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Best-Selling Albums Of 2001
Sci-fi scribe Arthur C. Clarke suggested that 2001 would be the year that the human race “made contact” with a higher life form that would help to advance the species. For record-buyers, 2001 ended up being a year when they adopted their own Hybrid Theory of musical evolution — by making Linkin Park’s debut LP the best-selling album of the year.
According to SoundScan figures for January 1 through December 30, 2001, Linkin Park sold more than 4.81 million copies of Hybrid Theory, outdistancing the #2 seller, Shaggy’s Hotshot, by more than 305,000 copies. Released in August 2000, Hotshot racked up some 4.5 million in sales during 2001 and held onto the top spot before yielding the top-selling honors to Linkin Park in late December.
Linkin Park’s best-selling year-end achievement is all the more impressive considering that Hybrid Theory never cracked the #1 spot on the weekly Billboard 200 albums chart at any point during 2001. The album instead made a slow and steady progression up the chart after firmly lodging itself in the top 20 during spring 2001, eventually peaking at #2 during the last sales week of the year (see “Guess Who’s #1 On Next Week’s Albums Chart? Hint: Begins With A ‘C’ … “ ).
With Hybrid Theory as the #1 seller of 2001, Linkin Park becomes the first rock artist to top the SoundScan year-end sales charts since Alanis Morissette, whose Jagged Little Pill was the best-selling disc of 1996 with more than 7.38 million copies sold that year. Released in June 1995, Jagged Little Pill currently stands as the second-biggest-selling LP of the SoundScan era (which dates back to May 1991) with 13.89 million copies sold. Morissette’s debut album trails only Shania Twain’s 1997 breakthrough, Come on Over, which has sold a staggering 14.14 million copies to date.
By scoring the best-selling album of the year, Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory breaks a four-year streak in which that honor was held by a pop act or soundtrack, though Theory‘s 4.81 million sold doesn’t measure up to its recent predecessors: ‘NSYNC’s No Strings Attached in 2000 (9.93 million copies sold during that year), Backstreet Boys’ Millennium in 1999 (9.44 million), the “Titanic” soundtrack in 1998 (9.33 million), and the Spice Girls’ Spice in 1997 (with 5.30 million).
The best-selling pop album last year was ‘NSYNC’s Celebrity, which ended up as the year’s #3 seller on the strength of more than 4.42 million copies sold. By year’s end, Shaggy’s Hotshot and ‘NSYNC’s Celebrity were separated by a mere 86,000 copies — with the reggae singer outselling ‘NSYNC in the nearly obsolete cassette format. With more than 304,000 tapes sold, Hotshot was easily the best-selling cassette of the year, while ‘NSYNC sold just 92,000 cassette versions of Celebrity. That surplus of 212,000 copies was more than enough to raise Hotshot‘s temperature to make it the #2 best-seller of 2001.
Other records making SoundScan’s best-selling LPs list include Enya’s A Day Without Rain at #4 (with 4.41 million copies sold), followed by Staind’s Break the Cycle (4.24 million), Alicia Keys’ Songs in A Minor (4.10 million), and Destiny Child’s Survivor at #7 (3.71 million).
Even though it’s only been in stores for six weeks, Creed’s third album, Weathered, has already moved more than 3.58 million copies to become the #8 seller of the year. Rounding out the year-end list of best-sellers are the country- and bluegrass-laden “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack with 3.46 million copies sold, and the Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 6 collection, featuring familiar hits from the likes of Britney Spears, Coldplay and Lenny Kravitz, at #10 with 3.13 million copies sold.
The only other album to break the 3 million mark during 2001 was Jennifer Lopez’s second effort, J.Lo, which sold 3.03 million copies to finish as the 11th best-selling record of the year.
Overall, total album sales for 2001 were down 2.8 percent from the previous year, according to SoundScan, with the music industry seeing a sizable 5.1 percent slowdown in holiday sales (Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve) this year from the same time period in 2000.
Best-Selling Catalog Albums Of 2001
With bassist Jason Newsted’s split from the group and frontman James Hetfield’s stint in rehab, Metallica spent much of the year on hiatus. That didn’t stop fans from making Metallica’s eponymous 1991 album from being the best-selling deep catalog title of the year with more than 540,000 copies sold. (For the sake of argument — and this column — “deep catalog” is defined as an album that has been in stores for more than five years.)
