Every Best Selling Album In The U.S., Organized By U.S. Presidents (Because ‘Murica)

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When I watched last week’s State Of The Union address, I had two thoughts: “Hey, those are a lot of great plans that Congress won’t pass,” and “Hey, I should organize every best selling album in the U.S. by who was President was at the time, our readers would love that!”

We’re starting with Eisenhower in 1956 because that was the first year album sales were tracked in the U.S., and all this data comes from this Wikipedia page, so take it for what it’s worth.

I also had to make some adjustments to what years went to which Presidents. For example, JFK has 1961 – 1963 since he officially began his term on January 20, 1961 and was assassinated November 22, 1963, so I’m just rounding up. Also, Nixon resigned office on August 1974 in the middle of the year, but I’m giving him all of 1974 just to make things easier for myself (sorry Gerald Ford). Reminder – all these album sales only include US sales.

Here are some interesting takeaways from doing all this research:

Albums that were bestsellers in back to back years:

-My Fair Lady soundtrack (1957-58)

-West Side Story soundtrack (1962-63)

-Michael Jackson’s Thriller (1983-84)

-Adele’s 21 (2011-12)

Artist with the most bestselling albums: Elton John (1974’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, 1975’s Elton John’s Greatest Hits, and 1994’s The Lion King soundtrack)

Other artists with multiple bestselling albums:

-Whitney Houston (1986’s Whitney Houston and 1993’s The Bodyguard soundtrack)

-Mariah Carey (1991’s Mariah Carey and 2005’s The Emancipation of Mimi)

-Eminem (2002’s The Eminem Show and 2010’s Recovery)

-Taylor Swift (2009’s Fearless and 2014’s 1989)

Artist I wasn’t expecting to have a bestselling album in the U.S.: Toto (though it is the album that has “Africa”)

Artist I was expecting to have a bestselling album in the U.S. but actually didn’t: The Eagles (they’re one of the bestselling bands of all time, but they never dominated a single year)

The most ironic album-President paring: Nixon and War’s The World Is a Ghetto

Alrighty, let’s begin:

 

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Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953 – 1960)

1956: Harry Belafonte – Calypso

1957 and 1958: My Fair Lady (Broadway cast recording)

1959: Henry Mancini – Music from Peter Gunn

1960: The Sound of Music (Broadway cast recording)

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John F. Kennedy (1961 – 1963)

1961: Camelot (Broadway cast recording)

1962 and 1963: West Side Story soundtrack

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Lyndon B. Johnson (1964 – 1968)

1964: Hello, Dolly! (Broadway cast recording)

1965: Mary Poppins soundtrack

1966: Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – Whipped Cream & Other Delights

1967: The Monkees – More of The Monkees

1968: The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Are You Experienced?

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Richard Nixon (1969 – 1974)

1969: Iron Butterfly – In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida

1970: Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water

1971: Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack

1972: Neil Young – Harvest

1973: War – The World Is a Ghetto

1974: Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

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Gerald Ford (1975 – 1976)

1975: Elton John – Elton John’s Greatest Hits

1976: Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive

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Jimmy Carter (1977 – 1980)

1977: Fleetwood Mac – Rumours

1978: Bee Gees – Saturday Night Fever soundtrack

1979: Billy Joel – 52nd Street

1980: AC/DC – Back in Black

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Ronald Reagan (1981 – 1988)

1981: REO Speedwagon – Hi Infidelity

1982: Toto – Toto IV

1983 and 1984: Michael Jackson – Thriller

1985: Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A.

1986: Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston

1987: Bon Jovi – Slippery When Wet

1988: George Michael – Faith

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George H. W. Bush (1989 – 1992)

1989: Bobby Brown – Don’t Be Cruel

1990: Janet Jackson – Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814

1991: Mariah Carey – Mariah Carey

1992: Billy Ray Cyrus – Some Gave All

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Bill Clinton (1993 – 2000)

1993: Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard soundtrack

1994: Elton John – The Lion King soundtrack

1995: Hootie and the Blowfish – Cracked Rear View

1996: Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill

1997: Spice Girls – Spice

1998: James Horner and Celine Dion – Titanic soundtrack

1999: Backstreet Boys – Millennium

2000: *NSYNC – No Strings Attached

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George W. Bush (2001 – 2008)

2001: Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory

2002: Eminem – The Eminem Show

2003: 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’

2004: Usher – Confessions

2005: Mariah Carey – The Emancipation of Mimi

2006: High School Musical soundtrack

2007: Josh Groban – Noel

2008: Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III

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Barack Obama (2009 – current)

2009: Taylor Swift – Fearless

2010: Eminem – Recovery

2011 and 2012: Adele – 21

2013: Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

2014: Taylor Swift – 1989

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Playlist: The 70s – Dazed And Confused

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Just like I made a playlist for the 60s, the good old 1970s gets its own spotify playlist.

I’ve tried to cover as much ground as I could – from disco (Bee Gees, ABBA), Heavy Metal (Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin), R&B, funk, and soul (Al Green, Isaac Hayes, Marvin Gaye), lo-fi and punk (Buzzcocks, The Clash, New York Dolls), soft rock (Fleetwood Mac, Elton John), singer-songwriter (Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor), to good old rock & roll (Bowie, Springsteen, Aerosmith). I also tried to throw in some deep tracks, including songs from Ann Peebles, Candi Staton, The Damned, David Essex, Dr. John, Fela Kuti, Freda Payne, Jorge Ben Jor, The Osmonds, Richard Hell, Rodriquez, The Slits, and more.

