33 Iconic Albums From The 60s

Biggest Albums of the 60s

We continue our celebration of Spotify’s 10th birthday by going through the most streamed albums from the 60s. The domination of the Beatles over this decade was incredibly massive back then, do they remain the go-to act from this period though? They do have a lot of competition…

There is a lot to learn by putting head to head data from a new format and raw sales of recordings from the past. When we focus in the 60s, there is two claims regarded as uncontestable that leave us wondering which artists will emerge on top. The first is that the 60s is the decade of Classic Rock, the second is that streaming listeners are almost exclusively fans of urban music. This latter claim is often made when trying to explain why hip-hop rules charts these days. If true, it would imply a much weaker impact of Classic Rock in general and the Beatles in particular on below ranking.

Since the 60s saw the album format as a form of art explode, we should see much more LPs with relevant streaming numbers these days from this decade than from older years. We do, while only 10 pre-1960 albums add for more than 100 million streams on Spotify, there is 33 that top 200 million from the 60s. The way records labels axed their promotional campaigns over albums after the explosion of the Beatles remains strongly visible since the list includes 6 LPs issued in 1960-1964 against 27 from 1965-1969. How many of them can you guess?

 

 

Please read following titles as Rank. Artist – Album – Streams

33. 1964 – BeatlesA Hard Day’s Night202,554,000

It seems that was already written. The Beatles open this list with their 1964 Soundtrack A Hard Day’s Night. The title track is the album’s strongest asset with 58 million streams, followed by Can’t Be Me Love at 47 million. And I Love Her takes the bronze mdal at 27 million.

The weakest song is When I Get Home with 2,5 million plays which remains a consistent number for a 54-years old album cut.

As an illustration of how strong this number is, the last US Hot 100 #1 smash before the invasion of the group in early 1964 was Bobby Vinton‘s There! I’ve Said It Again which stands at 835,000 streams to date.

 

 

32. 1968 – Aretha FranklinAretha Now207,358,000

The legendary lady soul Aretha Franklin was on a roll when she dropped Aretha Now. After nearly a decade of underground success inside the black community, she claimed 6 Hot 100 top 10 hits in 15 months up to the release of this LP.

Then, this album provided her 5 more Hot 100 entries including two new classics, both Top 10 Hits, Think and I Say A Little Prayer.

These songs stand on 67,5 million and 119,5 million streams on Spotify, respectively. The latter has been boosted recently by the sad passing of the original diva.

 

 

31. 1963 – Nat King ColeThe Christmas Song214,889,000

Technically speaking, this 1963 LP is a reissue of the 1960 album The Magic Of Christmas. The hit The Christmas Song, originally issued in 1946, was only added to the reissue though and it is quite by far the strongest classic of the album.

At 82,5 million streams, this song has a shot at reaching 100 million this Christmas season. The album has much more hits too with an additional 4 songs inside the 12-26 million streams range.

All remaining tracks are also all on 2 million plays or more, showing that the 6xPlatinum US award received by the album for over 6 million pure sales was no surprise.

 

 

30. 1968 – Rolling StonesBeggars Banquet221,973,000

Beggars Banquet is a true reflection of the switch of focus that happened during the second half of the 60s. In the years preceding it, the Rolling Stones were stunning hit makers, reaching the top 4 times in the US and 7 times in the UK, plus countless Top 10 smashes. Then, with this new LP, no single at all was released in their homeland, with only Street Fighting Man getting a US release that was soon backlashed because of its controversial lyrics.

All album cuts of this LP stand on 2 to 4 million streams while aforementioned single climbs only to 19 million. You must wonder how then it is ranked at #30 among these 60s classics.

The critically acclaimed track Sympathy for the Devil quickly gained attention, ultimately becoming one of the most iconic titles of the band. It has a giant 181 million streams on its own.

 

29. 1967 – Aretha FranklinI Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You223,119,000

Aretha Franklin makes a double early in our countdown thanks to I Never Loved A Man The Way I Love You. While the title track made her a star, becoming her first Hot 100 Top 10 (#9) in 1967, it’s the second single Respect that turned the singer into a legend from one day to another.

With 179 million streams, it is one of the most recognizable songs of all-time. Ironically, while the original version was written and sung by a male act, Otis Redding in 1965, it became an hymn of the feminist movement after Franklin‘s rendition.

