In a world of likes and dislikes, you will hardly get a singer as unanimously appreciated as Stevie Wonder.
The sharp contrast between his blindness and the permanent smile on his face can only bring admiration. Add to that an unbelievable talent that most of us sighted people can only dream of and all you get is an immense respect.
And even if you believe that you do not really know his songs, just put in a playlist of his, you will end up surprised to recognize so many sounds. His influence in today’s music is colossal.
In these Black Lives Matter days, reviewing the career in numbers of the singer that made the final push to sign the Martin Luther King Jr. Day is the least we can do. Signed, sealed, delivered, it’s yours!
First known as the Little Stevie Wonder, the singer got his first US chart topper with Fingertips at the age of 13 in 1963. He was the youngest artist ever to lead the Hot 100.
At the same period, the LP Recorded Live: The 12 Year Old Genius also led US charts. Here too, he was the youngest ever to be #1.
Many child stars struggle to confirm their success. Stevie Wonder went on to record multiple hit songs in the later part of the 60s.
Uptight, Blowin’ in the Wind, A Place In The Sun, I Was Made to Love Her, Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day, For Once in My Life, My Cherie Amour, and Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday pushed his tally of top 10 hits to 9 before he turned 20.
The most impressive feat is that he kept scoring hits with more and more mature songs.
From 1972 and the album Music of My Mind, he got full artistic control over his recordings.
If Stevie Wonder was already an unbelievable talent, he grew even more from this point.
Able to get into the studio and record everything by himself, he had very clear ideas about his musical direction.
Among other things, he introduced a lot of electronic sounds in his music, a game changing evolution for R&B music.
In a Motown industry where the norm was to drop LPs made of 1-2 powerful hits plus covers of Motown colleagues or American standards plus some fillers, he went on to record LPs as consistent as innovative.
The “classic era” of the singer, from 1972 to 1976, made him a superstar in the US on top of winning 3 Grammy awards for Album of the Year.
Surprisingly, he was still not as big elsewhere. His 80s years saw him get less critical acclaim, but also monster crossover hits like I Just Call To Say I Love You.
His golden years stopped mid-way into the decade. Since then, his rare new albums made little impact.
With the profile of a single seller at first, and modest sales abroad for a major part of his career, how many records has the R&B icon been able to move?
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 Stevie Wonder‘s albums, physical and download singles, as well as audio and video streaming. In fact, it will also determine their true popularity.
If you are not yet familiar with the CSPC method, below is a nice and short video of explanations. I fully recommend watching it before getting into the sales figures. Of course, if you are a regular visitor feel free to skip the video and get into the numbers directly.
The Commensurate Sales to Popularity Concept (CSPC)
There are two ways to understand this revolutionary concept. The first is the Scribe video posted below. If you are unaware of the CSPC method, you will get the full idea within just a few minutes.
If you are a mathematical person, and want to know the full method as well as formulas, you can read the full introduction article.
Now let’s get into the artist’s sales figures in detail in order to apply this concept and define the act’s true popularity!
Stevie Wonder Album Sales
Original Album Sales – Comments
Early album sales of Stevie Wonder can look disappointing. Back then, the album market was weak and most of Motown’s marketing was done on the back of singles.
The first #1 album of the singer was a live album that will pop up later in the remaining long formats section.
Most of his 60s albums peaked in the second half of the US top 50 while selling poorly abroad. Their catalog sales haven’t been too good either as they aren’t classics, they have also been replaced by compilations for very long.
Music of My Mind was a first step up. It peaked at #21 and lasted 8 months on charts. It lacks hits but his status of first classic of the singer granted it decent sales in the long run. The record is now over 2 million sales.
1972 LP Talking Book was his first smash album. Supported by monster #1 hits Superstition and You Are The Sunshine of My Life, it climbed to #3 and stood on charts for 2 years.
In the UK, the album peaked at #16, his highest peak up to that date. It was his top performing record in most markets and ultimately sold 6.5 million units globally.
Without hits as big as its predecessor, Innervisions sales are just as good thanks to its great density. Half of the album is made of popular songs including the classic Higher Ground.
Fulfillingness’ First Finale was his first #1 studio album, his first Canadian #1 and his first UK top 5. Its singles went to #1 and #3 in the US.
It isn’t as strong in terms of catalog sales as the remaining albums from the singer’s golden years yet. It moved 3.7 million units so far.
