The Gross National Debt

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Looking for the greatest

On the way back from CWOT, Dusty V. asked "What is the greatest American rock band of all time."

Qualified. The Beatles and the Stones, right out.


I replied Lynyrd Skynyrd. He came back with The Eagles.

I could make a case for either one, except the case for The Eagles would be a bit weaker in my mind. I doubt this is because I live in the South and Skynyrd is Southern Rock, but it could be.

As I write this, still siding with Skynyrd, but I decided to take a look at some numbers. Used Wikipedia for this, so take it however you like. I'm not so invested in this that Imma do detailed research.

The Eagles have 9 albums. They actually have more but I ain't considering compilations in this. All went Platinum and all but the first release went multi-Platinum. Hotel California went Diamond, or Platinum level 16 times. To go Platinum, an album has to sell 1 million copies. What with file sharing, and evening copying years ago, I'd not be surprised to learn the actual numbers are double what is listed.

Skynyrd has 21 albums, using the same metric applied to The Eagles. Only 5 went Platinum.

The Eagles had the #1 album in the US 5 times. All their albums make it into the top 100 chart.

Skynyrd never had an album hit #1 and had several that never broke into the chart.

The Eagles had 5 No. 1 singles. Skynyrd had none.

If this comparison is run straight by numbers on sales of music, it's a slam dunk for The Eagles.

If you run the numbers by the releases, Skynyrd takes the same kind of lead here that The Eagles have in sales.

On one hand, there is a volume of work. On the other hand, there is commercial success.

Which measurement deserves the greater weight? Remember these are iconic, legendary bands who put out a lot of material. The volume of work has to be considered. This is why Nirvana is not a contender. Kurt Cobain's genius on the work he generated while alive is obvious, but could he sustain that over a period of time? The Eagles and Skynyrd did.

I admit this brief research has done little to settle the issue in my mind. Still siding with Skynyrd because I prefer the blues influence that is in Southern Roc,

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