Yearly Most Successful Female Album: The beginning (1960-1982)

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1979 – Donna Summer – Bad Girls

You likely noticed that most albums presented here became the most valuable from their respective year thanks to iconic singles which generated countless sales of compilations. Tapestry is almost the only album so far which relies heavily on sales of the original format, mostly due to the lack of success from following albums.  Here we face the first era which has been truly massive on the back of physical singles. Their low price and their short live make them fairly minor for most artists in the long run, but not for Donna Summer.

Largely ignored lately, her success has been insane. No female singer registered this kind of global chart invasion. I Feel Love paved the way two years  before. The era Bad Girls got 3 singles, the title track, which sold upwards  2 million units in the US alone, Hot Stuff, which also sold more than 2 million only in the US, both chart toppers, and Dim All the Lights, a #2 million selling single. The success was so strong that 3 more singles were issued here and there. In total, they sold more than 8 million units collectively. The album was also very solid with 6 weeks at #1, hitting 2xPlatinum in the US and selling 4 million copies overall. The release of a Greatest Hits a mere 6 months after Bad Girls shortened its run as the studio effort was still Top 20 by then. The best of also went to #1 thanks to the same songs, selling 4 million units globally too. In total, the era is responsible for nearly 10 million equivalent album sales.

She also released a stand-alone duet with Barbra Streisand that year, No More Tears, hitting #1. May I say there was a Rihanna before Rihanna?

bette midler in wax


Bette Midler was highly successful in 1979 with her Soundtrack The Rose. The album reached 2xPlatinum and the title track is far and away its signature song, providing a great help to her compilations although she hasn’t sold that many.

Next is the inevitable Barbra Streisand this time with the album Wet which sold well over 2 million units on its own, mostly thanks to the aforementioned duet with Summer, No More Tears.

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