In 1976, the artist returned with his most ambitious release to date. After dropping at least one LP per year since 1966, he took a ‘break’ to record the double album Songs In The Key Of Life.
The iconic record is full of hits as we will see in later sections.
It destroyed US charts. One of the rare pre-Soundscan era albums (1991) to debut straight at the top, it retained the throne for 14 weeks.
Countless hits supported it for many months. Despite its price, it lasted 35 weeks inside the top 10. It was a strong #2 smash in the UK while it made the top 10 in various other countries.
In terms of sales, the record came out just before the blockbuster era. It still sold many millions in its first year and kept doing good numbers in the long run in spite of compilations. It stands at 11.6 million pure sales.
Soundtrack double album Journey Through The Secret Life of Plants was too conceptual to be a crossover hit. The sheer popularity of the star still enabled it to sell 3.3 million units without strong radio hits.
The early 80s saw 3 consecutive albums led by 3 super successful hits.
Master Blaster (Jammin’) from Hotter Than July, I Just Call to Say I Love You from the soundtrack The Woman In Red and Part-Time Lover from In Square Circle were global smashes.
At this point of his career, he became very big abroad, so decreasing sales stateside were offset. This trio of albums sold 6-7 million apiece.
Characters marked the end of his commercial peak. It sold poorly in the US (#17, his first non-Top 5 LP in 15 years), although decent performances in markets like France granted it a couple of millions sold.
In the last 33 years, the icon issued only 3 albums which moved a million each.
Stevie Wonder‘s total of studio albums sales is over 65 million.
Stevie Wonder songs sales
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 3 ratio between albums and digital singles.
After 3 unsuccessful singles (Call It Pretty Music but the Old People Call It the Blues, La La La La La and Contract On Love), Stevie Wonder broke over the main audience with a live reprise of Fingertips.
A modest seller abroad, the song comfortably topped a million in the US to total 1.48 million sales. It was the very first of plenty of 7 digits singles.
After a string of moderate hits, the multi-instrumentalist made it again with #3 single Uptight. Close to a million in the US, the song went past this mark thanks to good UK sales.
From this point, most of his singles started to move routinely half a million units at least. This includes the cover of Blowin’ in the Wind, A Place In The Sun and Nothing’s Too Good For My Baby among many others.
These songs were his average successes as the singer soon developed a baffling capacity of clearing the million mark.
In 1967, it was I Was Made to Love Her, in 1968, For Once In My Life, in 1969, back-to-back smashes My Cherie Amour and Yester-Me, Yester-You, Yesterday.
Song after song, the singer became more and more global. These songs moved about a million in the US, but also 250,000 plus units in the UK, some units in Japan and saw booming results in Latin America.
Stevie Wonder debuted the 70s as he ended the 60s, with big hits. Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours was the next big one, while the era of the album altogether shifted nearly 4 million singles.
4 million is also the number of combined sales from Superstition and You Are The Sunshine Of My Life. The singer was now utterly big in the US while his results in continental Europe or Oceania were still modest.
Songs from Innervisions kept striking while the iron was hot. Higher Ground and Living For The City topped the million global sales.
The biggest US black star was on a stunning roll with no end in sight.
You Haven’t Done Nothin‘ and Boogie On Reggae Woman increased his stack of classics once more. It is hard to believe that an era with 2 million sellers which peaked respectively at #1 and #3 in the US was his weakest from the 1972-1976 stretch.
Consecutive chart toppers Sir Duke and I Wish supported the 1976 classic Songs in the Key Of Life. We will see with digital sales that many more songs are well known from this LP, but these were the 2 blockbuster hits in physical format back in the day.
The singer refused to release the now classic song Isn’t She Lovely? as it was a tribute to his newborn girl. The song was still issued in a few markets and came out in the UK during the 90s.
If the streak of albums containing million selling singles ended in 1979 when Send One Your Love failed to do it in spite of a #4 US peak, a new one was on the way.
While Master Blaster (Jammin’) was Wonder‘s lowest peaking lead single in the US in nearly a decade (a still strong #5 peak), it also became his true breakthrough hit in many countries.
The song recorded nearly half a million sales in both the UK and Germany and sold in 6 digits in each France, Italy and the Netherlands, easily his best performance in Europe up to that point. The same story was true in Australia. Globally, it was his first 3 million seller.
