Saturday, October 11, 2003


by Wayne Robins

Better late than never: Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew," (Columbia) one of the most influential, inventive and important records of the modern era, was certified platinum last month by the RIAA for sales of more than one million units. It was released August 19, 1969, according to Billboard. Another slow-but-steady platinum achiever: The Beach Boys' "Endless Summer," first released at the beginning of the summer...of 1974. Country singer Alan Jackson also reached the million mark with the second volume of his greatest hits compilation. The Arista Nashville artist accomplished that milestone with a bit more haste: It went from release to platinum in six weeks, while the latest release by Chingy, appropriately titled "Jackpot," (Capitol) hit that million in less than eight weeks.
This is not todeflate Jackson or Chingy, who are both good at what they do. But it is worth remembering what those in the music business may think of as the good old days, even acclaimed crossover records like "Bitches Brew," which built the bridge between jazz and rock that became known as fusion, sold only fractionally in relation to its reputation. According to "The Billboard Book of Top 40 Albums" by Joel Whitburn, it is the only Davis' album to have reached the pop top 40, and just barely: It peaked at number 35 nearly a year after it was released.
More compellingly, the Beach Boys' "Endless Summer" compilation reached number one just a few weeks after its release in 1974, but still took nearly 30 years to go platinum. E-mail me with what you think all this means, if anything, and I'll post your comments.
(c) 2003 Wayne Robins. All rights reserved.

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