The League Table, December 2009

We haven’t put up one of these in a while, so here you go. The list below shows all books published so far in the 33 1/3 series, in descending order of sales revenue (not units sold). Things are very tight between no.2 and no.9, so those positions could change a lot over the next few months. And kudos to the Elliott Smith and Brian Eno books, both of which have made very quick starts. (As always, bear in mind that this list obviously favours those books that have been out for 5 or 6 years, rather than just a few months…)


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


5 thoughts on “The League Table, December 2009”

  1. How often do you solicit book proposals? I'm just discovering you and now having read your older post about the previous round, am champing at the bit to participate in the next one.

  2. David – what are good sales figures for one of these books?Was gonna try and rank the ones I read in order of favourites, but that's too much work.I've read 11 or 12 of these:The Rolling Stones – OK, but there's been a lot written about this, and them, so not much new in terms of sheeding light on it. Had been reading Grenfield's A Season in Hell about the same record, which maybe has not done me any favours. Kinks – A good read, well researched and revealing. Evokes the period well. Makes a good case for Ray Davies being criminally underrated. Makes you want to listen to the Kinks.Led Zeppelin – a virtuoso performance, and a great read. Even if you hate Zeppelin, you might like this.David Bowie – not bad. Reading it now – shaping up okay.Neil Young – was disappointed a bit by this one. Like the Stones book, it is more of a song by song kind of approach that is still quite good for accompanying a listening, or checking on details etc.Jimi Hendrix – I thought this was one of the best I've read, and written by a musician, too. It really kept my attention and, again, evoked Hendrix and that period pretty well.Black Sabbath – I loved the audacity of this book. Some of the stuff in it, like descriptions of Geezer Butler's bass playing, are brilliant. I'd like to read it again to see what I think a second time, though.Elvis Costello – really inventive approach, almost hypertext-ish, which seems to suit an analysis of Costello's allusiveness at that time. Doesn't kiss up to Costello, either. The Byrds – a tad disappointed in this too – but for much the same reasons as the Stones and Neil Young books. It is a valuable document on the making of that record, so I would not knock it. I suppose I prefer the playful ones.The MC5 – not bad. Not bad. Didn't quite evoke the Five or that time as much as I'd hoped. But then, I was probably expecting too much. I wanted it to make me feel like I felt when I first heard Brother JC Crawford's invocation at the beginning of 'Kick Out The Jams' – but I guess nothing can quite match that for sheer fervour.Patti Smith – couldn't get past the introductory pages I'm afraid, which were threatening to lapse into that redundant Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies dreck. Maybe I'll go back to it … you'd think somebody would engage with that record on a purely primal level, though. If that's possible.

  3. Argh – just posted a comment that vanished …How about doing a book on Sgt. Peppers?Okay, it's predictable, and there have been a lot of books about the Beatles, but it is arguably the first of a certain kind of rock album – more partic., the kind that lends itself to a 40,000 word discourse.I'll volunteer!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top