A trio of additional singles from Hotter Than July did well too including the classic Happy Birthday. A hit single in Europe with a #2 peak in the UK, the song wasn’t released as a single in the US.
The song was instead recorded and aired to support the proposal of making Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday a national holiday. He also contributed in a nationwide petition in 1982 that was signed by 6 million Americans. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill to validate the proposal.
In-between Hotter Than July and The Woman In Red, Stevie Wonder released the compilation The Original Musiquarium I. It contained original songs like That Girl, Do I Do and Ribbon In The Sky. They sold 2.3 million combined.
At the same time, he shared vocals on Paul McCartney‘s song Ebony & Ivory. It shoot to #1 in the US for 7 weeks while also topping charts in Canada, the UK, Germany, Spain and many more countries. It sold a monster 4.7 million units.
The era of blockbuster hit singles wasn’t over yet. I Just Call To Say I Love You came out in 1984 and broke every kind of records.
#1 in virtually every single country on Earth, the song shifted outstanding amounts at nearly 2 million in North America, 4.5 million in Europe and 800,000 in markets usually negligeable.
The total of 7.4 million units makes it likely the highest selling non-charitative single of the 80s.
1985 was another busy year for Stevie Wonder with the release of the album In Square Circle and the participation in Dionne Warwick hit That’s What Friends Are For.
The lead single of the former was one more smash with in excess of 3.2 million sales for Part-Time Lover. The latter, another US #1 hit, sold nearly 1.4 million.
This incredible hit machine ended abruptly in 1987 after more than two decades of success.
Some later singles still sold from 200,000 to 500,000 copies, mostly collaborations with artists as diverse as Julio Iglesias or Babyface.
As a reminder, the weighting is done with a 10 to 1.5 ratio between albums and digital singles.
With a catalog which includes 21 million selling physical singles, we cannot expect all of them to crush downloads platforms.
Plenty of songs from Stevie Wonder remain very relevant yet.
Earlier singles, with a sound more tainted into the 60s, have not face the test of time as well as his 70s hits.
Songs like Fingertips, Uptight or I Was Made to Love Her still register consistent downloads with 300,000-600,000 units apiece.
For Once In My Life is his oldest song to break the million mark. My Cherie Amour stands at 650,000.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours is among his biggest classics nowadays as shown by its 1.65 million downloads and ringtones.
This is still nothing against the super smash Superstition. One of the most enduring 70s songs, it is up to 3.7 million digital sales.
Once again, his years 1972-1976 log incredibly numbers, with hits as well as album cuts recording strong sales.
Among the former category are You Are The Sunshine Of My Life and Sir Duke, both around a million plus relevant sellers like Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing, Higher Ground or Living For The City.
Album cuts are maybe even more impressive. Isn’t She Lovely, if we can consider it that way, sold an immense 2.5 million digital units.
More priceless tunes continue to be downloaded. These include I Wish, As, Knocks Me Off My Feet, Love’s in Need of Love Today, Another Star and many more.
In fact, fans will tell you that songs like I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever) or Big Brother are insanely good.
Numbers illustrate this as almost all of Songs In The Key Of Life 17 songs sold close to 50,000 copies or more. Another illustration is that cult song Pastime Paradise, famously sampled on Coolio‘s Gangsta Paradise, is barely the 8th top seller from its parent album.
If Master Blaster (Jammin’) was far and away the top seller in physical form from Hotter Than July, in recent years it is only 1 out of 5 songs which have been doing well, led by million seller Happy Birthday.
Although critics are very rough against the overly soft-lovely-lullaby song I Just Call To Say I Love, it continues to be very popular among the public with 2.36 million purchases in the digital era.
At just 1 million is his last big solo hit Part-Time Lover, with Overjoyed also performing well lately.
Despite an absence of big hits from his last 4 albums, they still add for a noteworthy 1.3 million sales.
The career total of the singer stands at 34.5 million downloads and ringtones, a tremendous total for someone who debuted in 1962 and released no album since downloads took over.
Streaming is made up of audio and video streams. Our CSPC methodology includes both to better reflect the real popularity of each track. The main source of data for each avenue is respectively Spotify and YouTube. To factor in the growing impact of multiple Asian countries where these platforms aren’t always the go-to site for music streaming, more sources have been added.
