Legacy Artists Are Showing Domination on Billboard 200

Posted September 4, 2018 by J Matthew Cobb in News

Don’t stop me now! Queen and other legacy acts are making major strides on chief album chart this week

Over the years, catalog albums – albums with a shelf life of being 18-months old – have usually fared well in the world of sales. But last week’s charts revealed an astonishing feat for a trove of legacy artists across a myriad of music charts, but particularly with the Billboard 200. On the week of September 1, over forty titles registered landings on the Billboard 200.

Of the best performing catalog albums, Aretha Franklin’s 30 Greatest Hits leads the pack and rocketed to number 6. Digital album purchases and possibly discounts, released during the week of Franklin’s “gravely ill” reports and eventual passing, stoked the flames of the album’s sales. The album, originally released in 1985 on Atlantic Records, currently sits at number eight on the iTunes Digital Albums chart, which sales for $14.99. This week’s placement on the Billboard 200 is the highest the compilation has ever sat on any music chart. It also soared to number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and held on to that spot for two consecutive weeks.

Another Franklin compilation, Aretha’s Best (Rhino, 2001) is also enjoying chart action this week, landing at number 18 on the R&B Albums chart.

Rock band The Eagles continues to make history with their best-selling Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 collection, a disc that surpassed the total sales of Michael Jackson’s Thriller — a disc that’s long been considered the greatest selling album in recorded history. The event made major headlines, with some publications shooting out cocky headlines of the Eagles “dethroning” the King of Pop after surpassing 38 million in sales. And jumping from 125-60 on the recent big news of being certified 38-times platinum, the Eagles’ treasured compilation – one that includes much of the band’s proudest musical moments – is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

It’s important to note that this achievement is a partial victory for the “Hotel California” act. Thriller is an actual album; Their Greatest Hits is a collection of songs taken from catalog albums.

But that didn’t stop MJ fans from rushing to pick up catalog albums. Although it slipped from last week’s 44 position, sales for Michael Jackson’s The Essential Michael Jackson are holding up, giving it a spot at number 94 on the Billboard 200. It also holds tight to number 10 on the R&B Albums chart. In other industry news related to Jackson, in February the RIAA upgraded its last certification of Thriller from 32 million to 33 million.

A number of legacy acts are making impact on the chart thanks to industry news surrounding recent career moves.  Journey’s Greatest Hits holds steady, falling slightly from 69-71. Buzz surrounding the band’s catalog music may fall on the recent induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and on the heels of a new single (“No Erasin’”) and forthcoming album from former frontman Steve Perry. Queen’s Greatest Hits holds tight after taking a minor dip from 47-51. It too is surrounded by a number of good circumstances as the band plans to roll out their highly-anticipated Brian Singer-directed biopic Bohemian Rhapsody this fall.

With a brand new documentary recently picked up by Showtime thriving on the film festival circuit (If I Leave Here Tomorrow: A Film About Lynyrd Skynyrd, sitting with an impressive 100% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a farewell tour acknowledging their eventual retirement, Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s All Time Greatest Hits jumped 128-86. The disc has remained on the charts for an impressive 33 weeks.

Other discs impacting the Billboard 200 from legacy acts include Eminem’s Curtain Call: The Hits (#62), Bob Marley & the Wailers’ Legends (#69), Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Chronicle (#75), Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours (#78), Elton John’s Diamonds (#80), Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ Greatest Hits (#93) and Bob Seger’s Greatest Hits (#118).

Of course, many of these discs are being catapulted by news-related headlines, strategic timing of new career moves and other circumstances (i.e., death, birthdays, social media upticks, etc.), but these posts all point to good news for legacy artists as they see a bump of resurgence regarding their inclusion in today’s industry.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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