Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

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Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

Postby capo » 03 Nov 2013, 08:33

The general rule at this forum, and a good one at that, is not to post something just for the sake of it or, more importantly, to provoke controversy or in anyway denigrate Rory. I say this because I want to broach a subject that has bothered me for a long time and this is the place to do so. Rory's sales figures. I find it hard to believe that he has really sold over 30 million albums world wide. Even with his resurgence in recent years and re discoverey by old fans and a new generation via social media I find it hard to fathom if these figures are true, why is he still relatively obscure. On the one hand, what does it matter if these numbers are inflated to give Rory an apperance of wider popularity, who does it hurt? Still, its like the bogus Hendrix quote, its not needed to bolster Rory's greatness and artistry or his growing influence. Hell, maybe I'm wrong and he has sold in excess of 30 million albums . Its just doesnt make sense to me if he did why its still such a uphill battle , then and now, to make his music better known. Anyway, this is not meant in any way to disrespect a man we all love and cherise, or his legacy. Its just something I have wondered about for a long time. Am I alone in this? Peace.
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Re: Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

Postby RobertaSparrow » 03 Nov 2013, 10:51

30 million albums- I've heard that figure tossed about before. I don't know exactly how or where that figure comes from, and over what span of time. Are we counting from, say, 1969 through 2013? Including all his official releases and all the bootlegs that he never intended, or saw the profit from? And we're talking "albums," assorted groups of collections with Rory's music, or things he worked on, or guest appearances? I don't use that figure to measure a man's success or wealth anyway. I don't think the numbers are necessarily inflated. But I don't think they are really very relevant, either. After all the middle men, the stuffed suits, and of course those few "pirates" that actually sell bootlegs take their cut, it doesn't really translate to much. Seems like the model for what an "album" earns against what the artist receives would be an excellent model for trickle-down economics, with the artist at the bottom waiting for the dregs to reach him.

Seems to me Rory's greatest strength was in his mastery over the guitar, and how he could mesmerize an audience with his musical wizardry. His greatest desire seemed to be performing on stage, before his audience, playing for the people. I would guess that, second to that would be making music with other musicians. We all remember him for the artist he was, for the man he was. We remember him from seeing him on stage, cherish those memories because there was something magical in being in the same room with him when he played, in watching him recreate his music as if it was brand-new each time he played it. He didn't just play his music for us, when he was up there he shared his creative genius with us, took us along with him on his journey, for as long as he was in the room, up there on the stage.

Thank goodness for YouTube- people who have never heard him before can see him play, and I've heard it before, younger people who've never seen anyone quite like him, "How come I've never heard of this man before?" That is why his legacy is growing- that's why I fervently hope that the IOW tapes will be released soon- I want the world to see what the rest of us already know ;)
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Re: Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

Postby Flamenca » 03 Nov 2013, 12:00

Hi Capo

A good question and I think I may be able to shed a little light on this ...

The majority of Rory's sales took place in the 1970s - before videos, games or social media had been invented.
Thus, during this time, record sales were at their peak as there was little else to entertain us teenagers.

'Why is he relatively obscure?'
Many musicians from the 1970s have been lost in the mists of time, mainly due to the behaviour of the gatekeepers such as the BBC and major record labels.

Rory was the most frequently occurring musician on the BBC tv show 'The Old Grey Whistle Test', and the BBC have hours of footage of him, yet when he died, one of their researchers telephoned Donal to ask for contact details for any German footage he might know of - Donal advised them to look into their own archives ... Basically, the BBC researcher didn't know what they had!

I have my old personal beef about 'The Old Grey Whistle Test'. It was a superb tv show presented and edited by a very knowledgeable, credible journalist - Bob Harris. In 1978, the BBC decided it was old fashioned and needed revamping. They fired Bob Harris very abruptly, changed the name of the show to 'Whistle Test', hired a blonde bimbo Annie Nightingale (and bimbo she was at that time, the token only female DJ on BBC radio), and changed the musical offering to pop for young teenagers. People like me, in their 20s, no longer had any weekly musical representation on tv because there was only three channels back then. Occasionally, there were one-off 'Sight and Sound' gigs broadcast, but they were not regular events. So basically, we just didn't get to hear our choice of music because it didn't get any airplay, hence the artists like Rory became obscure.

The modern equivalent would be to decide that 'Later With Jules Holland' is old fashioned, so sack him, change the name to 'Later', hire a blonde bimbo e.g. Fern Cotton, and change the musical policy from credible musicians, to acts like 'One Direction'. It just wouldn't happen now because the BBC no longer control the airwaves as gatekeeper.

