Get me some stats, stat! Be damned the muses of music! Record companies gotsa get paid! The Billboard Book of Top 40 Albums
mines for gold in rock and strips the soul from soul.
The Billboard charts are all about quantifying and qualifying, and admittedly, I did it to everything. I used to give my own 5-star ratings to the albums I'd buy. Hell, I even rated my own
music, the stuff I'd play and record on my RadioShit boombox! But then you must be wondering, why didn't I become a statistician? Damn good question, but we're getting off track...
My love for numbers and rankings drove me to buy The Billboard Book of Top 40 Albums
, a book that tallies up the product purchasing of popular music acts' fans. The book gives you the group or artist name and scant background detail, such as when they formed or were born, as well as where. Aside from the legends, it's no more than one or two sentence fragments.
Then comes a list of their albums and the date they entered the Billboard top 40, alongside that is the album's peak position on the chart and then the number of weeks it stayed in the top 40. If the album sold enough units to attain gold or platinum status (at the time of publishing it was 500,000 units for gold and 1,000,000 for platinum) it's given a designation symbol beside the title. As a bonus, in the back of the book you also get a bunch of lists of record holders, like Top 100 Artists of the Rock Era, Top 25 Artists by Decade, Albums of Longevity, etc.
Besides the numbers, you could learn a thing or two of use from this book if you really tried. For instance, the group Ram Jam was an "East Coast rock quartet led by Bill Bartlett (lead guitarist of The Lemon Pipers). Member Howie Blauvelt played bass in Billy Joel's group The Hassles." As of 1977, Ram Jam has put out one album which charted for four weeks and made it as high as #34. So there you are! Now go forth with this new information and become the life of the party!