In order to account for their real popularity in each relevant country, the below sources have been used along with the mentioned ratios that reflect the market share of each area.
– South Korea : Genie streams * 3.05 (consistent with Gaon streaming numbers)
– Japan : AWA streams * 100/5.5 (AWA has 5.5% of the Japanese streaming market)
– Elsewhere : Spotify streams * (370 – 8.5 – 9.5 – 33 – 9) / 207 (370 million global subscribers minus 8.5 million from South Korea minus 9.5 million from Japan minus 33 million from China divided by the number of Spotify only users minus 9 million more Asian users) + Genie streams * 3.05 (uses Genie rather than Spotify to extrapolate markets like Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam)
– China* : QQ video streams * 50 if the song is available for audio stream, QQ video streams * 5 elseway (scale built based on known figures for several major artists)
– Elsewhere : Youtube views
*since 96.4% of Chinese streaming platforms are free users, that paid-for users pay less than $2 a month and that they are also used as video streaming platforms, their streams are weighted in par with YouTube streams.
Audio Stream – 1500 plays equal 1 album unit
Video Stream – 11,750 views equal 1 album unit
Equivalent Albums Sales (EAS) = ( Spotify * 310/207 + Genie * 3.05*2 + AWA * 100/5.5 ) / 1500 + ( QQ views* 50(or 5) + YouTube ) / 11750
Superstition is the clear leader from a discography which is full of hits. Closing in half a billion streams on Spotify, the song logs nearly 500,000 equivalent album sales from streams alone.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours has low video views and modest stats in Asia, yet the song is a force on traditional markets as shown by its 334 million Spotify streams. It is a solid runner up.
I Just Call To Say I Love You would be the obvious top hit for most artists, but it can’t go higher than #3 on Stevie Wonder‘s ranking. The song is his most global hit with great numbers everywhere still and adds for over 250,000 EAS.
No less than 8 more songs are close or over 100,000 EAS. These include the usual suspects like Sir Duke, For Once In My Life, or Isn’t She Lovely but also some surprises.
The main one is What Christmas Means to Me. While the growing strength of holiday songs on streaming is true for everyone, this song along with Someday at Christmas are beating their all-time peaks year after year on Christmas rankings, reflecting a real growth in popularity.
Faith, a 2016 song for the soundtrack of Sing which features Ariana Grande, is as high as #12 thanks to great Asian numbers.
The competition is so big that real strong songs like I Wish, Master Blaster or Happy Birthday are pushed out of the top 10.
The consistency of the list is impressive even much outside of this top 10. As many as 25 songs are past 30,000 EAS.
We can also mention that popular songs like Fingertips, Another Star, Golden Lady, Too High or Blowin’ in the Wind are completely left out of the top 40.
Former US top 10 hit Go Home is way, way down at #155 in his personal list.
In a Queen-like fashion, Stevie Wonder has hits distributed over tons of albums. The biggest among them is Talking Book at 625,000 EAS, with 5 albums over 200,000 and 10 over 100,000 in total.
Full catalog breakdown
If you are familiar with the artist’s catalog and want to check details of each and every song, you can access to all of them right here.
Keep yourself up to date
Our website provides you a fantastic tool which fetchs updated Spotify streams as you request them, use it to watch these results grow day after day!
Stevie Wonder compilations sales
It sounds fairly logical to add together weighted sales of one era – studio album, physical singles, downloads, streams – to get the full picture of an album’s popularity. For older releases though, they also generate sales of various live, music videos and compilation albums.
All those packaging-only records do not create value, they exploit the value originating from the parent studio album of each of its tracks instead. Inevitably, when such compilations are issued, this downgrades catalog sales of the original LP.
Thus, to perfectly gauge the worth of these releases, we need to re-assign sales proportionally to its contribution of all the compilations which feature its songs. The following table explains this method.
The distribution process
How to understand this table? If you check this example of the Song Review line, these figures mean it sold 4,355,000 units worldwide. The second statistics column means all versions of all the songs included on this package add for 2,126,046 equivalent album sales from streams of all types.
The second part on the right of the table shows how many equivalent streams are coming from each original album, plus the share it represents on the overall package.
Thus, streaming figures tell us songs from Talking Book are responsible for 28% of Song Review tracklist attractiveness, which means it generated 1,221,000 of its 4,355,000 album sales and so on for the other records.
