How many albums have The Beatles sold?
|Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash
Until the late 1960s singles by The Beatles singles far outsold their LPs. This was the standard pattern of record sales at that time. LPs were considered a luxury item and generally beyond the reach of most teenagers.
That said, The Beatles did have an unusual multi-generational appeal. And the kids who bought their singles would later come back to buy not just the studio albums but various compilations.
- The Beatles officially released 13 studio albums between 1962 and their break up.
- Over time the biggest selling has been Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). This has sold an estimated 32 million
- In the 1990s they released three anthology albums.
- The best selling was Number 1s, a compilation of singles. This was only released in 2000, thirty years after the band last recorded together.
- Two double albums summarising their career: The Beatles/1962-1966 and The Beatles/1967-1970 sold very strongly throughout the 1970s. These became known as the 'red and the blue albums
- They had a total of 21 Number 1 albums in the US.
In fact, the biggest selling Beatles album after Sergeant Pepper is
New formatsSales were also helped by the mass switch from vinyl to CD in the 1980s. Ironically, the CD format has seen a rapid decline in this century, while vinyl has undergone a mini revival.
A new trend has been for special reissues and previously unreleased tracks. The Anthology series was a mass market example of this.
More recently sales have become increasingly difficult to assess, as downloads of individual tracks are added to traditional singles & albums. But demand for the remastered albums and reissued films confirms that the Beatles songbook remains the most lucrative one in the history of popular music.