This is a real coffee table book. In fact, I’ve drunk coffee on smaller tables than this. A weighty tome I got it online from Poundland (£1) who must be seriously out of pocket based on postage alone. It was published ten years ago so that needs to be taken into account. We get the ten best selling albums of the 50’s, twenty from the 1960s-90s and 10 from the 00’s, so not strictly the 100 best selling of all time, but I’m quibbling.
Each album has a double page spread with sumptuously reproduced front cover art which takes up the whole of the page, which is a joy for those of us who have now got used to miniscule CD covers. There is information about each album on the facing page and it is this which lets the book down. It is often clunkily written, it doesn’t feel especially trustworthy and a “fact box” adds little. There’s not a great deal of analysis about the actual albums and the information given is a tad too superficial.
It does make for surprising reading, however. It is based upon global sales and obviously the US must account for much of these as there is a lot of overblown stadium rock in the lists which is a little unsettling and whereas it might not shock too many to discover the revelation that Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was the biggest of the 80’s (29.3 million at time of book’s compilation which was before his demise and the surge of sales that caused) some of the other biggest for each decade are less predictable – Norah Jones for the 00s, Shania Twain for the 90s, a Christmas album from Elvis for the 50’s.
I think this book looks good, weighs a ton, reads quite well but is not going to demand a permanent place on my bookshelves.
The Top 100 Best Selling Albums was published by Igloo in 2005. If UK readers fancy it check out the Poundland site first.