CSPC: Elton John Popularity Analysis

Elton John 2009

It’s not necessary to believe that the freshly announced Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour is the last Elton John will ever do. After all, it’s a basic marketing trick. Michael Jackson, Cher and John himself announced on numerous occassions a final tour yet ended up going back on the road. What we can believe though is that the British pop star has enjoyed an incredibly successful career.

It all started in early 1971 with Your Song, a Top 10 hit in both the US and the UK. Soon Rocket Man, then Crocodile Rock, then Daniel confirmed the new status of John as a big pop star. This was only the beginning of a success story that was going to last for 30 years.

John wasn’t always an evergreen seller though. He had various flop albums, he struggled an awful lot to break several markets, and his studio albums are mostly ignored today. He may not have been one of the very top sellers throughout his career, but his ability to rebound again and again has been amazing concluding on impressive totals today.

As usual, I’ll be using the Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept in order to relevantly gauge his results. This concept will not only bring you sales information for all John‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming, but it will also determine their true popularity. If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, the next page explains it with a short video. I fully recommend watching the video before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the figures.

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Daydreamer

MJD, you included ‘Somebody to Love’ live, 1993 – (400,000) in the Queen’s physical Singles sales. This version was played at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, and was performed by George Michael. The track was released on an EP called Five Live (George Michael and Queen). If this version of ‘Somebody to Love’ is included in Queen’s CSPC, then maybe Elton’s version of CIDW from the 1997 should also be included in the Elton’s CSPC as well?

RLAAMJR.

MJD, so if we actually include Candle In The Wind for Queen Diana’s death then, then Elton John should have reached more than 200 million EAS right?

Also i thought Skyline Pigeon is one of his bestselling singles. I was wrong.

Dan

With CIDW97, he would be exactly at 205 million.

RLAAMJR.

But can we call him a legend even when he hasnt really had extraordinary sales? i mean i know he currently ranks 9th best selling music artists ever and has total eas of nearly 200 million but again, he also released more than 35 albums. Even Prince who has a lower total is being considered as a legend. I cant blame people saying Elton John is a legend cos at least his total eas shows it but Prince for me isnt. And i agree with Justin Bieber saying Prince is not the last living legend and people were mad at… Read more »

Nuclear dolphin

The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, Brian May, AC/DC, Metallica, Guns N Roses, Paul McCartney, Aerosmith, Dave Gilmour, Roger Waters, Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Black Sabbath. These guys are living legends!

Daydreamer

Every generation has own legends/idols, whether we like it or not. For many (older) people the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elton John…e.g. are not a true legends, but Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters….Legends never Die! 🙂

Daydreamer

If Elton is legend with 35 albums, then what to say about Frank Zappa? Frank Zappa has released 119 albums! 100 studio albums, 13 compilations and 6 rock operas. MJD can you imagine the time needed for Zappa’s CSPC? 🙂

Nathan

Legends aren’t based soley on numbers of albums sold. It is about so many things………many of them intangible. Creating a new style of music, making a style of music popular that wasn’t before, being one of the most popular stars of their generation, longevity over decades, timeless songwriting, stage presence, influence on other artists, things they do outside of music…….like charity and philanthropy, being versatile outside of music………like acting, etc.etc. Nirvana are Legends( One could argue that Jane’s Addiction paved the way for grunge……….making them Legends) Frank Zappa could be considered a legend Bob Marley could be,……….no, IS a Legend… Read more »

Daydreamer

Of course, legends aren’t based soley on numbers of albums. Syd Barrett is a LEGEND, although he only participated in the two of Pink Floyd studio albums.

Raffi

Hi RLAAMJR! With all due respect, although this is a site about charts and sales, the matter of a fact is that legendary status is not solely based on commercial success. As MJD pointed out, having a vast catalog and being able to produce music for so long is a proof of a long lasting appeal of an artist. Moreover, aside from commercial success, legendary status, while subjective sometimes, is also based on a mix of cultural impact, longevity, artistic influences etc. Take MJ as an example, when people think of the legacy of Thriller, most would not automatically think… Read more »

Dan

A little unrelated, but how do Raffi, MJD and some other people have a profile pic, while the rest have just a white figure? It that just for the site’s managers? 🙂

Michael

I read the total album sales page first, and it didn’t really look that impressive. But when I read the CSPC results, it was a totally different story. Guess he is a better single seller and better compilation album seller.

RLAAMJR.

I mean his best selling single didnt reach 20 million.

Raffi

Hi RLAAMJR! I assume you’re talking about the units showed on page 85. Firstly. those numbers refer to success of the song rather than sales (meaning using ratios in the analysis to calculate the success of a song), in case you didn’t know that! Second, having a song at nearly 19m equivalent units is already huge! Think of the most streamed pre-2000 song on Spotify, Wonderwall by Oasis. Even that song has equivalent sales of under 15m units! The same case for all Mariah Carey singles, but are they not hugely successful? Absolutely not! In the case of Elton’s Your… Read more »

RLAAMJR.

He has released more than 30 albums but only one album has sold more than 10 million copies. And his best-selling single didnt at least reach more than 15 million

Rell

His american sales are truly impressive. On the contrary, I thought he had been a much bigger seller in the UK so I’m kinda disappointed. Thank you !
How is he ranked among Australia’s best selling male singer ? Second (Michael Jackson being #1, I guess) ?

Dan

Actually, he outsold MJ in Australia. In fact, of all the analyses that do that kind of distribution by countries, i haven’t found anyone who sold more than him in the land down under. I’m guessing The Beatles sold more there, but it’s just a guess.

Daydreamer

I believe ABBA is the best selling group/artist in the Australia, ever. E.g “Best of ABBA” is considered the biggest selling album in Australia and New Zealand history. “ABBA Gold” is among the top five best selling albums ever in Australia and New Zealand. Furthemore, at least four of ABBA albums are certified 10x platinum in Australia

Dan

Also forgot about AC/DC, pretty sure they also outsold him there, it’s only natural.

Raffi

To confirm all doubts, here are the top selling album artists in Australia for artists studied so far, with figures provided by MJD: 1. ABBA 5,705,000 2. Elton John 5,440,000 3. The Beatles 5,377,000 4. MJ 5,360,000 (without J5, who sold 1,100,000) These 4 artists are the only artists studied so far that have crossed the impressive 5m mark. AC/DC are real contenders to top this list with certs at over 6m, though they are sometimes often misleading. Artists below the list who crossed 4m include Pink Floyd (4,82m), Billy Joel (4,63m) and Madonna (4,36m) As for Elton, what is… Read more »

Dan

I’m a little surprised that Oasis outsold him in the UK.

Daydreamer

He released thirty(30) studio albums, the Eagles released seven(7) studio albums. But still, there is not a big difference between their total CSPC numbers.

RLAAMJR.

Wasnt surprised at all. I always thought his sales were inflated

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