The LP as a whole is regarded as an absolute classic R&B album. The Rolling Stone Magazine listed it at #1 among their 50 most essential female albums ever. Its remaining tracks add for an healthy 44 million streams well balanced among all titles.

 

28. 1965 – Rolling StonesOut Of Our Heads224,461,000

The Rolling Stones repeat their presence too. Out Of Our Heads comes at #28 with 224 million streams in total. While Beggars Banquet had no proper hit single, this one came a few years earlier when it was still inevitable to go by the single format.

It’s the context that saw (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction emerge, arguably one of their biggest smashes. A monster success upon release, hitting #1 on both sides of the Atlantic, the song remains a beast with 188 million streams on Spotify so far.

The Last Time was a #1 UK single as well, Top 10 in the US, but it isn’t as much remembered although it has a respectable 9,4 million streams. Its former B-Side, Play with Fire, does better at 14,6 million. Album cuts fluctuate from 400,000 to 3 million plays.

 

27. 1960 – Etta JamesAt Last!229,431,000

We continue to move from Classic Rock classics to iconic R&B voices. This time it’s Etta James who lands on this list with the LP At Last!. The reputation of the diva has been growing tremendously through the years. It may be hard to believe, but she never got a Top 20 hit during her US career. In the UK, she hasn’t made the single chart before the 90s. In the album side, she never made the US Top 50 until her passing, nor she reached UK’s Top 200 weekly list.

No matter how poorly she did back in the day, appropriately titled At Last! is now widely considered a classic, a status confirmed by its streams. The title track has a whopping 111 million plays while I Just Want To Make Love To You and A Sunday Kind Of Love are strong too at 42 million and 34 million, respectively. The entire LP is impressively strong with 42 million more streams coming from remaining tracks.

 

 

26. 1962 – Ben E. KingDon’t Play That Song!232,517,000

The general public hasn’t been following Ben E. King‘s advice as they do play one of his songs to death. In fact, 11 of Don’t Play That Song!‘s 12 tracks add for less than 8 million streams combined, but the last one records an immense 225 million tally. It’s no other than the love song Stand By Me.

A #4 US / #27 UK Hit in 1961, the single got a second life in late 1986 thanks to the comedy movie of the same name that used the song extensively. To benefit from this new exposure, it was reissued, making the US Top 10 again and hitting #1 in the UK.

As many as 4 other songs from this record made the Hot 100 ranking but none of them has even 1% of Stand By Me‘s streams. In total, the singer charted inside the main US single list with 27 hits adding his years with the Drifters, 5 of which made the Top 10, but the iconic ballad is so popular that it ended up completely overshadowing the rest of his career.

 

25. 1964 – AnimalsAnimals253,110,000

The Animals too face the too-big-of-a-hit syndrome. From 1964 to 1967, they were consistent hit makers as part of the British Invasion movement. In this short period, they enjoyed 9 Top 10 UK hits and 10 Top 20 US singles. Nowadays though, they are one of the first acts we think about when asked about a one-hit-wonder.

This unfair treatment is caused by the insane success of The House of the Rising Sun. With 247 million streams by itself, this song is huge enough to challenge complete albums of the Beatles. In a streaming world, it also reduces to 0 chances of remaining songs by the Animals to feature on popular playlists. It’s an utterly obvious choice, for the good and the bad. Next to nothing remains for other songs, with only Baby Let Me Take You Home over a million streams.

 

 

24. 1966 – BeatlesRevolver255,247,000

The fab four gets a second entry with Revolver charting at #24 among these most essential 60s albums. The LP isn’t as rich as some others in terms of super mega hits.

Its strongest track is Eleanor Rigby with 60 million plays while Yellow Submarine at 53 million is the only other at more than 16 million.

Its consistency is impressive though. For No One, Here, There and Everywhere, I’m Only Sleeping and Taxman are all on 15,6 million give or take 0,2 million.

The last 7 songs of the album all top 5 million. As you can guess, it’s the Beatles‘ second album listed but certainly not their last.

 

23. 1965 – BeatlesRubber Soul255,776,000

In fact, Rubber Soul is right here at #23 with a difference of only half a million streams. These two albums, Revolver and Rubber Soul, have been merged together millions of times for various reasons. It’s not their streaming results that will break the tie.

They also build their total in a similar way. This one too lacks truly massive hits. In My Life at 65 million and Norwegian Wood at 40 million lead the game. Behind, it also has 4 more tracks over 15 million.