Tv's musical offering from the 1980s on, digressed into overt 'porn pop'.
It started with acts like Souxie and the Banshees, Frankie Goes to Hollywood etc. although Led Zep did stretch the boundaries with Robert Plant's tight trousers, but Led Zep were still credible musicians.
Those who played music and were credible musicians, as opposed to using it as a vehicle to peddle sex, were no longer regarded as hot and were frozen out.

The live music scene is essential to keep an artist in the public eye. Sadly, Rory is not here to tour himself. Fortunately we have great tribute bands out there, flying the flag for Rory ...

With regard to record sales, I personally did the accounting for 'Defender'. I can't remember how many units it sold, but I do remember that it way outsold the other next best two indie releases that I also accounted for at that time. These were Yazz - 'Wanted' (The Only Way is Up) album on Big Life Records, and Salt-n-Pepa's 'A Salt With A Deadly Pepa' album licensed through Champion Records in the UK.

Sales unit figures have to be certified by a qualified accountant to receive the accreditation of the relevant industry bodies. The person who certified Rory's record sales is a guy called Dave Robinson who was a VP of Finance at BMG for over 20 years before retiring in 2010. He knows his stuff inside out, so as he has certified that Rory has sold over 30 million units worldwide, then I'm happy to accept these are true and fair figures.
Last edited by Flamenca on 13 Apr 2014, 14:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

Postby Jay Jay » 03 Nov 2013, 12:44

Flamenca wrote:The person who certified Rory's record sales is a guy called Dave Robinson who was a VP of Finance at BMG for over 20 years before retiring in 2010. He knows his stuff inside out, so as he has certified that Rory has sold over 30 million units worldwide, then I'm happy to accept these are true and fair figures.


capo wrote: I find it hard to believe that he has really sold over 30 million albums world wide.


Hi Capo,

I hope you don't mind but I have edited your topic title.. because this is the exact question you are asking "Rory's Album Sales".

I firmly believe the 30 million to be pretty accurate but only for Rory Gallagher solo albums. The day or day after Rory's death. The Financial Times had a front page article about Rory. Saying then in June 1995. That he had sold over 20 million albums. I'll try and dig this out and show you with a picture.

Not beating about the bush though. IMO, if you included all Rory's "units" as Flamenca stated by Dave Robinson. This meaning Taste Albums, Taste compilations, Some RG compilations, Singles and now all Blu-ray, DVD's and downloads. I would not be surprised that the figure is not now around the 40 million or maybe more?

Plus, with all the live concert Rory did worldwide. Probably one of the biggest bootlegs artist around. So that's no doubt into the millions to unfortunately.

Rock On for Rory
Slainte, Jay Jay

PS. It is ironic Capo, your username is one of the reasons Rory chose to start his own "Capo Record Label." Because of the nonsense he suffered by the "music business" that had been treating Rory so unfairly in the passed. Still carrying on and obstructing his legacy even now, with The Taste material not being released :cry:
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Re: Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

Postby capo » 03 Nov 2013, 13:17

Wow, thank you Cynthia, Jay Jay, and particularly Flamenca, for clearing up and more than satisfying my questions on Rory's sales. With Flamenca's vast knowledge on the inner workings of the music business and her personal experience in that field, I'm now happy to accept that Rory has indeed sold in excess of 30 million albums, ect. Its good to know that millions more then I thought have and will hear Rory's music. Thanks again. Joe
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Re: Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

Postby Flamenca » 03 Nov 2013, 14:10

Hi Everyone

"Units" - generally refers to albums, as singles are generally thought of as promos, issued to promote album sales. In this context I meant album sales across all formats - vinyl, cassette, digital and downloads. If you include all singles, promo stuff and audio visual releases, including the Taste product, then I agree with JayJay - these probably amount to in excess of 40 million units and counting ... ;)
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Re: Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

Postby JimLED » 03 Nov 2013, 21:39

I'm not sure, but I think record companies still has a bases of their LP or CD production. And this all possible to find over www.
For example, two my LPs of Rory.

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Re: Rory's Album Sales Figures World Wide

Postby innuendo » 22 Nov 2013, 18:11

flamenca you said: His latest album released in 2012 has sold over 15 million units, but you've still probably never heard of him because he gets very little airtime, and relies on the tours to get the word out.

if your boss has sold 15 million copies of his last album there is no way he would be so little known, that is enormous number and that would suggest it was one of the best selling albums of 2012, maybe just behind adele. so can you clarify how many albums did you really mean your boss sold? cos 15 millions can't be right.
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