Joshua Tree Chart Positions! - U2 Feedback

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Old 10-27-2001, 07:05 PM   #1
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Joshua Tree Chart Positions!

I have collected Joshua Tree chart info for the USA and other countries. Info for outside the USA comes from top 10, top 20, or top 40 charts. The USA chart is of course the Billboard 200 and I will list the 103 weeks Joshua Tree spent on those charts and the 40 weeks Joshua Tree spent in the European top 20. All this info of course comes from the years, 1987, 1988, and 1989.

USA Billboard 200

7-3-2-1-1-1-1-1-1-1
1-1-3-2-2-2-2-4-4-5
5-7-9-10-10-10-10-9-9-8
9-9-9-10-10-12-12-16-15-15
14-13-15-15-16-16-20-21-25-28
24-20-21-25-29-30-33-39-50-63
72-76-75-86-86-95-113-122-129-144
138-130-132-141-133-125-130-122-130-113
127-137(5P)-142-154-147-152-133-148-146-162 145-145-150-158-147-178-165-163-171-186
181-190-199
A total of 103 weeks on the Billboard 200 in the USA for Joshua Tree. The album dropped of the USA chart in April 1989. Joshua Tree would return to the charts again in 1991 though, this time on the new Catalog album chart!

The European Chart represents sales all across Europe. Europe as a whole, is roughly the same size market as the USA. I was able to obtain chart info for only the top 20 on the European chart. Here it is. The Joshua Tree's performance is very impressive!

7-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1
1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-2
2-2-2-2-2-2-3-3-3-3
3-3-6-5-7-9-9-14-15-16
16
Again, I could only obtain the top 20 for the European chart. I also have JT chart info for the United Kingdom, West Germany, Canada, Australia and a few other countries. I will post those later. I hope this satisfy's anyones curiousity.
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Old 10-27-2001, 07:35 PM   #2
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Thanks STING2 - you newbie! LOL!

The album spent a full YEAR in the U.S. Top 30. A full year!!! No album, no matter how successful, would spend a full year in the Top 30 these days. This is why I didn't look up the results for JT. SoundScan provides far more accurate information than sales reports from record shops across the country.

Also, look at how it took the album four weeks to climb to #1, despite debuting at #7. This is just proof of how record labels back then liked to see their album "climb the charts." It wouldn't surprise me if some Island execs were upset to see the album debut so high on the U.S. charts. I'm sure they would have preferred a lower debut to give the illusion of the album growing into a super hit. In contrast, these days most albums peak in their debut weeks. There are always exceptions (like Enya right now), but for most releases, the debut week is their highest chart position. And this is logical. Albums, like movies, are anticipated. As such, both usually have their biggest grosses in their debut weeks.

I highly doubt we would have seen the same chart performance from JT if it had been released in the SoundScan era. It may have still lingered in the Top 200 for nearly two years (other albums have done that), but that first year is VERY questionable.

This is why I only compare ATYCLB to U2's SoundScan era albums. While the SoundScan technology was still new when AB was released, I still feel that this provides a more accurate reflection of an album's chart success.

For comparison purposes only, here are the U.S. Billboard chart performances (partial list) of U2's last three releases (prior to ATYCLB but excluding OS1).

"Achtung Baby"
1-3-4-4-7-4-7-6-6-6
9-9-8-9-12-12-12-10-7-7
12-13-10-13-11-11-11-17-17-21
18-21-25-30-28-35-39-43-40-26
23-29-30-28-30-34-47-42-37-39
44-45-44-52-50-49-46

"Zooropa"
1-1-2-3-4-6-10-11-13-16
20-22-29-37-40-42-52-62-73-86
81-79-76-65-58-54-60-58-68-82
99-111