Then, it’s last 8 tracks are also all on 5 million and more. What’s safe to say is that independently on how we distinguish these two albums, they are both super successful 60s LPs.

 

 

22. 1968 – Simon & GarfunkelBookends256,321,000

Classic duo Simon & Garfunkel ranks at #4 among our top 60s acts list of most successful artists so it was expected to see them here. They land at #22 with Bookends.

A 7 weeks #1 album in both the US and the UK, this record is home of the smash Mrs. Robinson, itself a #1 single in the former country.

This song is still the flagship of Bookends with 170 million streams. America is its runner up at 34 million while the theme of the Bookends movie is third with over 15 million. The rest of the record is strong too with the 9 other songs averaging 4 million streams.

 

 

21. 1969 – Creedence Clearwater RevivalGreen River262,157,000

Among all Classic Rock acts, Creedence Clearwater Revival may be one of the most overlooked. Rarely mentioned among the likes Beatles, Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin, their streaming number are amazing.

Containing two US #2 singles, Bad Moon Rising and Green River, this former US #1 LP continues to be popular. The former track has 174 million streams while the latter is on 35 million.

Their respective B-Sides, Lodi and Commotion, register 20 million and 10 million streams. These 4 songs are all part of the monster US 10-million selling best of Chronicle.

 

 

20. 1965 – TemptationsThe Temptations Sing Smokey268,285,000

Among all Motown acts of the 60s / 70s the Temptations are possibly the one that has been the most consistently successful of all. They have got more than 50 entries on both the US Hot 100 and Billboard 200 Album charts. True icons among the black community, they also registered 15 #1 singles and 17 #1 albums on R&B charts.

When they added their strength to the one of skilled songwriter Smokey Robinson they got the legendary hit My Girl. With 235 million streams, it’s the 7th most popular song from the 60s. The song The Way You Do The Things You Do is well remembered too at 29 million.

Once you do the math, you can notice that apart from these two songs the rest of the LP is mostly forgotten nowadays.

 

19. 1969 – Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin I275,754,000

I pointed out how the music industry moved from singles to albums through the 60s. The British band Led Zeppelin is the most representative of this situation as they never issued a physical single in their homeland during their career.

No physical single doesn’t mean no popular single though. They got plenty of airplay and they continue to do so.

The biggest song of the album is Good Times Bad Times with over 101 million streams. Babe I’m Gonna Leave You is on 49 million, Dazed And Confused 41 million and Communication Breakdown 28 million. The last 5 songs have got 8-16 million plays each, proving a solid consistency.

 

 

18. 1967 – BeatlesMagical Mystery Tour278,133,000

First released as a double EP instead of an album in the UK, Magical Mystery Tour has often been disregarded among best albums lists. Truth is, its songs outperform the ones of LPs like Revolver and Rubber Soul.

Rather than one huge hit, it contains 4 equally popular songs. All You Need Is Love, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields Forever and Hello, Goodbye have 59 million, 49 million, 44 million and 43 million streams, respectively.

At 29 million, I Am the Walrus is the strongest 5th song from all 60s albums. As every other Beatles album, this one has no song with weak streams. The lowest one is Flying which is still over 5 million.

 

 

17. 1967 – Van MorrisonBlowin’ Your Mind!280,467,000

The career of Van Morrison is atypical. Some of his albums, most notably Astral Weeks and Moondance, have healthy and consistent streams. On its side, Blowin’ Your Mind! isn’t that much solid – its recordings were packaged together with no involvement by Morrison – but the presence of Brown Eyed Girl alone makes it #17 in terms of cumulative streams.

Numbers-wise, the song has 267 million plays. It wasn’t that big upon release, peaking at #10 in the US while not being released in the UK.

Its a staple song for rock stations though while it is also featured regularly on popular movies. This ongoing strength supported the strong selling compilation Best Of Van Morrison.

 

 

16. 1963 – BeatlesPlease Please Me280,560,000

The Beatles get a 5th entry among these most popular 60s albums list. Their debut LP hits the #16 position with a combined 280 million streams.

The pure rock song Twist and Shout leads the way with 107 million streams. Their early hit Love Me Do is runner up at 63 million.

Although not directly a single for the LP, I Saw Her Standing There is third at 27 million. The track became popular as the B-Side of the orphan smash I Want To Hold Your Hand.

While some album cuts aren’t as solid as the ones of their later albums, every track on Please Please Me reaches at least 3 million streams still.