Compilations sales figures listing
Full Length related records Sales – Summary
Here is the most underestimated indicator of an album’s success – the amount of compilation sales of all kinds it generated. Due to the dependency of sales of the original studio albums on these releases, they are a key piece of the jigsaw.
These numbers are obtained by applying the method from the section The distribution process to all packages listed under Compilation sales figures listing category.
It may come as a surprise to see that no Stevie Wonder compilation hits even 5 million units considering the sizable hits he owns and the fact they came out in the 70s / first half of the 80s, a perfect timing to get a CD replacement compilation selling during the 90s.
The least we can say is that his catalog has been very poorly handled.
They flooded the market with cheap compilations as early as in 1968 after I Was Made to Love Her was a big hit.
After he entered his album era, compilations kept focusing on earlier hits until Motown wanted to release Looking Back in 1974.
A 40-tracks release, money-wise it may have been relevant but in terms of sales this release involved way too much value to prompt only 1 copy sold.
The artist refused this release and managed to hold it off until 1977 when it ultimately came out. This was even worst as the entire value of his catalog up to 1974 was available in a single purchase, yet all his recent hits were left out.
Thus, the package wasn’t so appealing anymore and earlier studio albums were now useless for everyone minus hard fans.
The next step was the release of his first compilation covering his hey-days, Original Musiquarium I. The album was promoted as a fresh new album with a few new songs. It did well at first thanks to this strategy, but then failed to claim a lot of catalog sales.
In late 80s/early 90s, when all labels were busy releasing compilations for their major artists in order to benefit from the explosion of CDs, nothing was released for Stevie Wonder.
It took until late 1996 to see Song Review come out, another compilation with a not-too-explicit title. Released with no fanfare at all, it hasn’t even dented the US Top 200.
At last, a proper best of was issued in 2002 with The Definitive Collection. 1-CD and 2-CD versions exist. Guess what? They now do feature among these compilations that you see floating around charts year after year.
Issued just before the killing-compilations era of iTunes, both versions still moved 5.5 million units combined.
We can also point out that despite the singer’s reputation of top performer, only 1 live album came out in the last 50 years, while his first live video was released so late in 2008 that it was indeed titled Live At Last.
This situation concludes on 28.4 million sales of remaining long formats, a number unusually much lower than both his studio album sales and his physical singles sales.
All this can look like speculation, but numbers confirm it. Out of our top 50 best-selling artists, he has the second-worst conversion ratio from physical singles sales to compilations sales.
Another way to look at it is that the 5 acts who outdid him in physical singles sales have a lead of 46% over him in this format on average, yet they top his compilation sales by 374%!
As for studio albums which are responsible for the most compilation sales, the leader is Talking Book thanks to its pair of super hits. It powered nearly 7 million of these sales.
Total Album (all types) Sales per Country
Please note country-specific numbers may miss sales of a few minor releases, although totals are complete.
Stevie Wonder Career CSPC Results
So, after checking all the figures, how many overall equivalent album sales has each Stevie Wonder album achieved? Well, at this point we hardly need to add up all of the figures defined in this article!
Albums CSPC results
In the following results table, all categories display figures in equivalent album sales. If different, pure sales are listed between parentheses.