Metallica’s self-titled “Black Album” has sold more than 12.98 million copies to date, making it the third best-selling album of the SoundScan era, trailing only the aforementioned Twain and Morissette albums. Metallica is more than a million copies ahead of the #4 and #5 albums on the all-time SoundScan top 10 list as well, as the Backstreet Boys’ Millennium and Whitney Houston’s “The Bodyguard” soundtrack have sold 11.97 million and 11.68 million copies, respectively.
Another deep catalog seller from 2001 was Lee Greenwood’s 1992 album, American Patriot, which witnessed a tremendous sales push following the September 11 attacks on America. The country singer’s collection of patriotic standards and American anthems sold more than 515,000 copies last year alone — almost three times as many copies as American Patriot had totaled in the previous nine years (just 185,000 copies).
Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon (503,000 copies sold last year), Bob Seger’s Greatest Hits (497,000), and Bob Marley & the Wailers’ Legend (489,000) were also among the best-selling deep catalog titles of the past year.
Best-Selling Soundtracks Of 2001
In cinematic terms, the biggest-selling soundtrack of the year was the companion to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” the acclaimed Coen Brothers film. The “O Brother” LP, which featured contributions from Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch and Emmylou Harris as well as the film’s fictional Soggy Bottom Boys, sold over 3.46 million copies. The nominee for Album of the Year at this year’s Grammy Awards (see “U2, India.Arie Lead Grammy Pack” ) is the #9 best-selling album of the year, as mentioned earlier.
Other notable selling soundtracks from last year included the “Save the Last Dance” album, with cuts from the likes of Lucy Pearl, K-Ci & JoJo and 112 (2.03 million copies sold), and the “Coyote Ugly” soundtrack, which included several songs from country singer LeAnn Rimes (2.02 million).
The “Moulin Rouge” soundtrack, featuring Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Mya and Pink’s French-twisting cover of Labelle’s “Lady Marmalade,” was next on the list of best-selling soundtracks at 1.63 million, followed by the “Shrek” soundtrack at 1.13 million.
Best-Selling Singles Of 2001
Last year may have been a down year for the music industry, but it was especially hard on singles. Unlike 2000, which boasted two different million-sellers in Santana’s “Maria Maria” and Madonna’s “Music” — and a near-million-seller in Sisqó’s “Incomplete” (981,000 copies sold) — 2001 did not produce a single single that crossed the million mark.
The best-selling single of 2001 belongs to Mariah Carey’s “Loverboy,” which only sold some 570,000 copies. Indicative of the difficult year Carey has endured, the “Loverboy” single has sold more copies than the “Glitter” soundtrack it was taken from — the album has sold 490,000 copies to date, according to SoundScan’s year-end figures.
There were only two other singles that broke the half-million mark last year: Joe’s “Stutter” (542,000 copies sold) from the R&B vocalist’s My Name Is Joe album, and Eden’s Crush’s “Get Over Yourself” (539,000), from the female quintet’s debut album, Popstars — itself named after the TV series that spawned the group.
Best-Selling Music Videos Of 2001
The top-selling music videos of 2001 were dominated by documents of several big live outings, led by “The Up in Smoke Tour.” Boasting performances from an all-star rap lineup of Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, among others, the video smoked more than 245,000 copies to be the #1 seller of 2001.
Sultry singer Britney Spears holds onto the #2 best-selling video with her own concert scrapbook, “Britney in Hawaii: Live & More,” which sold 168,000 copies to just edge out Tool’s “Salival” video, which sold 167,000 copies to finish at #3.
Other music videos that sold more than 100,000 copies last year include ‘NSYNC’s “Live at Madison Square Garden” (140,000 copies), the Eagles’ “Hell Freezes Over” (127,000), ‘NSYNC’s “Making the Tour” (112,000), and Pearl Jam’s “Touring Band 2000″ (103,000).
[In SoundScan we trust. All figures, unless otherwise noted, are according to SoundScan's audited sales numbers and reflect sales as of press time.]