"POP"
1-2-8-12-14-13-13-15-15-18
20-29-33-42-49-56-68-89-96-117
124

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Old 10-27-2001, 08:53 PM   #3
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While the previous charts to Soundscan are not as accurate, and were slower in reporting data, they are certainly not useless. Remember that the Joshua Tree was the 2nd biggest selling album in the USA in 1987. I'm sure you would find a year in the top 30 not unusual for the biggest selling album of the year even today. Also, there were 6 albums that did debut at #1 before the soundscan era. I consider it a slower process in reporting sales data to be the reason for the slow rise up the charts before Soundscan.
No record company I don't believe, would have any rational reason for protesting entering the chart at #1. Look at Europe. Point of Sale systems similar to soundscan have been in use there up to a decade before Soundscan started in the USA.
Joshua Tree is still today U2s most successful album in terms of success in sales vs the rest of the artist in the first year and also in sales after the first year. While the Joshua Tree took second place to Whitney Houstons album in the USA in 1987, She was not ahead by much, and worldwide Joshua Tree was the top selling album of the year.
In general, I'll think you'll find that top 5 biggest albums in any given year still spend most of the weeks in the top 30, while before it may have been the top 10.
Also, in the old era, the albums with the best chart performance are still the albums that sold the most.
I would argue that Joshua Tree's chart performance would still be better than that of Achtung Baby even if Soundscan had been used in 1987 because Joshua Tree was the 2nd biggest selling album of the year in the USA and nearly the biggest. There were only 7 albums that made it to Triple Platinum status in 1987 while in 1992 there were almost 20 that did. So U2 while at the top in both 1987 and 1992, was at the top in 1987 by a larger margin, which seems to make the chart performance seem even more accurate.
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Old 10-27-2001, 11:51 PM   #4
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Oh, I'm not doubting that JT would have done very well on the charts. However, I just question whether the numbers would have been as outstanding if SoundScan were used then. For example, rarely in the SoundScan era does an album stay #1 longer than 3-4 weeks; yet, JT was there for 9 weeks.

I think we should do a "test." N'Sync had the, or one of the, top selling albums last year. If I'm correct, it sold over 10 million copies last year alone. I'd like to see its chart position for a full year. JT took 82 weeks to be certified 5x Platinum, whereas, "No Stings Attached" reached double that in actual sales to customers (not just shipped copies) in about 52 weeks. I have a feeling that we won't see "No Strings Attached" in the Top 30 for a whole year despite these huge sales.

Also, AB reached 5x Platinum in almost the same time as JT did (AB took a bit longer). Yet AB clearly did not spend an entire year in the U.S. Top 30. In other words, with today's accurate sales reports, it's very challenging for an album to remain in the Top 30 for long, even if it is selling well. For example, last holiday season, ATYCLB sold a whopping 259,000 copies one week, yet still only charted at #18.

Also, it is a VERY well known fact that prior to SoundScan, there was corruption in reporting figures. Billboard had no choice but to rely on sales reports from stores, but it is easy to understand why Billboard rushed to the SoundScan system as soon as it was ready. Before SoundScan, people have now revealed that record labels would "bribe" store owners to either under-report or over-report sales (again, to at first give the illusion of an album climbing up the charts and then, once it's at the top, to stay there for as long as it could). Also, store owners would have their own biases. If they liked a certain album or artist over another one, they would report that their favored artist had better sales. I'm not saying such bias occurred with JT, but it might have.

Lastly, while *some* albums debuted at #1 during the pre-SoundScan era, these are the token exceptions. One cannot base conclusions or patterns on exceptions. For example, U2 was as "hot" as they could be when R&H was released, yet that album still didn't debut at #1! In contrast, most #1 albums these days, in the SoundScan era, debuted there. They didn't "climb the charts" to that position. This fact alone shows how different the two eras are.
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Old 10-28-2001, 01:36 AM   #5
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All true. But in reference to the sales figures comparison between Joshua and Achtung, while they are similar, Joshua Tree was farther ahead vs the competition. That would validate a better chart performance by Joshua than Achtung. There simply was not as many multi-platinum albums in 1987 as there was in 1992.
The systems are different and the degree of corruption that existed before soundscan cannot be measured. What can be though is RIAA sales and chart performance. Albums that don't sell very well don't have great chart performance and albums that do sell well have great chart performance. Looking at any particular week can be misleading. But looking over the long run does show that chart performance back then does correspond with RIAA sales figures.
The Soundscan system is obviously superior to the prior system. The old system may have been biased in some cases, but it was not rigged. Otherwise, only the largest record companies would be successful and I.R.S. A&M and Island would have a real uphill battle. Most POP and Rock albums were well reported. Country albums tended to be a little under-reported. Some albums might place 10 to 20 positions higher in soundscan then they ever would on the old chart.
While N'SYNC might fail the one year test for the year 2000, I'm willing to bet that Creed would pass it. There are still albums out there that have longevity in their chart runs on soundscan similar to the old system, but perhaps at a level of 20 positions lower for an average.
I'll post Joshua Tree's performance on the United Kingdom chart next. Point of sale system for the charts has been in use there since the 1970s. So entering at #1 on the UK chart back in 1979 or 1987 was not unusual and a normal occurance.
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Old 10-31-2001, 11:34 AM   #6
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I don't mean to cause an argument but didn't Creed's Human Clay spend a whole year in the Top 30 or 20 even?
 