|#||Cover||Album||Total CSPC||Sales*||Streams||Total CSPC|
|Studio Albums||Other LPs||Physical Singles||Digital Singles||Last verified||Auto update||Daily Increase|
|1||The Jazz Soul of Little Stevie||1,474,000||215,000||744,000||435,000(1,450,000)||66,000(440,000)||13,000 (03/20/21)||14,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 0LD: 0||1,474,000|
|2||Tribute to Uncle Ray||535,000||205,000||318,000||3,000(10,000)||3,000(20,000)||6,000 (03/20/21)||N/A||N/A||535,000|
|3||With a Song in My Heart||191,000||190,000||0||0(0)||0(0)||1,000 (03/20/21)||N/A||N/A||191,000|
|4||Stevie at the Beach||224,000||75,000||7,000||137,000(458,000)||3,000(20,000)||1,000 (03/20/21)||N/A||N/A||224,000|
|5||Up-Tight||3,704,000||510,000||2,215,000||730,000(2,433,000)||114,000(760,000)||110,000 (03/20/21)||133,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 40LD: 0||3,704,000|
|6||Down to Earth||990,000||395,000||257,000||264,000(880,000)||50,000(330,000)||17,000 (03/20/21)||24,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 10LD: 0||990,000|
|7||I Was Made to Love Her||1,852,000||420,000||893,000||442,000(1,473,000)||51,000(340,000)||36,000 (03/20/21)||45,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 20LD: 0||1,852,000|
|8||Someday at Christmas||1,207,000||680,000||36,000||38,000(128,000)||213,000(1,420,000)||183,000 (03/20/21)||239,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 100LD: 0||1,207,000|
|9||Eivets Rednow||231,000||165,000||2,000||60,000(200,000)||3,000(20,000)||1,000 (03/20/21)||N/A||N/A||231,000|
|10||For Once in My Life||3,532,000||575,000||1,694,000||813,000(2,710,000)||177,000(1,180,000)||199,000 (03/20/21)||273,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 130LD: 0||3,532,000|
|11||My Cherie Amour||3,228,000||740,000||1,277,000||946,000(3,153,000)||140,000(930,000)||87,000 (03/20/21)||122,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 60LD: 0||3,228,000|
|12||Signed Sealed & Delivered||6,824,000||685,000||4,170,000||1,161,000(3,870,000)||287,000(1,910,000)||381,000 (03/20/21)||520,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 250LD: 0||6,824,000|
|13||Where I'm Coming From||990,000||550,000||134,000||209,000(695,000)||74,000(490,000)||17,000 (03/20/21)||23,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 10LD: 0||990,000|
|14||Music of My Mind||2,401,000||2,060,000||98,000||176,000(585,000)||42,000(280,000)||14,000 (03/20/21)||18,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 10LD: 0||2,401,000|
|15||Talking Book||16,282,000||6,505,000||6,936,000||1,204,000(4,013,000)||753,000(5,020,000)||623,000 (03/20/21)||866,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 440LD: 0||16,282,000|
|16||Innervisions||9,932,000||7,110,000||1,236,000||989,000(3,298,000)||308,000(2,050,000)||192,000 (03/20/21)||265,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 130LD: 0||9,932,000|
|17||Fulfillingness' First Finale||4,962,000||3,720,000||300,000||795,000(2,650,000)||93,000(620,000)||41,000 (03/20/21)||54,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 20LD: 0||4,962,000|
|18||Songs in the Key of Life||18,565,000||11,600,000||3,683,000||1,477,000(4,923,000)||1,014,000(6,760,000)||556,000 (03/20/21)||777,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 400LD: 0||18,565,000|
|19||Stevie Wonder's Journey Through The Secret Life Of Plants||3,664,000||3,295,000||44,000||282,000(940,000)||30,000(200,000)||10,000 (03/20/21)||13,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 10LD: 0||3,664,000|
|20||Hotter than July||10,943,000||7,435,000||927,000||1,773,000(5,910,000)||558,000(3,720,000)||176,000 (03/20/21)||250,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 130LD: 0||10,943,000|
|21||The Woman In Red||11,305,000||6,620,000||1,524,000||2,405,000(8,015,000)||396,000(2,640,000)||260,000 (03/20/21)||360,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 180LD: 0||11,305,000|
|22||In Square Circle||8,463,000||5,980,000||816,000||1,214,000(4,048,000)||231,000(1,540,000)||141,000 (03/20/21)||222,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 150LD: 0||8,463,000|
|23||Characters||2,719,000||2,355,000||4,000||280,000(933,000)||62,000(410,000)||14,000 (03/20/21)||18,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 10LD: 0||2,719,000|
|24||Jungle Fever||1,194,000||1,080,000||4,000||68,000(225,000)||36,000(240,000)||5,000 (03/20/21)||6,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 0LD: 0||1,194,000|
|25||Conversation Peace||1,564,000||1,415,000||42,000||69,000(230,000)||24,000(160,000)||11,000 (03/20/21)||14,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 10LD: 0||1,564,000|
|26||A Time 2 Love||1,168,000||1,025,000||11,000||23,000(75,000)||80,000(530,000)||27,000 (03/20/21)||29,000 (09/23/22)||Av.: 0LD: 0||1,168,000|
|*Pure sales figures updated on 03/20/21. '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 1/6750 for Video stream)
Rarely mentioned among top selling artists, Stevie Wonder records great all around numbers.
