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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Top Record Sellers At My Dinner Table

By Silvia Uribe

Conversations with my family at the dinner table are among the things I enjoy the most. Even though there's no escape from the overly repeated, but very cute stories that grandma shares, my family treasures those moments because there's always the possibility for a great topic to emerge.

Recently, the engaging topic was music, singers, and groups that we liked - especially interesting since we have three different generations at home.

Music, regardless of genre, has not only provided great entertainment, but historically, it has also been the most common way to express our feelings, our state of mind, and our desires, no matter our age. With music, we have fallen in love and out of love, we've dreamed of better times, and we've tried saving the world. Through music we can safely express our praise, and at times, even our hate.

That particular night, our conversation evolved into a guessing game. After someone asked: Which are the artists who have sold most records? Names of singers and groups poured out of our mouths. A general argument ensued. Everyone spoke at the same time. One of us started making a list. The competition was on.

After our guesses were tracked, we had to determine who the winner was (I have a competitive family, you know). We were in for a few surprises. Allow me to share the artists and groups that have sold the greatest numbers of records. Maybe you could play this guessing game with family and/or friends too. (source: Wikipedia - all figures are claimed or estimated)

1) The Beatles - Rock / Pop (600 million - 1 billion)
2) Elvis Presley - Rock / Pop / Country (600 million - 1 billion)
3) Michael Jackson - Pop / Rock / Soul (350 million - 750 million)
4) ABBA - Pop (300 million - 370 million)
5) Queen - Rock (150 million - 300 million)

If you didn't get it right, maybe the ones you thought about are in the second category of artists who sold between 200 to 299 million:

- Elton John - Pop / Rock (250 million)
- Bee Gees - Pop / Disco (220 million)
- AC/DC - Hard Rock (200 million)
- Celine Dion - Pop (200 million)
- Julio Iglesias - Latin (200 million)
- Madonna - Pop / Dance (200 million
- Led Zeppelin - Hard Rock (200 million)
- Pink Floyd - Progressive Rock (200 million)
- The Rolling Stones - Rock / Blues Rock (200 million)
- Nana Mouskouri - Pop Folk (200 million)

A few other names that might come to your mind but didn't make it to either of the previous categories:

- Tina Turner (180 million)
- Mariah Carey (175 million)
- Whitney Houston (170 million)
- Frank Sinatra (150 million)
- Stevie Wonder (150 million)
- Genesis (150 million)
- U2 (150 million)
- Barbara Streisand (140 million)
- David Bowie (140 million)
- Garth Brooks (128 million)
- Chicago (122 million)
- Bon Jovi (120 million)
- Eagles (120 million)
- Neil Diamond (115 million)

As far as genres go, Pop and Rock are, without a doubt, the unarguable winners.

As you might be, we were surprised to see that some of the artists that we thought about were not in the top lists, and others that we didn't, were. But, even if we didn't guess correctly, the fact is that music connects us with each other, and that it gave birth to dancing - one of my favorite activities.

As for my family, I know we will continue with different points of view, arguments and permanent disagreements. As with most other Latino families, we will still talk over each other, and we will still raise our voices not necessarily from being upset, but just to be able to have our voices be heard.

There's one other thing I am also sure about my family. We're always looking forward to our perennial seeking of good topics at the dinner table.

Silvia is a freelance writer with a Latino perspective.

Cross-posted at

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