 

15. 1966 – Simon & GarfunkelSounds of Silence285,838,000

The inclusion of this LP is debatable. Its strongest song is obviously the title track, which was actually released on two other studio albums before this one.

Its first version was part of the duo’s debut album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., then Paul Simon also added it to his solo UK debut The Paul Simon Songbook.

The track remained anonymous by then though and it’s its reworked version, present on this 1966 album, that became a classic of rock radio stations. It amasses an impressive 207 million streams.

I Am A Rock at 22,5 million, April Come She Will at 18 million and Kathy’s Song at 13 million add to the strength of this record too.

 

14. 1966 – Beach BoysPet Sounds300,978,000

Wouldn’t It Be Nice to speak about the Beach Boys? The legendary group comes in at #14 with the just as legendary album Pet Sounds. Rated as the second greatest album of all-time by the Rolling Stone Magazine, it is the first set to break through 300 million cumulative streams.

The opening track Wouldn’t It Be Nice is the biggest song of the album with 136 million. God Only Knows, at 76 million, and Sloop John B, at 25 million, are the other two songs which break over the general public to generate sizable streams. The last 11 tracks are all very consistent, 10 of which are inside the 4-10 million range, averaging 6 million a piece.

Considered the main artistic rivals of the Beatles, the Beach Boys show that they can occasionally challenge them commercially speaking too. In fact, their leader Brian Wilson created this album as an answer to Rubber Soul, and we can see that it has now the edge over this LP.

 

13. 1967 – BeatlesSgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band303,553,000

Just like Pet Sounds was an answer to Rubber Soul, Sgt Pepper’s was an answer to Pet Sounds. It was a positive competition between both bands as well as between cult producers George Martin and Phil Spector. The former, producer of the Beatles, acknowledged this situation when he famously stated that Pepper was an attempt to equal Pet Sounds. It did it in the eyes of the Rolling Stone Magazine too, landing at #1, just ahead of Pet Sounds. Among the most streamed albums from the 60s, they both come lower at #13 and #14, respectively. The former still has a slight lead, showing how difficult it is to mention one of these two albums without highlighting the other.

Back to numbers, Sgt Pepper’s hits 300 million, an average of 25 million per track, while its top song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is at only 52 million. The title track, A Day in the Life and With a Little Help from My Friends are all on 38-46 million. Overall, the LP is easily the most consistent out of all records from this list. Nevertheless, the cumulative strength of a record is set by the addition of all its results, not by the higher median. Ultimately, this 1967 classic album misses the Top 10 which can be seen as someway disappointing.

 

12. 1965 – BeatlesHelp!313,828,000

More from the Beatles as Help! charts at #12 among the most streamed 60s albums on Spotify. The huge classic Yesterday leads the way at 111 million streams. The LP also includes the song Help! at 68 million and Ticket To Ride at 45 million. All these singles have been #1 in the US and in the UK, except Yesterday in the UK since it wasn’t issued initially.

The album was also 9 weeks #1 in both the US and the UK. While Soundtracks of the group are often not as well rated as their proper studio albums, the general public clearly doesn’t make the difference and praise them both.

Help! is also the oldest album with over 300 million cumulative streams as every LP from the Top 11 was issued between 1966 and 1969.

 

11. 1967 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi TerrellUnited330,162,000

Sgt Pepper’s failed the top 10 of the decade in spite of an impressive consistency, United misses it in spite of the #1 hit out of all. Conclusion: it takes hits and consistency to feature into it.

Indeed, the Marvin Gaye / Tammi Terrell paired smash Ain’t No Mountain High Enough is the most streamed song of the 60s. It has an insane 317 million streams, a lead of 21 million over its runner up. This amazing appeal is all the more surprising since the song only peaked at #19 in the US, a score topped by as many as 25 other hits by Gaye.

Ironically, Diana Ross who popularized the song by making it a US #1 hit in 1970 has only 17 million streams with her version. The rest of the album United doesn’t bring much to the table except Your Precious Lord which has 6 million plays.

 

10. Jimi Hendrix – Electric Ladyland (1968)

Jimi Hendrix - Electric Ladyland - streaming

We reach the Top 10 of the decade with the one largely rated as the greatest guitarist of all-time, Jimi Hendrix. Voodoo Chile was a #1 hit in the UK while the cover of Bob Dylan‘s All Along The Watchtower made it to #5. The former song wasn’t released in the US while the latter peaked at #20.

