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Queen :: Charts & Sales History

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  • A question for Hernan, as our resident Queen expert would you consider starting a seperate thread for sales of Freddie Mercury's solo releases? Thought it would be nice to have all the info in one place and this could be added to when we get the Re-Issue of Barcelona in September. I know this will involve alot of work on your behalf but i think all us Freddie fans would appreciate it!


    • Hello Lee,

      There is already a topic about Freddie Mercury: Although I didn't add much in there. Perhaps I can post some stuffs eventually, but let's use it when necessary.

      Originally posted by loris39
      I think the figure of 2,000,000 VHSs sold worldwide is very small. On the other hand, 2,000,000 only in UK is very big.
      I remember that, a while ago, you posted an article claiming Greatest Flix II had sold 300,000 copies only in UK: an impressive number.
      I suppose also Wembley, Box of Flix and Greatest Flix I could have sold a good amount, but it's difficult they could have reached 2,000,000 units only in UK.
      Queen were the most successful video acts in the UK during the eighties and early nineties.

      Between 1981 and 1992, they achieved nothing less than 8 number one music videos and accumulated 33 weeks at the summit. On both accounts more than any other act. Not much to explain.

      The market started to really grow toward the last part of the eighties, between 1987 and 1989. There was significant drop in the cost of VHS and, as a result, sales exploided with retail turnover doubling every year for three consecutive years between 1987, 1988 and 1989.

      From what I have seen, Queen sold about 170,000 music videos during 1987 alone, a raise compared to other years, reflecting this whole market's growth. I would expect their annual total sales to have been equalled or improved in subsequent years because, after all, they were still an ongoing brand and new music videos were being released.

      For example, a version of Greatest Flix, released in October 1984, had sold 54,566 VHS videos and 2,523 Beta videos by early 1988. Thus giving us a running total of 57,089 copies in a bit more than three years.

      But the most significant detail: Greatest Flix sold 23,944 in 1987 alone (out of 57,089 between 1984 and early 1988). So as much as 41% was achieved in just that year, illustrating the market’s growth.

      I'm nearly sure similar sales numbers were reached in subsequent years: I would imagine 25,000 to 40,000 sold annually during 1988, 1989 and 1990. And obviously, there would have been a significant upstick around the time of Freddie Mercury's passing, toward late 1991, 1992 and 1993.

      We Will Rock was an even stronger title back then, charting inside the Top 10 just about every year: it made Top 5 appearences in late 1990, for instance, six years after it was released (it came out in 1984).

      Sales in 1991 and 1992 were tremendous. In the book Understanding Popular Music (from 1994), Greatest Flix II was claimed to have reached sales of 300,000 by 1994, meaning it sold that many in just three years after peaking at number one during 13 weeks toward the last part of 1991 and early 1992 (becoming the best selling music video of 1992).

      According to a Chartwatch issue from 1993 (number 44), 4 Queen music videos made the annual Top 6 based on chart points and they monopolized the Top 4 during a single week in early 1992 (they occupied the first four positions with Greatest Flix II, Box Of Flix, We Will Rock You and Greatest Flix).

      And in a sales year end ranking, posted by New Musical Express, Queen had as many as 5 titles in the annual Top 10 of 1992:

      1 Greatest Flix II
      3 We Will Rock You
      5 Box Of Flix
      8 Queen At Wembley
      10 Greatest Flix

      They did equally great in 1991 for obvious reasons.

      This also further proves how big We Will Rock You was still then: the third best selling video of 1992.

      According to another Chartwatch issue of 1994, Queen were listed as the eighth most successful music video act of 1993 based in points. Surprisingly, Live In Rio finsihed at number 10 on the year end chart and We Will Rock You (an eternal seller) was at number 30. That shows their massive back catalogue sales: a random video, like Live In Rio, suddenly turned into a big selling record once again.

      Most Successful Music Video Acts
      8 Queen

      Most Successful Videos
      10 Live In Rio
      30 We Will Rock You

      After 1996, Queen stopped selling in massive quantities, except perhaps for their residual back catalogue sales. A similar decline happened in recent years, from about 2008. It took until 2002 for them to make an impact again and totally recover.