Old 10-31-2001, 03:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by socalu2fan:
I don't mean to cause an argument but didn't Creed's Human Clay spend a whole year in the Top 30 or 20 even?
That's what I want to find out. That is, can an album remain in the Top 30 for a whole year in the SoundScan era. So if anyone wants to do the research, Creed's "Human Clay" and N'Sync's "No Strings Attached" are good starting choices.

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Old 11-01-2001, 10:49 AM   #8
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You also might want to check out Enya's Day without Rain. It may have slipped slightly out of the top 30 early on, but I know for the last 5 months that I've been watching it, I am pretty sure it has been in the top 25 or higher. And the album itself has been out a year now.
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Old 02-26-2002, 05:28 PM   #9
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Bump, more info coming later.
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Old 02-26-2002, 08:09 PM   #10
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Here is Joshua Tree's run in the Canadian top 20!

4-3-1-1-2-1-1-1-1-1
1-1-1-1-1-1-1-2-1-2
2-2-2-2-1-1-2-3-4-4(10P)
3-5-3-3-2-6-4-2-2-2
4-4-4-4-9-9-5-7-8-10
15-X-X-16-14-16

As you can see from this, the Joshua Tree's sales in Canada were just simply amazing. This might have even defeated Ireland on a per capita basis. On a per capita basis, more than 3 times that of the USA.
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Old 02-26-2002, 08:51 PM   #11
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Here is Joshua Tree's performance in the top 40 of the United Kingdom album chart!

1-1-2-2-3-4-7-4-4-8
5-4-4-3-2-3-2-2-4-5
3-6-6-9-6-9-5-10-12-14
16-19-22-27-37-X-X-X-X-X
X-38-21-18-21-24-28-32-13-15
19-17-21-28-33-38

In the United Kingdom, Joshua Tree sold over 300,000 copies in the first 48 hours of release to become the fastest selling album in the history of the UK at that time. Despite selling so quickly out of the gate, the album continued to hang around for a long time.
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Old 02-26-2002, 09:27 PM   #12
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There might be a clue here on the fact that there were only 7 - 3x platinum certifications in 1987 compared to 20 in the USA in 1992. Did sales increase that much or were there many more bigger sellers in 1992 than 1987. Again I think the Soundscan data is far more accurate and the RIAA maybe underesimated sales in 1987.

Sting2 - thanks for the Europe Chart for JT - looks JT was as big in Europe and it was in the USA in 1987 - blows my previous post away
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Old 02-26-2002, 09:54 PM   #13
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Yep there was a steady rise in albums sales form 1987 to 1992 as the music industry got bigger with many new types of popular music. If anything, RIAA is a slight overestimate in trying to determine actual sales to people. I have a book on Gold and Platinum records and there is a steady increase over the years on the number of albums that achieve various sales levels.
Back in 1980, going GOLD was considered to still be a major accomplishment. U2s WAR almost made it into the top 50 in 1983 with an album that only went GOLD. The industry was smaller back then as well as the buying public. Every year it has grown. A 4 million selling album in 1987 is like a 6 or 7 million selling album today.
Want to see a classic gradual selling album. Look up AC/DCs Back In Black! If your popular and your album is a classic, in the long run, most of your album sales will come AFTER the first big year.
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Old 02-27-2002, 12:10 AM   #14
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I'm not sure, but I think Savage Garden's debut album SAVAGE GARDEN (funny that), stayed in the Top 30 in the USA for over a year....not exactly sure how long, conflicting numebrs in my memory, so i won't make any estimates.
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Old 02-27-2002, 05:16 PM   #15
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U2opia,
You stated in another thread that you did not think Joshua Tree had strong chart performance in big countries like Germany and Japan compared to the USA. Check this out! This is Joshua Tree's performance in the German top 20! Guess which country Joshua Tree had more weeks at the #1 and #2 positions combined, Germany or the USA?

11-4-2-2-2-2-2-1-1-1
1-1-1-2-2-2-2-2-2-2
2-3-3-3-3-4-6-6-6-9
12-13-19-19
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Old 02-27-2002, 09:10 PM   #16
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You are correct - that is a good get in getting this info from old chart data 15 years ago. The thing about stats is that you can quote them from different perspectives - sure JT had more weeks in Germany at the number 1 and 2 position compared to the USA, but JT had more weeks at the number 1 position in the USA versus Germany (9 versus 6) as well as the top 10 (I think JT logged 35 weeks in the US top 10).

Either way - the album did bloody well all over the world and was equally as strong in the USA versus Europe. Let's hope for U2's next album that they can spend more weeks in the USA top 10 and that this sales trend will return.


