“Abbey Road” Tops The Beatles’ Chart

Sep 16th, 2009 // 10 Comments

First-week sales figures for the just-released Beatles remasters are in, and while none of the individual records broke the six-figure sales mark—the closest to come to that point was Abbey Road, which moved 89,000 copies last week—the total number of albums sold by the Fab Four numbered 626,000. . The Beatles’ full first-week sales tally after the jump.

Abbey Road (89,000)
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (74,000)
The White Album (60,000)
Rubber Soul (58,000)
Revolver (46,000)
Help! (39,000)
Let It Be (32,000)
Past Masters Vols. I and II (31,000)
Magical Mystery Tour (30,000)
A Hard Day’s Night (29,000),
The Beatles in Stereo (26,000)
Please Please Me (23,000)
With the Beatles (22,000)
Beatles For Sale (21,000)
Yellow Submarine (14,000)
The Beatles in Mono (12,000)

I asked my Beatles-aficionado pal (and Idolator’s The Beatles: Rock Band reviewer) Dan Rivkin why Abbey Road came in as No. 1, and he had this to say:

I wasn’t surprised. You have in that album the two most memorable George Harrison songs ["Here Comes The Sun" and "Something"]. You have one of the great John Lennon-penned songs in ‘Come Together,’ which starts off the album and which has also been used in the The Beatles: Rock Band ads. You have Paul at his most—I don’t know if ‘creative’ is the right word, but he has the whole side-two medley. You have an iconic image on the cover. You have them hitting on all cylinders and being their most different. Revolver may be just as good an album—you can’t quantify these things with the Beatles, they’re all classics—but they’re all clean-shaven, short haircut. You look at Abbey Road and you see these four dynamic personalities creating iconic songs.

I think that The White Album would give it something of a run for its money as far as creative output—it sprawls every kind of music, from experimental to country to pop to blues—and Abbey Road also covers a lot of ground, but it’s six bucks cheaper.

Also, there were a couple of albums that weren’t in the mono box. Abbey Road was one of them. I have the mono box so I’m probably going to buy Abbey Road. If you’re hardcore enough to buy the mono box, you’ll probably buy Abbey Road too.

It may even come down to something old-fashioned: Abbey Road just sounds like rock and roll. They’re all enduring rock songs that don’t date themselves with specific instrumentation, or a sound.

It’s also worth noting that the mono box sold out its first pressing, and there are more coming soon. It’ll still be available in “limited” quantities, though.

Beatles, Jay-Z Dominate Billboard Charts [Billboard]

  1. Agreed with all of the above, and also, to simplify: by and large, the albums sold almost exactly as well as they’ve always sold in proportion to each other.

    Abbey Road has always (after eliminating the dubious RIAA double-counting of the White Album, cf. http://idolator.com/5051293/toppling-the-wall-the-farce-of-double+counting-in-the-riaas-all+time-platinum-list ) been the Beatles’ top-selling album in the States, dating back to the ’80s. Second is Pepper, third is the White Album, and fourth is sort of a scrum among the mid-period discs plus Let It Be. That’s exactly how they shook out last week.

    If there was a shocker last week, it’s Rubber Soul coming within a hair’s breadth of the top three, i.e., the White Album, and selling so far ahead of Revolver, its mid-’60s, pre-Pepper twin. For an album that’s now widely regarded as the best of all time (cf. http://idolator.com/265545/introducing-canon-fodder-idolators-look-at-the-ever+revolving-music+dork-dogmas ), Revolver isn’t whole-heartedly embraced by the general public, which suggests that its post-’90s ascension to the top of the critical heap is largely a music-geek phenomenon, while the general public prefers Pepper.

    As for Abbey Road, all I’d add to Dan’s fine assessment is that it sells because it’s the closest thing the Beatles have to a pure “classic rock” album. If you’re a rock-radio-listening, Pink Floyd–loving, Hair Club for Men type of fan, Abbey Road is the closest thing to what you consider “rawk,” for better or worse. The fact that’s it’s actually great is almost beside the point.

  2. I would argue that Harrison’s memorable song is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” If you subtract the 12,000 people who definitely bought Abbey Road when they bought the mono set, Sgt. Pepper is number 1, which makes more sense to me.

    Splitting hairs though, it’s all awesome.

  3. I’m one of the very few who say that “Let It Be” is my favorite. Not because I think it’s the best( I think the White Album is their greatest artistic achievement and Abbey is right behind that) but my older brother played it a lot when I was really young and it stuck with me. The singles are definitely overplayed on the radio, but the album cuts are very underrated.

  4. What do these normally sell in a week? I’m curious as to what the bump provided by the remasters was. Also, I’m kind of surprised that with all the hype and mainstream attention not only that the individual albums only did what they did but that collectively they barely sold more than the #1 album of the week.

  5. @CaptainWrong: “In the week previous (week ending Sept. 6), the band’s collective albums sold just 21,000.”

  6. Whoops. Yeah, forgot that line was in there. *blush*

  7. I can see why Abbey was the best seller, regardless of whether that happened because everybody buying the mono set also had to buy Abbey separately. It was a great album. Although George’s Something was an awesome song, my favorite is still Here Comes The Sun. I would kill to have the Come Together video that they use in the ads for the remasters and the video game. I also thought Revolver was an awesome piece of work. Many think Pepper was their best, and while it is a very creative piece of work, it was the impact that it made at the time that also helps make it the great achievement that it was. They are all great albums, and that music still sounds as great and fresh today as it did all those years ago.

  8. The White Album has too much filler

  9. Lesia Iorio

    Give the dog to someone with some common sense and compassion. You evidently have neither.

  10. Can you point me to good quality articles like this please?

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