      From what I know and have seen, and some estimations, I suggest some of these cumulative sales totals for UK:


      Greatest Flix – 250,000
      We Will Rock You – 400,000
      The Works EP – 35,000
      Live In Rio – 100,000
      Who Wants To Live Forever – 35,000
      Live in Budapest – 45,000
      The Magic Years Vol. 1 – 40,000
      The Magic Years Vol. 2 – 35,000
      The Magic Years Vol. 3 – 35,000
      The Magic Years Vol. 1-3 – 15,000
      Rare Live – 50,000
      Greatest Flix II – 325,000
      Champions Of The World – 50,000

      Estimated sales for these 13 music videos is 1,415,000.

      I wouldn't be surprised if Greatest Flix sold even more than 250,000, the crucial moment was in 1991 and 1992.

      As mentioned by Loris39, Queen At Wembley and Box Of Flix will have sold massively well in the UK; part of that is proven with the 1992 year end. I don't know how much they sold.

      Any suggestions or information about it?


      • Hi Hernán, when I said that, in my opinion, Queen were unlikely to have sold 2,000,000 VHSs in UK only, it was because I didn't know the figures very well. The numbers you posted underline that it is quite probable they have reached that sum.
        Also, your estimations don't include Wembley, Box of Flix and Freddie Mercury's Tribute (and other stuff), that is to say three great sellers.
        However, it would be very interesting to know Queen's tendency also in the rest of the world. Perhaps the figure of 5,000,000 or 6,000,000 VHSs is not so exaggerated, even if they estimated 4,000,000 a while ago.


        • Thank you, Loris. I admit I have some doubts about We Will Rock You, perhaps 400,000 sales is pushing it a little bit. But it was really a massive seller.

          I think they sold between 1,750,000 and 2,000,000 videos in the UK during the VHS era, before the DVD format was available.

          That would be nearly 3,000,000 music videos overall.

          I wish I had more sales details.

          This in the USA:

          Queen's 1992 album Greatest Hits tops the 7 million mark in sales this week. It's the second best-selling greatest hits album by a British act in Nielsen SoundScan history (which dates to 1991). It trails only the Beatles' 1, which has sold 12,072,000 copies. (Note: I'm counting Eric Clapton's Unplugged as a live album, not a greatest hits set, though it obviously functioned as both. It has sold 7,622,000 copies.) Queen's Freddie Mercury died on Nov. 24, 1991. Clearly, his music lives on.

          Source: Chart Watch.

          Greatest Hits reached 7,000,000 sold in the Soundscan era.


          • Queen's Greatest Hits in the USA is proving to be one of the biggest catalogue albums in Soundscan history! I can't believe it hasn't topped the Catalogue charts yet. Nowhere near as big relatively as it has done in the UK and several other countries but I am impressed that it is still doing very well.

            Especially when you consider that there is also Greatest Hits - We Will Rock You Edition, Classic Queen, Greatest Hits 1 and 2, The Platinum Collection, Stone Cold Classics and Absolute Greatest available.

            I've also seen that Greatest Hits 2 is now available in the states - this was never available before Universal/Island Records reissued it as America got Classic Queen instead.

            I hope it gets re-certified soon!


            • 7 million in Soundscan! Great!!!

              Now, which would be the proper certification for GH considering it was released before the start of SS era?


              • Queen aren't doing too bad in North America at the moment.

                In Canada, Absolute Greatest climbs into the top 40 album chart at number 37 compared to 47 last week.
                Queen's Greatest Hits in the USA falls to 87 in the Billboard top 200 album chart.


                • Amazing! Queen really do rock!!


                  • Courtesy of the RIAJ, here are some official Queen certifications in Japan, from 1989:

                    The most surprsing thing is about Greatest Hits, originally released in 1981.

                    A 1994 version of Greatest Hits (released in June that year) was certified gold in May 1995, just ten months later. This means it shipped more than 100,000 copies in less than a year.

