In The Wind to Elton John’s is definitely unacceptable.

QueenBarbra

But Billboard awarded Celine the soundtrack’s album of year award , and receive name also wrote her

RLAAMJR.

You have a point. The Bodyguard sales was added to Whitney Houston’s sales. And since Kevin Costner’s name is also on the album cover, then Kevin Costner should also share the sales with Whitney.

QueenBarbra

I point Billboard recognizeed Titanic soundtrack as Celine’s album, present award to her: the name refer to the award

QueenBarbra

https://www.billboardmusicawards.com/winners-database/?winnerKeyword=&winnerYear=1998&winnerCategory=
1998 Album of the Year
Celine Dion “Titanic”
1998 Soundtrack Album of the Year
Celine Dion “Titanic”

RLAAMJR.

I was thinking about this matter last night and today and thinking Madonna shouldnt be credited for the sales of Evite because it was for Evita. But when i tried to weigh things more, I have realized that you are more right than what i think is right. So im sorry but now, I agree with you. 🙂

Nathan

I agree that CITW should be added to Elton’s sales.
I can certainly see the charity aspect, but it is:
1. A Taupin/John penned song
2. Performed by no one else but Elton John
3. Released as a single by Elton John
4. Performed live at Diana’s funeral in front of a billion people by Elton John

But in my mind, I also add groups and solo artists for totals like MJ and Jacksons/J5 together, so no biggie

Nuclear dolphin

I think AC/DC may have a shot at 200 million! Only them and Elvis are left. There are sources on the net that say AC/DC sold more albums than Queen, U2 or The Stones. It’s gonna be close folks! Prepare for a surprise!

pat200

i doubt they will be more than 180 million but we shall see.

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