The main reason of these relatively poor performances is that the general public was already well convinced by the singer, going after his album instantly. Electric Ladyland quickly shot to #1 in the US during the competitive Christmas season of 1968.

Not too well received by critics at first, the LP is now considered an obvious classic record. In terms of streams, it tops albums as big as Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s in good part thanks to All Along The Watchtower which is up to a massive 219 million streams. It is the 10th most streamed song of the decade. Voodoo Child and Crosstown Traffic raise the bar to well over 300 million to make the album the 10th most streamed of the decade too.

 

9. Rolling Stones – Aftermath (1966)

Rolling Stones - Aftermath - streaming

The LP Aftermath may not be the best rated from the Stones‘ discography, but it contains the strongest piece of their legacy, Paint It Black. The album was a smash upon release, lasting 8 weeks at the top of UK charts while peaking at #2 in the US behind the Beatles. On its side, the aforementioned single led charts in both countries among many others.

This initial success continues to be flamboyant as of today. The legendary song amassed 268 million streams on Spotify as of now. Its quite simply the oldest song to hit such a massive score.

Under My Thumb was never released as a single in the US or in the UK, but it quickly increased in popularity after their live performances of the song. It was also often featured on their compilations. It stands at an impressive 44 million streams.

 

8. Rolling Stones – Let It Bleed (1969)

Rolling Stones - Let It Bleed - streaming

Let It Bleed is the fourth and last entry of the Stones in this ranking. It has both consistency and hits. The album went to #1 in the UK and #3 in the US. While that latter peak position seems low, it happened during 1969’s Christmas week with two monstrous albums ahead: Led Zeppelin‘s II and the BeatlesAbbey Road.

Technically speaking no single has been exploited from this record. This being said, Honky Tonk Women was issued and dominated charts for a month in both the US and the UK. Originally, only an altered version was part of the LP, Country Honk. The track has a solid 50 million streams. It’s huge, but only good enough to the 3rd highest number from the album. You Can’t Always Get What You Want is on 66 million while Gimme Shelter tops them all with 178 million. Along with the likes Sympathy For the Devil and Under My Thumb it is one of these tracks that raised its profile in good part with brilliant live performances.

 

7. Jackson 5 – Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 (1969)

Jackson 5 - Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5

Since the start of this list of essential 60s albums we go from classic rock releases to R&B LPs containing sizable smashes. At #7 we meet the highest R&B album of the decade, Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5. The debut album of the Jackson 5 contains the second most streamed track of the 60s, I Want You Back. With an unbelievable 296 million plays, the hit is far and away the most successful teen song of all-time as Michael Jackson was only 10 when he recorded it.

I Want You Back was the only single from the LP and bubble gum R&B clearly doesn’t get much catalog appeal. Still, a second track exploded lately, especially thanks to frequent renditions on TV shows. Who’s Lovin’ You is now up to 43 million, it currently belongs to the group’s most popular songs. This contribution is welcome as a mere 3 million streams separate albums charting from #10 to #7.

 

6. Doors – Doors (1967)

Doors - Doors - streaming

We tend to resume classic rock legends at the same 4/5 groups again and again. Just like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Jimi Hendrix, the Doors post stunning results. Their eponymous debut is one of these numerous 60s albums that had to settle for #2 on charts because of the Beatles. This record was blocked by Sgt Pepper’s. Light My Fire did reach the US #1 spot in the Hot 100 list.

Mostly a North American phenomenon at first, the band has since become a sales beast virtually everywhere. This is also translated on their streams. Both Break On Through and Light My Fire are closing in 100 million. While these are already huge numbers, the record impresses even more with results from the remaining tracks. There is 5 more songs with over 15 million plays and the weakest one is on 6 million. Only 4 albums from the 60s have a bigger weakest track and two of them are still to come…

 

5. Jimi Hendrix – Are You Experienced? (1967)

Jimi Hendrix - Are You Experienced - streaming

Impressively, Hendrix secures a second entry inside the Top 10 most relevant albums of the 60s. Just like Electric Ladyland, Are You Experienced? contains a pair of super hits, both around 100 million streams each are Hey Joe and Purple Haze. A pivotal LP in the history of rock, pioneering an heavier, louder sound while adding Jazz components too, this record was a commercial and critical hit immediately.

Foxey Lady and The Wind Cries Mary also became standards of rock, while many more tracks are widely recognized among fans of the genre like Fire and Manic Depression. The multi-million streams of each of these 17 tracks add for a massive 384 million, 40 million more than the Doors‘ LP charted just behind.

