The Top 49

Through the end of last month, this is the sales chart for the 33 1/3 series:

1. Neutral Milk Hotel
2. The Beatles
3. The Kinks
4. The Smiths
5. The Rolling Stones
6. Led Zeppelin
7. Neil Young
8. The Velvet Underground
9. Joy Division
10. Pink Floyd
11. Radiohead
12. Jeff Buckley
13. Love
14. The Beach Boys
15. DJ Shadow
16. Bruce Springsteen
17. David Bowie
18. Beastie Boys
19. Bob Dylan
20. My Bloody Valentine
21. The Replacements
22. The Pixies
23. Dusty Springfield
24. Jimi Hendrix
25. The Band
26. Prince
27. The Ramones
28. R.E.M.
29. Sonic Youth
30. Elvis Costello
31. James Brown
32. The Who
33. Jethro Tull
34. The Byrds
35. Abba
36. Nirvana
37. Guided by Voices
38. Sly and the Family Stone
39. Captain Beefheart
40. The Minutemen
41. Stone Roses
42. Magnetic Fields
43. Steely Dan
44. The MC5
45. PJ Harvey
46. Stevie Wonder
47. Joni Mitchell
48. Guns N Roses
49. A Tribe Called Quest

The obsessives among you may have noticed some big changes since we last ran one of these charts – this is due, to a certain degree, to Barnes & Noble running a big promotion in their stores from now until the end of the year – some kind of a “Book + CD” deal in their music section, I think. The books they’ve chosen to run with are those on albums by the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, and Jeff Buckley. Also the Dusty book, but we haven’t logged those sales yet. Of course, since this is the book industry we’re talking about, we could get many hundreds of those books back from B&N early in 2008, so the Beatles book (for example) may not be at no.2 in the chart forever.

Other books picking up speed are those on Beefheart, Sonic Youth, and the Minutemen.

The three new books, on U2, Belle & Sebastian and Nick Drake will show up next time we do this table – as will, I hope, the books on Celine Dion, Tom Waits and Throbbing Gristle.

Which leads me into our AWESOME QUIZ QUESTION: if you want to win 10 free 33 1/3 books of your choice, all you need to do is predict where in this chart the Celine Dion book will be, by the end of March 2008. (Hint: I have absolutely no idea.) Send your prediction to:

predictingceline at yahoo dot com

I need to receive your entry by December 1st. A la David Copperfield, I shall write my own prediction in a sealed envelope, forget about it, and then retire to my secret warehouse in Vegas to prepare for my own richly deserved downfall.

6 thoughts on “The Top 49”

  1. Listening to ABBA is justification in and of itself. To hear their music is to hear the work of 4 people who love music. The women sing like angels and the men have an encyclopedic knowledge of music. They are benevolent gods whose domain is the 3 minute pop song. To listen to Celine Dion, however, is to hear a powerful voice drowned in some of the most derivative (but unimaginative, too) arrangements in history. She’s like Mariah Carey – a wonderful voice with absolutely nothing to say – of course, they never shut up, either.But I would read the book – as I’ve heard, it’s an attempt to explain her appeal.And zach: true. But my point was to market the books with the album directed at gift giving. Give someone the pair for a full experience. Obviously, I have the albums for all the books that I’ve bought. But the time will come when I’m going to purchase, say, the Jeff Buckley book AND the album.

  2. what’s great about the books is that they make listening to music reasonably academic. i can even justify listening interestedly to Abba while I’m reading that book.I might have to draw the line at listening to Celine though. We’ll see.

  3. I disagree with your disagreement; I own only 4 33 1/3 books, but only own 2 of the albums in question (3 really, one is the GnR book about 2 albums). I might be more inclined to pick up others if I was more familiar with some of the discs and could get a deal on both at the same time, sure.

  4. I disagree with that. I think most of the books assume a pretty high level of familiarity with the album. Someone who is buying an album for the first time may not even like it and may file it away after a few listens. Then how would they feel about paying extra for the book?

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