Going through Mexico’s top foreign sellers of the 70s
Do you have any idea of what was popular in Mexico during the 70s? Which international music star struck them the most? Was it Simon & Garfunkel, Led Zeppelin, or Elton John? Where they crazy about the former Beatles, or instead more into ABBA? Or Queen, or the Bee Gees? What about Pink Floyd then, was there a mania surrounding them as it happened in many places? Last but not least, how strong was the impact of Elvis Presley‘s passing?
After going through Brazil’s most popular albums during the 70s and 80s, it is in fact time to take at the other strong market in Latin America, Mexico.
It is a crucial market from a chart freek point of view not only because of its magnitude but because, unlike the former, not as much information is available. It is especially true when we go further back in time. For that reason, we start our Mexican trip with the 70s decade, where we will observe some coincidencies and also some discrepancies compared to Brazil.
It isn’t as easy as we can think to know who has been popular at some specific moment in a specific area. In fact, for that matter the large majority of the data we use to gauge the success of artists is corrupted by decades of catalog action.
Our CSPC articles encompass everything together, from everywhere, from every format and from every period. Streaming Masters pieces focus on the strength of catalogs in recent years. In their side, global heatmaps display hot markets of artists as of today.
What happens if we really immerse ourselves in the past? What were teenagers, young adults, and older people, listening to in Mexico some 45 years ago?
Of course, there was no official charts there at the time. A few got issued here and there, but they weren’t that accurate. They also often listed only Top 10s, mostly filled with local recordings. Interesting, no doubt, but hardly helpful to tell us which foreign stars were making some noise in the country.
Luckily, Discogs, which happens to be a wonderful tool to put some light on obscure areas in terms of sales, is here to rescue us.
In this article, we will list their top 10 most owned foreign releases of each 70s’ year in Mexico. The method is far from perfect: nearly all these albums got multiple releases in this market, in distinct formats, at different times.
Some artists, most notably rock acts, are also collected way more than others in Discogs. Still, results are insightful. Indeed, since CDs took over LPs in early 90s there, the number of owners of these vinyls isn’t corrupted by subsequent catalog sales.
That some artists are more collected than others is annoying, but since we know that, we can account for it in our comments. Also, no matter how much collectors love these albums, the truth is that all of them have been highly successful still to feature inside an annual top 10. Get ready for some real surprises!
Mexico’s top foreign sellers of the 70s
The decade begins with Paul McCartney’s first solo album at the very top and a Beatles reissue, Rubber Soul, at number 10. It shows the Fab 4 in great shape after all they achieved in the 60s, something that we also observed in the case of Brazil. Also George Harrison’s classic All Thing Must Pass appears in this Top 10, whilst Let It Be, released in that same year, failed to surface in there.
Not many surprises in the rest of the Top 10, with classic rock stuff dominating also in Mexico. One of The Rolling Stones 60s albums, Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out finished the list at number 2.
Creedence Clearwater Revival prove their strong appeal in the whole of Latin America, making it high in this 1970’s ranking, which marked their peak period.
Two version of Led Zeppelin III made it high, which would have been enough for this title to end up at number 2 if they had been combined. While progressive/art rock oriented LPs are no surprises, with both Frank Zappa and Emerson, Lake & Palmer in it.
This year is massively dominated by The Beatles, basically reissues of their old albums that were still in great demand after they split as a group: two versions of both Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club and Revolver appeared in the Top 10. No doubt that if they became the biggest selling act of all-time, it wasn’t just because of their initial sales but thanks to very strong and sustained catalogue sales achieved all over the years.
Additionally, Paul McCartney’s Ram made it to the Top 10, more precisely at number 3.
Janis Joplin managed an interesting Top 10 incursion with Perla, while it is also notable to remark Rod Stewart’s early impact with Every Picture Tells A Story.
Progressive rock is represented by Yes’ Fragile this time around.
Once again, outside the Top 10, classic rock acts dominate with acts such as Black Sabbath, The Doors, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, all big but not the extent observed in the Brazilian case.
After showing in the 1971’s Top 10, Yes confirms their status in 1972, with Close To The Edge -arguably their most acclaimed album- coming in at number 1 this year. In correlation with this, Pink Floyd put their name for the first time and in a big way, with Ummagumma at number 2, Meddle at number 6 and Atom Heart Mother at number 10.
Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s presence at number 5, with Trilogy, constitutes a further evidence of progressive rock’s position around the world back then, in complement with both Yes and Pink Floyd.
Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and The Rolling Stones add up further classic rock and hard rock-oriented records and jazz musician John Mayall initiates a string of cult favourites within the Mexican public.
Not many things are different when we go down in the list, with more hard rock and progressive rock classic LPs, including one act that was a combination of both, Uriah Heep.
To prove their ongoing success, The Beatles managed to top a very competitive year like 1973 with one of their classic albums, White Album, which was of course a reissue of their 1968’s LP.
Elton John appears for the first time in the Top 10 with Empty Skies and Stevie Wonder accomplishes the very same thing with Talking Book, both classic but relatively unexpected looking at previous years.