 

4. Led Zeppelin – II (1969)

Led Zeppelin - II - streaming

We pursue our ride through the most essential albums of the 60s with the last US #1 album of the decade, II by Led Zeppelin. Among the 9 songs from the original album – La La is an intro / outro added in the recent reissue of the LP – the lowest one is Living Loving Maid at 9,5 million streams. It won’t take much time until the entire album is over 10 million to make it the second to reach this threshold.

During 18 weeks the album competed with the BeatlesAbbey Road for the #1 spot in the US, ultimately winning the match 7 times. This success was made possible by the smash single Whole Lotta Love. The US million selling hit, one of the rare physical singles of the group, is one of the most iconic songs of all-time. Its unstoppable guitar riff is still widely loved as shown by its 156 million streams on Spotify.

Ramble On is one more 100-million song for the group, easily the second most remembered track of the LP. Heartbreaker comes third at 40 million but in truth that’s the whole album which continues to be streamed extensively. A hit in 1969, II continues to smash in 2018, the 4th stronget one of its decade.

 

3. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Willy & The Poor Boys (1969)

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Willy And The Poor Boy

I pointed out that the Top 3 album chart of 1969 Christmas week was made of Led Zeppelin‘s II, the BeatlesAbbey Road and the Rolling StonesLet It Bleed, all of which make the Top 8 of this ranking. There is more as the #5 of that cult weekly chart lands at #3. Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s Willy & The Poor Boys comes as a shocker.

Of course, Fortunate Son is a classic. Of course, Down On The Corner is popular too. Who was really expecting this LP to feature that high though? Especially since it completes the trick in great fashion. With an unreal 470 million streams, it has a lead of 80 million over II, comfortably securing its spot in the podium.

The irony is that Fortunate Son was barely the B-Side of Down On The Corner at first. Since 1955 Americans were stuck into the Vietnam War and protests from the population increased throughout the 60s. It reached a point where the case became the main theme of discussion during the 1968 presidential election. In that context, Fortunate Son quickly became a symbol of the anti-war movement. Nearly 50 years later, the song continues to be a flagship raised as soon as war threats emerge. Obviously, the amazing rock vibes of the song do nothing except fuel even more its current popularity. With 288 million streams, the song is amazingly the most streamed rock song of the 60s, which isn’t a small feat to achieve considering the competition.

 

2. Beatles – Beatles (White Album) (1968)

Beatles - White Album - streaming

Reissued this week as a superb 6CD+BluRay package 50-years anniversary package, the White Album of the Beatles has one of the most atypical streams distribution of the list. It has no song over 100 million, its peak is realized by Blackbird at 85 million. Then, While My Guitar Gently Weeps is the only other song to break 40 million, with 65 million. Still, the album reaches an insane 473 million streams in total.

It does so thanks to an extensive list of 30 songs, all of which hit at least 4 million. In all fairness, the album is full of classic songs. Revolution, Ob-la-di Ob-la-da, Dear Prudence, Back In The U.S.S.R, Helter Skelter, etc… They are all huge tracks. One may argue that their individual streams aren’t higher precisely because the album is too crowed with popular songs, limiting their usage on various playlists. It doesn’t matter though since what’s important is that the total is just so big. No doubt that the current promotion of the reissue will help it cementing its small lead over Willy & The Poor Boys.

 

1. Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)

Beatles - Abbey Road

Who else? The most essential album of the 60s according to streamers is no other than the BeatlesAbbey Road. There is not even room for debate. It dominates its runner up by an unbelievable lead of 209 million streams. The gap between them is bigger than the gap between albums charted at #2 and #20.

How does it manage this incredible lead? Well, most albums from this list have one big hit or a strong consistency. Abbey Road has two super big hits plus an incredibly strong consistency. The hits are Here Comes The Sun, the most streamed song of the band at 233 million, and Come Together a solid second at 162 million. To provide even more solidness to the LP, it has 16 songs which is a lot for a 60s LP. All of them top 10 million streams, easily the oldest album to achieve it. The 17th song, the outro Her Majesty, has streams close to 0 only because it is shorter than 30 seconds so unless you go back to earlier in the song without stopping the stream, your play won’t count.

Interestingly, the most streamed 60s album is also the most successful one as per our CSPC approach which is no coincidence. True popularity ends up reflected day in day out, no matter which format is around at the time of the measurement.