                    Another reissue, from November 2001, also went gold in April 2004. For a further 100,000 copies.

                    Certifications in Japan


                    Greatest Hits (1994) – 100,000 (Gold, May 1995)
                    Greatest Hits (2001) – 100,000 (Gold, February 2004)
                    Made In Heaven – 200,000 (Platinum, January 1996)
                    Queen Rocks – 100,000 (Gold, November 1998)
                    Greatest Hits III – 100,000 (Gold, February 2004)
                    In Vision – 100,000 (Gold, January 2001)
                    Queen Jewels – 1,000,000 (Diamond, March 2004)
                    Queen Jewels II – 100,000 (Gold, February 2005)

                    Physical Singles

                    I Was Born To Love You – 100,000 (Platinum, February 2004)

                    Mastertones (already known)

                    I Was Born To Love You – 500,000 (Double Platinum, September 2006)
                    We Will Rock You – 500,000 (Double Platinum, April 2009)

                    Both released in February 2004.

                    Full Downloads

                    I Was Born To Love You – 100,000 (Gold, May 2010).

                    The full downloads version of I Was Born To Love You is available since May 2007. It sold 100,000 copies in three years.


                    • Denmark:

                      Hitlisten top 20 Bit-Album
                      #17 re-entry Absolute Greatest -11 weeks, peak:#16-

                      top 10 Musik DVD:
                      #6 (lw:#10) Live at Wembley stadium -26 weeks, peak:#2-


                      • Belgium:

                        Ultatop FL:
                        #55 (lw:#68) Greatest Hits Collection: I, II, III
                        #171 re-entry Greatest Hits

                        Ultratop WA:
                        #43 (lw:#52) Greatest Hits Collection: I, II, III
                        #170 re-entry Greatest Hits
                        #173 re-entry Hreatest Hits II


                        • Czech Republic/Slovakia:

                          IFPI Hitparáda - TOP 20 Hudební video:
                          #10 (lw:#13) Live at Wembley stadium/DVD -47 weeks, peak:#1-


                          • IFPI Finland has updated the sales of Greatest Hits II in that country. It is now at 149,622 copies sold, just short of being certified triple platinum.



                            • Originally posted by HUR
                              IFPI Finland has updated the sales of Greatest Hits II in that country. It is now at 149,622 copies sold, just short of being certified triple platinum.

                              Good find HUR - does this album still hold the record as being the best selling foreign album the Finland? Thanks


                              • Digital tracks from USA - Updated figures:

                                Bohemian Rhapsody 2,517,529
                                From the beginning of 2012, it has sold 189,000 downloads, while from November the figure is 217,000 downloads. So the total is 2,860,000. Perhaps it could have reached 2,900,000, if it had sold 40,000 copies for the live versions during the period November 2011-Today.

                                We Will Rock You 2,203,863
                                From the beginning of 2012, it has sold 146,000 downloads, while from November, the figure is 173,000 downloads. So the total is 2,458,000. So considering the live versions, it could have reached 2,500,000 units.

                                Another One Bites The Dust 1,401,968
                                From May 2012 to present, it has sold approximately 58,000 downloads.

                                We Are The Champions 1,372,387
                                From May 2012 to present, it has sold 56,000 units.

                                Considering Under Pressure, which has sold 83,000 units from January 2012 to June 2012, and Fat Bottomed Girls, which has sold 10,000 copies in two weeks only.

                                So this is the summary for the year 2012:
                                Bohemian Rhapsody 189,000;
                                We Will Rock You 146,000;
                                Under Pressure 83,000 (from January to June);
                                We Are The Champions 56,000 (from May to August);
                                Another One Bites The Dust 58,000 (from May to August);
                                Fat Bottomed Girls 10,000 (only two weeks).

                                Total: 542,000


                                • Wow great report. Great digital sales this year.

                                  Originally posted by EdWood
                                  Originally posted by HUR
                                  IFPI Finland has updated the sales of Greatest Hits II in that country. It is now at 149,622 copies sold, just short of being certified triple platinum.