With no surprise Songs In The Key Of Life leads with 18.3 million equivalent album sales. The result is especially good for a double album.
The number two is Talking Book, not too far behind with over 16 million sales generated through all metrics.
The Woman In Red and Hotter Than July complete a 8-digits top 4, both with similar scores at around 11 million.
Innervisions will soon be the singer’s 5th LP to clear the 10 million mark. In Square Circle and Signed, Sealed and Delivered, at 8.4 million and 6.7 million respectively, give even more consistency to the discography.
Just behind the 5 million mark Fulfillingness’ First Finale is maybe the only record to be kinda lower than expected.
It already takes a good share of success to average around 3 million sales in an era. Stevie Wonder did it with 7 more albums, while an extra 6, 20 in total, reach 1 million sales.
Once Down to Earth and Where I’m Coming From hit a million, which will inevitably happen as both are very close to this threshold, the artist’s entire 1965-2005 catalog will be made of million sellers, except the concept instrumental album Eivets Rednow.
The final total stands at 122.1 million equivalent album sales for Stevie Wonder.
Singles CSPC results
The list is compiled in album equivalent sales generated by each song. Therefore, these figures are not merged units of singles formats. Instead, it includes weighted sales of the song’s physical single, download, ringtone and streaming as well as its share among sales of all albums on which it is featured.
1. 1972 – Stevie Wonder – Superstition [Talking Book] – 12,440,000
2. 1984 – Stevie Wonder – I Just Called to Say I Love You [The Woman in Red] – 10,810,000
3. 1976 – Stevie Wonder – Sir Duke [Songs in the Key of Life] – 6,820,000
4. 1985 – Stevie Wonder – Part-Time Lover [In Square Circle] – 5,740,000
5. 1969 – Stevie Wonder – Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours [Signed Sealed & Delivered] – 5,640,000
6. 1980 – Stevie Wonder – Master Blaster (Jammin’) [Hotter than July] – 4,800,000
7. 1976 – Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely [Songs in the Key of Life] – 4,390,000
8. 1973 – Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground [Innervisions] – 4,030,000
9. 1972 – Stevie Wonder – You Are the Sunshine of My Life [Talking Book] – 3,220,000
10. 1976 – Stevie Wonder – I Wish [Songs in the Key of Life] – 3,090,000
11. 1965 – Stevie Wonder – Uptight (Everything’s Alright) [Up-Tight] – 3,030,000
12. 1968 – Stevie Wonder – For Once in My Life [For Once in My Life] – 2,990,000
13. 1980 – Stevie Wonder – Happy Birthday [Hotter than July] – 2,500,000
14. 1985 – Stevie Wonder – Overjoyed [In Square Circle] – 2,270,000
15. 1973 – Stevie Wonder – Living for the City [Innervisions] – 2,180,000
If you feel inspired by this list, we just created this CSPC Stevie Wonder playlist on Spotify!
Thanks to our new ASR (Artist Success Rating) concept, we know that his sales represent 25,45 million times the purchase of his discography. Coupled with his total sales, it translates into an ASR score of 316.
The ranking of all artists studied so far is available too at this link.
Records & Achievements
- At 18,344,000 EAS, Songs In The Key Of Life is the 4th most successful album from 1976.
- At 16,039,000 EAS, Talking Book is the 5th most successful album from 1972.
- At 7.4 million physical sales, I Just Call To Say I Love You is the best selling non-charitative single of the 80s.
- At 28, Stevie Wonder has the 7th most US top 10 Hot 100 singles of all-time.
- At 13 years and 89 days, Stevie Wonder is the youngest solo artist to top the US Billboard Hot 100.
- At 13 years and 103 days, Stevie Wonder is the youngest solo artist to top the US Billboard Album chart.
- From 1973 to 1976, Stevie Wonder released a record 3 consecutive Grammy Awards for Album of the Year.
- Songs In The Key Of Life is one of the 6 albums to debut at #1 in the US before the Soundscan era (since 1991).
NB: EAS means Equivalent Album Sales.
You may be interested in…
… best-selling artists, albums, and singles
To improve your navigation we created several amazing cross-artists lists posted inside the CSPC: Data Collector article. Click on it to see the full listing of all CSPC results compiled so far!
… similar artists
To put figures from this article into perspective, click on the images below to reach career breakdowns of similar artists:
As usual, feel free to comment and / or ask a question!