Saturday, 31 December 2016

Best selling Yes-related album of 2016

We can debate what the best Yes-related album of 2016 was. You voted The Invention of Knowledge as the best of the first half of the year; I'll hold a poll for the second half of the year soon. But what about the best selling? Forget what the fans might like – what actually got heard the most?

The best selling album with some Yes connection in 2016 was David Bowie's Best of Bowie. This 2002 compilation, including a number of tracks with Rick Wakeman, shot up the charts following Bowie's death and ended up the 10th best selling album of the year in the UK, and 86th so in the US. (Another Bowie compilation, Nothing has Changed, including tracks with Wakeman and with Tony Levin, was the 40th best selling in the UK.) Wakeman's piano cover of "Life on Mars" also did well, topping the UK physical singles sales chart for 2 weeks, although physical sales are a small proportion of overall singles sales.

Old sessions with big name artists often sell better than new releases. Compare also Queen's The Platinum Collection, with Steve Howe on "Innuendo", which was the 107th best selling album of the year in the US. This has possibly been Steve Howe's best seller every year since its release.

OK, but what about new recordings? Well, we could include The Rolling Stones' Blue & Lonesome with ABWH second keyboardist Matt Clifford on it. This was the 17th best selling album of the year in the UK, and the 5th in Germany, 8th in the Netherlands, 15th in Austria, 22nd in both parts of Belgium, 28th in New Zealand and 66th in Denmark. It has made Gold in the UK (100,000 sales), Germany (100,000), Italy (25,000), Poland (10,000), New Zealand (7,500), and Austria (7,500). It made #4 in the US, although it didn't make the top 200 sellers of the year. It was also #2 in France and Canada, #3 in Japan etc. Clifford missed out on the ABWH tour because he got an offer from The Rolling Stones and he's worked with them ever since.

Yeah, fine, but what about proper Yes members, playing on new recordings – which sold the best? This was probably the Anderson/Stolt album, The Invention of Knowledge. This charted at #58 in the UK (#4 on the Progressive chart) and made #21 on the US Rock chart.

Also worthy of mention was Action Moves People United, the UNESCO charity project with Alan White, Geoff Downes, Patrick Moraz and Tony Levin among many others, which made #8 in US Compilation chart. (I presume #58 in the overall chart in the UK and #21 on the US Rock chart means better sales than #8 on the US Compilation chart, but I don't have actual sales figures.)

We could also note that “12 Monkeys” season two, with music by Trevor Rabin & Paul Linford, got as high as 470,000 viewers in the US, which is probably a bigger audience hearing Rabin's music than those who heard The Invention of Knowledge.

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