                                  Good find HUR - does this album still hold the record as being the best selling foreign album the Finland? Thanks
                                  Officially, yes. Although, Abba's Gold hasn't been updated for years, so you never know.


                                  • Australia:
                                    Top 50 catalogue albums: (Aria)
                                    #19 lw:#23 weeks:47 peak:#12 GREATEST HITS Queen

                                    14 UNI/UMA


                                    • Queen are having an amazing run on itunes, number 17, big boost from the Olympics and 3 albums inside the top 150, great stuff!



                                      • Originally posted by nucleardolphin
                                        Queen are having an amazing run on itunes, number 17, big boost from the Olympics and 3 albums inside the top 150, great stuff!

                                        Thats an interesting site Nucleardolphin - never seen it before - thanks for the link!

                                        Glad to see Queen doing well on iTunes - hopefully we may see them back in the top 75 UK albums chart this week - its not like they have to sell many copies when the number 1 album only sold 9,578!

                                        We Will Rock You is doing the best worldwide so far but Boh Rap is currently number 2 in Lithania! Lol

                                        I wonder what kind of sales this would mean worldwide on a daily basis? It would be great if iTunes could supply sales info - especially if they could do this for all the countries out there!

                                        They did do well at the Olympics I thought and the Freddie singalong was fantastic - a real tribute to them!


                                        • US iTunes
                                          164. Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
                                          194. We Will Rock You - Queen
                                          342. We Are the Champions - Queen
                                          359. Another One Bites the Dust - Queen
                                          579. Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen
                                          587. Under Pressure - Queen & David Bowie
                                          786. Somebody to Love - Queen
                                          836. Under Pressure (with Queen) - David Bowie
                                          1022. We Will Rock You (feat. Jessie J) - Queen

                                          75. Queen : Greatest Hits - Queen
                                          125. The Platinum Collection - Queen
                                          279. Greatest Hits (We Will Rock You Edition) [Remastered] - Queen
                                          811. Classic Queen - Queen


                                          • Queen is also doing well on Amazon in the UK. An MP3 version of Greatest Hits with a digital booklet priced at £3.99 is currently at number 32 in the top 100 MP3 album charts. Platinum Collection is at number 80. There are numerous versions of these albums on there - they still have the old EMI CDs from 2002.

                                            Hopefully Queen will be back in the top 75 UK album chart this week although I think sales will be split between the 2 albums above.


                                            • Queen currently 15th in the iTunes worldwide chart



                                              • Thank you, Edwood.

                                                As far as their UK downloads sales are concerned, this is how the Rock/Metal singles quaterly chart looked liked for January, February and March combined in 2012:

                                                TOP 20 ROCK/METAL SINGLES Q1 2012
                                                07 QUEEN DON'T STOP ME NOW 11,849

                                                13 QUEEN BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY 9,025

                                                A combined 20,874 for just two songs during the first trimester of this year, these two are their biggest hits in the digital are (at least in Great Britain).

                                                Nothing happened during the first three months of 2012, so that is about what both Don't Stop Me Now and Bohemian Rhapsody normally sell.

                                                According to the Official Chart Company, Queen had sold 2,090,000 digital downloads by late 2010, with 470,000 (22%) coming from those two singles. Not sure if their cumulative tally was accurate, but this was information coming from the official chart compilers, who sometimes make mistakes like everyone else.


                                                • Queen's popularity today is evident. If you look at their placing on the chart listings on itunes, via that site it shows you they are always in the top 50 and most of the time inside the top 40. Only a handful of other bands from the 60's 70's or 80's are in there, Guns n Roses do well, as do U2 and obviously the Beatles and Pink Floyd. As you can see Queen right now are higher than all of them with the exception of the Beatles, but this is from the Olympics and a new release. Their success on itunes was way before the Olympics.


                                                  • Queen's Greatest Hits currently at number 35 on iTunes album chart. There are also 10 'Various Artist' compilations above this so in proper artist albums its at number 25 - surprised that it is still doing well a few day after the Olympics Closing Ceremony - lets hope it continues a bit longer!