Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator (ludickid) wrote,
Gun-totin', Chronic-smokin' Hearse Initiator
ludickid

Perhaps the most useless post I have ever made

So I’ve been working on this profile of Joan Jett for a client, and as part of my research, I noticed that she was on the VH1 list of the greatest women in rock. As is my wont, I questioned her ranking (she was #32 out of 100) and, since it’s slow at work, I decided to look at not subjective factors, but straight-up record sales of the people above her.

It turns out she’s placed about right in that respect; she’s had nine Top 40 songs and one #1 hit, and her record sales put her about where she should be on the list with the exception of a few people who are highly ranked for reasons other than sales (Patti Smith, to pick an obvious example).

I did find out some things that maybe shouldn’t have surprised me, but did anyway:

- Tina Turner hasn’t sold as many records as I thought. Don’t get me wrong — she’s sold tons of records and had huge commercial success -- but her twenty-three Top 40 songs and one #1 hit is a lot less than I figured she’d have, and is about half of Aretha Franklin’s, who’s #1 on the list to her #2.

- People who had a surprisingly small degree of commercial success: Janis Joplin, Patsy Cline, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez. In the case of the first two, they died young, and Harris has always been more of a fringe act, but I dunno how Joan Baez makes a living. She’s been recording since the ‘50s and has the “female Dylan” rep, but she’s hardly sold any records at all.

- I have no idea why Bonnie Raitt is so highly ranked. She hasn’t had a long or storied career, she only has five Top 40 hits and no #1s, and to my ears anyway, she’s not remotely innovative or groundbreaking. It it jut because she’s a lesbian?

- This probably speaks more to my age and life experience than anything else, but I assumed the most commercially successful of the female artists would be Madonna by a country mile. And she’s close, but the title actually goes to Diana Ross. She has forty-nine Top 40 hits (!) and 18 #1 hits (!!) to Madonna’s 48 and 12, and in terms of total record sales over a lifetime, she obliterates Our Lady Ciccone. Basically, being Diana Ross for the twenty years between 1964 and 1984, you had a license to print money.

- Barbra Streisand was another one lower on the sales scale than I thought she’d be. Again, like Tina, she’s made a pile of money, and her hit count is very respectable — twenty-one Top 40 hits and five #1 hits — but I figured it’d be twice that. Apparently much of her music income is from touring and big shows rather than record sales.

- Joni Mitchell only had eight Top 40 hits, but all save one of them were Top Ten. Similarly, Debbie Harry only had eight as well, but half of them were #1.

- The one that absolutely shocked me the most? Stevie fucking Nicks. I knew she was big (I’ve seen her house), but I had no idea how big. The anal cocaine delivery advocate has had, with her Fleetwood Mac songs, her solo career, and collaborations, an astonishing twenty-seven Top 40 hits and four #1 singles. That’s more than Tina Turner, Gladys Knight, Linda Ronstadt, Barbra Streisand, Karen Carpenter, or Carole King and Joni Mitchell combined! Good grief.
Subscribe

  • HONK

    If I was to wish someone a happy birthday today, would it be crepedelbebe? You're goddamn right it would.

  • I'm too stoned to give a full accounting

    I went to Austin this weekend. As you may know, my beloved first-generation iPod, Misty II, fatally deceased herself recently, and I got a new 80G…

  • Notes from a day

    * Stringing a crossbow is usually considered a two-man job. But when one of the two men is me, the other man is unnecessary. Also, it is possible to…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.
  • 27 comments

  • HONK

    If I was to wish someone a happy birthday today, would it be crepedelbebe? You're goddamn right it would.

  • I'm too stoned to give a full accounting

    I went to Austin this weekend. As you may know, my beloved first-generation iPod, Misty II, fatally deceased herself recently, and I got a new 80G…

  • Notes from a day

    * Stringing a crossbow is usually considered a two-man job. But when one of the two men is me, the other man is unnecessary. Also, it is possible to…