Most of the Top 10 was to be expected, with Yes, Deep Purple and Emerson, Lake & Palmer charting high.
The Brazilian duo Secos & Molhados achieved an unusual high entry with their eponymous LP. In fact, they were as high as number 1, being apparently a sort of cult classic in the Mexican market.
Other than that, Queen reach the Top 10 for the first time, initiating a string of consecutive LPs in these annual rankings. Queen finished at number 2, just following the chart topping record but with another version of it also in the Top 10, which -if combined with the other- would have been enough for it to make the number 1 position.
Pink Floyd made two new entries, with A Nice Pair and More at number 8 and 9. But the real surprise was once again John Mayall, making as many as three appearances at number 4, 5 and 10, one of them being a collaboration with Eric Clapton.
By this time, seeing another classic Beatles LP, Beatles For Sales, in the Top 10 should come as no surprise and be interpreted as continuation of their massive success a decade earlier.
More titles by some of these acts were strong in the rest of the Top 50, including a fourth title by John Mayall (a live album), with elso entries by Elvis Presley and Barry White for the first time.
1975 seems to have been the year where Pink Floyd finally consolidated all what they have insinuated years before, notably the previous year when, as mentioned, they reached as many as three entries. This time they manage to monopolize the Top 2 with Wish You Were Here at the very top and a version of The Dark Side Of The Moon at number 2.
Queen make a great impression, once again with two versions of a same album. Sheer Heart Attack indeed charts at number 3 and 7 and that would have placed it at number 2, above The Dark Side Of The Moon, with both combined.
In the rest of Top 50, similar rock-oriented artists were dominant as they did during most years, including The Beatles , always with various reissues, Led Zeppelin, with Physical Graffitti, as well as Black Sabbath and more stuff by Kiss and Pink Floyd.
After two years of great showing in this Mexican charts, Queen finally make the headline by putting their classic album A Night At The Opera at the very top, beating competition by a factor of nearly 4.
Behind comes Stevie Wonder’s Songs In The Key Of Life at the second spot and Rainbow Rising at number 3, two records that also appear high in the Brazilian list of the same year.
AC/DC make their first entry in the Top 10 in what will become a tendency and further proof of their great status in Latin America.
Boston’s self titled album achieved two versions in the Top 10, which would have granted this title the number 2 position if they had been combined.
Other strong albums include Frampton Comes Alive by Peter Frampton and A Love Trilogy by Donna Summer, who was at the peak of her career back then in both South and Central America.
More typical rock records complete the rest of the charts, this time with two acts that would appear more prominently in later years: Fleetwood Mac and Electric Light Orquestra. The best was yet to come for both.
In 1977, at the top spot we find Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, which became an evergreen seller everywhere and Mexico was no exception.
Jean Michel Farre was capable to reach good success outside Europe, at least in some markets, and made it to number 2 this year with electronic music classic Oxygene, whereas Kansas’ Point Of Know Return constitutes another unusual entry at number 3.
Apart from the usual classic rock records beyond the Top 10, we will also find stuff by The Ramones, a historical cult favourite in some parts of the continent, and Boney M, then at the height of their popularity.
This chart is unusual in one sense: it is topped by an LP originally released in 1976 but which came out during this year in Mexico, A Day At The Races. It gives Queen their second chart topper and reconfirms their massive status in this Latin American country. As A Night At The Opera, this one also breaks the 100 owners at Discogs barrier, the only two 1970-1978 releases to do so.
At number 2 and 3, there are no surprises with both Saturday Night Fever and Grease, respectively. As Discogs’ demographics aren’t favorable for them, these rankings are very telling of their success.
Apart from that, we see almost no album which represents the progressive rock genre, particularly dominant in the first half of this decade. Instead, there is a much more hard rock-oriented presence, ranging from The Who’s Who Are You to Van Halen’s self titled debut, and also including new entries for the likes of Aerosmith, Boston and Kiss.
Going down the list, narrowly missing the Top 10 are ABBA’s The Album and Village People, in sync with the sound of that time.
And finally, to close the 70s, Pink Floyd are a worthy winner with their classic album The Wall, giving them their second chart topping one after Wish You Were Here appeared at the top in 1975. With 186 owners, this release is also the best performer of the decade.
A reissue of Atom Heart Mother also charted at number 4, which more that proves how strong a catalogue act they have been over the years.
The Police, with Regatta De Blanc, and especially Michael Jackson, with Off The Wall, anticipate much of what will come during the next decade, both making it as high as number 5 and 6 respectively.
There is more hard rock with Judas Priest at the third place, while Scorpions’ Lovedrive is a nice surprise inside this Top 10. Queen end this decade with another Top 10 entry, although this time without such high profile as their previous five albums.
Once again, ABBA slightly missed the Top 10 with Voulez-Vous, kind of surprise given this one included Chiquitita, their biggest hit and was somehow of a contender to make the list. Blondie, Supertramp and Electric Light Orquestra are some of the other artists with strong albums missing the Top 10.