And yes, the Guardians of the Galaxy and Dazed and Confused soundtracks are on here too.

Enjoy!

 

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Playlist: Zach Braff’s iPod

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This new playlist combines many of the songs from the Garden State and Scrubs soundtracks in addition to some other songs that I think match Braff’s great range of taste in music. There are also some songs on here from his new movie Wish I Was Here released in limited release July 18th.

 

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Classics In The Making: The Perks of Being a Wallflower Movie Soundtrack

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a popular coming-of-age novel written by Stephen Chbosky in 1999 and is slowly reaching Catcher in the Rye status as an essential tale of the highs and lows of high school. I didn’t read the book, but I did see the 2012 movie adaption starring Emma Watson (which was actually written and directed by Chbosky).

The movie was great, and I – as probably most of us would quietly admit – felt a strong connection with Charlie, a quiet kid who was nice and meant well and liked The Smiths (ok maybe not that) and hated high school and fell in love and had that one teacher you actually liked and all that  jazz. I’ve been told that Chbosky changed a lot of the book’s story for the sake of making the movie more “watchable”, so everything I’m talking about concerns the movie plot.

But the best thing about the movie wasn’t the movie itself — it was the music.

“Over many years, I have collected songs…Some of the songs are popular. Some of them are not known by a whole lot of people. But they are all great in their own way. And since these songs have meant a lot to me, I just wanted you have them as a soundtrack for whatever you need them to be for your life.”  — Chbosky in the album’s linear notes

For a movie dealing with the awkwardness that is our teenage years, the music had to reflect that isolated part of our lives, and Chbosky nailed it with his selection of tunes.

Here’s the album:

1) The Samples – “Could It Be Another Change?”
2) Dexys Midnight Runners – “Come On Eileen”
3) Galaxie 500 – “Tugboat”
4) New Order – “Temptation”
5) The Innocence Mission – “Evensong”
6) The Smiths – “Asleep”
7) Cracker – “Low”
8) Sonic Youth – “Teen Age Riot”
9) XTC – “Dear God”
10) Cocteau Twins – “Pearly-Dewdrops’ Drops”
11) David Bowie – “Heroes”
 

The movie also includes the following:

Simon & Garfunkel – “Scarborough Fair/Canticle”
Procol Harum – “A Whiter Shade Of Pale”
Nick Drake – “Time Of No Reply”
Misfits – “Where Eagles Dare”
Ride – “Vapor Trail”
Suzanne Vega – “Gypsy”
The Moody Blues – “Nights In White Satin”
Smashing Pumpkins – “Daydream”
Fleetwood Mac – “Landslide”
 

To save you some time, frustration and money, check out this awesome Spotify playlist for all these songs from the movie.

To Charlie, these songs were sources of comfort and reminders, for better or worse, of life in high school. For any rock and indie loyalist, these songs form a fantastic mixtape of nostalgic songs written before many of us were born.

And there lies the beauty of this soundtrack — it manages to make you miss high school, or at least remember it more fondly. Music has that strange power to make us remember a past memory or emotion, and this soundtrack nails the high school feeling. It reminds you of a great John Hughes soundtrack for a movie he might of made if he were making movies today (and wasn’t so charming as he was cheesy).

Ok, maybe you didn’t grow up loving Smashing Pumpkins or Fleetwood Mac or maybe you were actually popular in high school, why care? Because this is still a killer mixtape of great songs. The bulk of these songs are plucked from the nostalgic late 80s and early 90s but go as far back as the 60s. From classic rock to goth to new wave, the best selections from various genres are represented here for your enjoyment. Because of this album, I’ve started listening to more Nick Drake, Ride, and Suzanne Vega — there’s a new artist waiting for you within this soundtrack.

I’m trying very hard to stay away from a Garden State comparison, though that soundtrack (and maybe movie) is the closest thing my generation has to something that speaks true to our times (even if we mistake clinical depression for modern fears of our early 20s). But if that soundtrack is for our post college years, then The Perks of Being a Wallflower soundtrack should be for our high school years. Because even if you didn’t go to high school in the 90s, these songs speak universally for those four years that everyone remembers.

And if nothing else, maybe you’ll start listening to The Smiths?

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Playlist: Songs To Celebrate Graduation

Well today I have graduated from high school.  This is such an eventful time and I always try to find the perfect songs to fit the mood.  Here are some of my favorite songs to celebrate the end, and the beginning, of one of the many stages of life.  I tried to find songs that leaned more towards graduation and moving on, but all these songs on this list are about big changes in life and reflecting on it.

Head Automatica – “Graduation Day”

Green Day – “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”

Alice Cooper – “School’s Out”

Smashing Pumpkins – “Today”

The Beatles – “In My Life”

John Mayer – “No Such Thing”

Eagle Eye Cherry – “Save Tonight”

Eve 6 – “Here’s To The Night”

Foo Fighters – “Times Like These”

Semisonic – “Closing Time”

Steely Dan – “Reelin In The Years”

Fleetwood Mac – “Landslide”

Wilco – “What’s The World Got In Store”

LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”

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