The League Table, April 2009

Here’s a chart showing how the published books in the series compare so far, in terms of lifetime sales around the world.

Bear in mind that some of these books have had almost 6 years on sale, others have had only a few months. If I have the time in the next few days/nights, I’ll post another chart, making allowances for that factor. (And I’ve left out the very new books on Wire and Elliott Smith, as those haven’t yet been fully distributed, globally.)

8 of the top 10 artists are British. I’ll say no more!


1. Neutral Milk Hotel
2. The Kinks
3. The Rolling Stones
4. Radiohead
5. The Smiths
6. Velvet Underground
7. Joy Division
8. The Beatles
9. Pink Floyd
10. Led Zeppelin
11. My Bloody Valentine
12. The Beach Boys
13. David Bowie
14. Bob Dylan
15. Beastie Boys
16. Love
17. DJ Shadow
18. Celine Dion
19. Pixies
20. Neil Young
20. Jimi Hendrix
21. The Replacements
22. Jeff Buckley
23. Dusty Springfield
24. Prince
25. The Band
26. R.E.M.
27. Sonic Youth
28. Bruce Springsteen
29. The Ramones
30. Captain Beefheart
31. Magnetic Fields
32. Steely Dan
33. Nirvana
34. Elvis Costello
35. Guided By Voices
36. Black Sabbath
37. James Brown
38. Slayer
39. Minutemen
40. The Who
41. Jethro Tull
42. The Byrds
43. Tom Waits
44. Belle & Sebastian
45. Stone Roses
46. Abba
47. Sly Stone
48. The MC5
49. Joni Mitchell
50. Nick Drake
51. Stevie Wonder
52. U2
53. Throbbing Gristle
54. A Tribe Called Quest
55. Afghan Whigs
56. Guns N Roses
57. PJ Harvey
58. Patti Smith
59. Flying Burrito Bros
60. The Pogues
61. Richard and Linda Thompson



  1. More than half the titles – 36, I counted – are either from the 60s or the 70s. Without wishing to sound like an old fart, I think something changed to the album as a desirable object that one might wax lyrical about after CDs arrived – that’s not to say records were any better in the 60s and 70s, just that those useless plastic things don’t have the same aura about them for all sorts of reasons …

  2. So saying my proposal would be most similar to the Richard & Linda one probably didn't help ;)Shame, as to my mind that's the best of the books (of those I've read) by quite some way…

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