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Old 03-01-2002, 08:22 PM   #17
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Well, since I started doing this, I might as well finish up with all the Joshua Tree chart info I have. Here is how Joshua Tree did in the Australian top 20. This is a surprise!

3-3-3-3-4-6-8-9-7-6
6-6-6-7-7-7-6-6-6-8
8-9-11-14-17-18-20-19-X-X
X-17-14-13-12-13-X-X-X-X
X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X
X-X-20

Yep, thats right, The Joshua Tree did not hit #1 in Australia. It was held off the top by Paul Simon and another artist I'll have to look back at because I can't remember at the moment. It did jump back to #20 for 1 week after having been gone for months, probably because of the Album of the Year award. Despite not reaching #1, I'm willing to bet that the Joshua Tree is still U2s best selling album to date in Australia.
Oh, the Unforgettable fire entered the album chart at #1 and "Under A Blood Red Sky" entered at #2!
I only have four more countries to cover because the Hits worldwide from Billboard only covered 8 countries in 1987, plus the big European chart. Those 4 countries are Japan, Netherlands, France, and Italy. Some of the info is incomplete, because only two sections were given to cover four countries. So only two countries of the four were printed per week, and sometimes only the singles chart. I'll provide what info I have though. Italy and the Netherlands are nearly complete.
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Old 03-02-2002, 12:39 PM   #18
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Ok here is Joshua Tree's performance in the Italian top 20! A ? means that chart info was not posted or could not be found for that week. Here it is:

15-15-3-?-?-?-6-3-3-2
2-2-?-?-4-6-6-7-7-6
?-?-?-?-8-9-9-7-7-7
7-19-?-19-19

A total of 35 weeks in the Italian top 20 with 10 of those weeks unknown. Weeks 4,5,6, and 13 and 14 could have been spent at #1. Without knowing though the highest position that can be confirmed is #2. But remember this is Italy, so I'd be surprised if none of the ? weeks was a week at the top.
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Old 03-02-2002, 12:54 PM   #19
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THE NETHERLANDS!
For the Netherlands only the top 10 albums were posted each week. Again, there were a few weeks that were not posted and these are marked with ?. Here it is:

1-1-?-?-1-1-1-1-1-1
?-1-1-2-2-2-?-2-3-3
4-5-5-5-4-5-5-6

28 weeks in the Dutch top 10, 27 weeks in the Dutch top 5, perhaps 13 weeks at #1! Only Canada and the EUROPEAN chart have more weeks at #1 with 17 weeks each for the Joshua Tree.
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Old 03-02-2002, 07:24 PM   #20
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I am not sure if JT is the biggest selling album in Australia - I have a sneaking suspicion that Rattle and Hum is but I have been unable to find any info to back up this claim - Sting where did you get this chart from and any chart data from Australia for 88-89 for Rattle and Hum.

Why would Australia possibly be one of the few places in the world where JT is not the biggest U2 Seller (we know that AB, Best Of and ATYCLB are 5x platinum - though the 5x platinum is not stated on our official ARIA charts for ATYCLB, a TV advertisment for ATYCLB during the Grammy's stated that it was 5x platinum and this was an old ad as it had worlwide sales at 8m so ATYCLB maybe closing in on 6 platinum). Here are some possible reasons why :

1. Rattle and Hum made it to number 1 and was still high in the charts over the Christmas sales period - the movie helped the hype and sales here. JT only made it to number 3 - held out by Paul Simon and a local artist called John Farnham (whose album Whispering Jack is the biggest seller in Australia and was recently certified 17x platinum)

2. Desire was U2's first number one single in Australia (3 weeks at number 1).

3. I may be wrong, but I recall seeing a chart years ago that Rattle & Hum was 6x platinum and JT either 4x or 5x platinum. However backcatalogue sales may have pushed JT ahead. Little help here from anybody downunder - any old ARIA charts info ????

4. U2 did not tour Australia in 1987 to support JT, so we did not get the hype and the publicity that Europe and America got. However, it did tour Australia in 1989 and this tour was huge (played to 100,000 people in Melbourne and Sydney). They performed 23 concerts in Australia and were here for about a month. This pushed Rattle and Hum back in the top 10 as their most recent album release - again relying on my memory here and their backcatalogue back in the top 50. All I Want Is You (and a cover of Everlasting Love) made it to number 2 in the OZ charts when it was released at this time to support the album and tour.

These are possible reasons why Rattle and Hum might be their biggest seller in OZ and bucking the worldwide trend, but I have no statistical proof backing this up. Any info from OZ U2 fans.
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