Tuesday, 15 January 2013

2012 in the charts

Selling well doesn't get you street cred in the world of progressive rock and what sells well is often very different from what achieves critical acclaim, but it's interesting to look back on the many Yes-related albums of 2012 and see what sold well. OK, what charted well, given we have access to that data whereas we usually don't see actual sales numbers.

The best charting album of the year with any sort of Yes member connection is probably Estelle's All of Me, on which Trevor Horn co-produced one track. The album made #28 in the US and #20 in Australia, although it didn't chart in the UK. The best UK chart performance was #5 by Anthems, an album by Russell Watson (best known for singing the Star Trek: Enterprise theme tune). This includes a cover of "Race to the End", a vocal version of the "Chariots of Fire" theme by Vangelis with lyrics by Jon Anderson. (Anderson put out his own version as a digital download soon after.) Just behind that was The Overtones' Higher, #6 in the UK (Horn produced and performed on 5 tracks). Also making #6 in the UK was the compilation Two Sides: The Very Best of Mike Oldfield (one track from Tubular Bells II produced by Horn).

When Yes and prog fans look back on 2012, those aren't the albums they'll be thinking of, I hazard, but remember all those sales count. That Russell Watson cover and another by Laura Wright (on her album Glorious, UK #52) will have been a significant payday for Anderson.

In terms of albums with more significant contributions from the Yesmen, well ahead is Asia's XXX, which made #69 in the UK and #134 in the US, as well as #36 in Japan and #33 in Germany.  Also notable here are Producers' Made in Basing Street, which made #26 in the UK Indie chart; Trevor Rabin's Jacaranda, which made #19 in the US Jazz chart; and The Prog Collective made #50 in the US Heatseekers chart (a chart for acts that haven't previously made the main Billboard chart). For comparison, Rush's Clockwork Angels made #2 in the US and #21 in the UK (the UK figure is artificially high because the release was split as a fanpack first and then a regular release later), while Fly from Here the year before made #36 in the US and #30 in the UK.

But charting better than all of them was Trevor's son, Aaron Horn. He is one third of Sam and the Womp, whose single "Bom Bom" made #1 in the UK (selling 107,461 copies in its debut week). It was the 42nd best-selling single of the year in the UK (with 372,000 sales). It also made #6 in Ireland, #4 in Australia, #2 in Israel, #16 in Finland, #43 in Belgium, #44 in the Netherlands, #54 in the Czech Rep. and #84 in Romania. Their album is due this year. Here's the video (Aaron's the one with the boombox.)