 

Conclusion

I started this list of massive albums from the 60s asking what would dominate, the supposed urban profile of streamers or the classic rock bonanza of that decade. The latter easily surges as the winner. What does it mean? It tells us that what’s streamed is the most popular music, it doesn’t depend on the genre. Nowadays, rappers aren’t streamed more because only rap fans stream, but simply because its what the general public likes the most.

Years 1963-1973 were insane for classic rock. In the same way, we are living the classic hip-hop era. In 50 years from now, the most iconic LPs of the 2010s will be the ones of Kendrick Lamar, Drake, and others. As far as the 60s are concerned, its now as clear as water that the Beatles & friends will continue to dominate memories of these years pretty much forever.

 

A lil’ bonus with the Top 15 tracks of the decade:

1. 1967 – Marvin Gaye & Tammi TerrellAin’t No Mountain High Enough316,638,000
2. 1969 – Jackson 5I Want You Back295,886,000
3. 1969 – Creedence Clearwater RevivalFortunate Son287,970,000
4. 1966 – Rolling StonesPaint It Black268,167,000
5. 1967 – Van MorrisonBrown Eyed Girl267,096,000
6. 1964 – AnimalsThe House Of The Rising Sun246,659,000
7. 1965 – TemptationsMy Girl234,936,000
8. 1969 – BeatlesHere Comes the Sun233,148,000
9. 1962 – Ben E. KingStand By Me224,667,000
10. 1968 – Jimi HendrixAll Along The Watchtower219,062,000
11. 1966 – Simon & GarfunkelThe Sound Of Silence207,629,000
12. 1965 – Rolling Stones(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction187,804,000
13. 1968 – Rolling StonesSympathy For The Devil181,180,000
14. 1967 – Aretha FranklinRespect179,265,000
15. 1969 – Rolling StonesGimme Shelter177,841,000

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tom riise

Abbey Road is now the first album of the 60s to reach 1 billion streams ( 1,000,489,779 ).

Jay

I just read your disagreement from 2006 with Basil on Elvis and Frank.You commented then as I have to you recently that Sinatra’s massive catalogue is never upgraded and is grossly undercertified( the most so of any artist in RIAA history), a surprise!Since his daughter signed a long term marketing deal in 07 with Warner’s then a global marketing deal with UMG in 2013 merging all labels onto a new signature label!There is a broadway show being prepared ; Jack Daniels Sinatra Select at 200 – 600 a bottle with a special CD included in the more expensive one, so… Read more »

Tre

Hello, I love your method and I’m aware that CSPc Takes a while, and I been waiting for 2 years to know About how much would “I Never Loved A Man The Way I love you” sold Pure & EAS? Please and thank you. Hoping Aretha CSPC is next

Tre

Ok got it! Thank you so much

Jay

Nice to see Nat Cole who passed at 45 make the cut ( loved Natalie Cole awesome all time great soul and jazz singer with her tribute album that swept 7 Grammys in 1991 and both taken much too soon also) but stunned that Sinatra the #6 worldwide seller that decade after being #2 in 40’s & 50’s didn’t register .I see on YouTube various postings of 1969 My Way up near 200 million ; Fly Me To The Moon and The Way You Look Tonight at just under or over 100,000000 .Also That’s Life has 42,000000 in one spot… Read more »

orange

Awesome article! The Beatles really changed the game. I’m very excited to see the remainder of the series.
I think it’d be interesting as well to see lists similar to these for pre-2000 albums of different languages as well, particularly for Spanish-language music since it is spread across so many countries. We already know that Latin American and Asian markets are growing a lot currently thanks to streaming, but I wonder which classic albums are benefitting the most from this?

orange

Hi MJD! I hadn’t considered that but that’s a good point. In either case, I’m very interested to see future local artists in the Streaming Masters series!

SkkyWill

Someone sold single, someone sold singles, someone sold album, someone sold singles and albums

Martin

Yes, they were called and still are, music retailers.

Mauricio

Maybe what they’re trying to say is that some acts had one huge single, some a couple of huge singles, some huge albums, and some huge albums and singles.

SkkyWill

Of Course, Some album‘s stream most come from one smash hit, and rest‘s figure’ is low,some come from two or three big hit. And also some sold poor physical copies, some performenced great in physical format as well

Dan

Fantastic article. Can’t wait to read the ones for the 70s, 80s and 90s.

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