COMPLETE U2 Statistical Summary

John J. Hlavaty ([email protected])
Thu, 30 Jul 1998 11:14:30 -0400

The following is a re-post containing all of the chart and sales
information I have accumulated in the past 1.5 years. I posted this
information yesterday, however, I noticed a few minor
typing mistakes. Due to the amount of people requesting
to use this information for various sources, I wanted to provide
the most accurate information as possible. I have presented all of this
information before at some point on both WIRE and EXIT, but I thought
reposting it in a summary format would be beneficial to some people
(as I continue to encounter people requesting this information).

I have stated the source of my information whenever possible,
however, at times some information simply came from an on-line
news source or a small article in the paper which were not
recorded to be credited. Those wishing to use this information
are certainly free to do so, and while I appreciate you acknowledging
my efforts in summarizing this data, I wish to stress that the original
sources should also be credited when possible.

If anyone comes across an error or has additional information
that they would like to add to this list, please contact me.
When you state the information, please list your source
so that the item can be verified. Writing "I think you are
wrong here..." or "I seem to recall that..." type of posts
will immediately be ignored. All of the information I have
presented below is credited or has been confirmed by
several sources.

I fully realize that U2 is not about chart rankings and sales.
However, I find that there are many people who are
far more eloquent than I at discussing the music, the concerts
and their overall U2 experiences. We also have those
who are great at fund-raising, making T-shirts, posting
the most up-to-date U2 information, etc. Therefore, I felt that
the one way for me to be a "contributing member" is to
tabulate sales and chart results. This way, I can "argue"
the business side of U2, which, as we all know, cannot
be overlooked.

Remember, as always, take this information with "a proverbial
grain of salt". Charts can be misleading, as can be sales information
or estimates. This information is presented just to provide
some fans with an idea of U2's overall success.

I hope some of you find it as interesting and potentially
useful as I have. If possible, it would be great if Maryanne
Stumpe added this information to the U2 FAQ so that
people could access it anytime. However, I do not know
how to contact Maryanne or if she is still maintaining
the FAQ. Any news anyone has on this will be appreciated.

This will be the last such post on EXIT/WIRE containing
this information until U2's next album is released. If
you feel you may need this information, please copy it now.
I will not post it again. For those interested in how
long it took me to gather this data, sorry, I don't know.
It was a process that I did periodically over the past 1.5


"Achtung Baby", "Zooroopa" and "POP" U.S. Billboard Chart Rankings

In its first week of sales, "POP" sold 349,000 copies in
the U.S. It sold approximately 160,000 copies its second
week taking less than 2 weeks to go GOLD in the U.S.
AB sold 295,000 copies its first week in the U.S. and
"Zooropa" sold 377,000 copies its first week in the U.S.

"POP's" first 20 weeks on the U.S. top 200 BillBoard chart:


After "POP" dropped out of the top 100, I stopped
keeping track. I believe "POP" spent a total of 28 weeks
on the U.S. BillBoard Top 200 charts.

How did "Achtung Baby" (AB) and "Zooropa" do on the U.S. charts?
We all know they both debuted at #1, as did "POP", but what happened
afterward? Was "POP's" chart progress typical for a U2 album in
the 90's? Or did "POP" drop a bit faster? Did it sell
at a comparable rate? What effects caused an increase in sales
for the previous albums?

I went back and examined old BillBoard magazines to gather answers
to those questions. The U.S. BillBoard charts rank singles based on airplay
and sales, but they rank albums on sales only. Because of the event
of SoundScan, BillBoard's album charts are now more accurate.
The SoundScan process actually counts the number of times an
album is scanned for purchase at stores. While there are clearly
limitations with this method, it is more accurate than the old
process where retailers would report to BillBoard which album was
selling best in their stores. A lot of biased reporting happened
with this old method. AB was the first U2 album monitored using
SoundScan. Therefore, to be fair, I only compared "POP" to AB and
"Zooropa" since these albums were all ranked using SoundScan.

Here are the actual chart positions for "Achtung Baby"
for an entire YEAR after its debut. It debuted December 7, 1991
on the U.S. BillBoard charts (each line represents 10 weeks):


The last position above was for the week of December 26, 1992.

"Achtung Baby" reached the 2 million mark after 9 weeks.
In contrast, after 9 weeks, "POP" reached just the 1 million
mark in units sold. By the 21st week, AB had sold 3 million units.

After 39 weeks, "Achtung Baby" was #40. It then
rebounded to #23 (denoted by the (!)). This was possibly
due to two reasons. At that point, the late summer/fall
segment of U2 outside ZOO tour in the U.S. was in full
swing. Also, "Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses" was
now being heard on the radio. After 47 weeks (just under
a year), AB reached the 4 million mark in units sold in
the U.S.

After 57 weeks on the charts, AB continued to bounce around between
positions #50-160 for the next year. On January 8th, 1994, two
years and a month after its debut, AB reached 5 million copies
sold in the U.S. Its chart position for that week was #158.
As one can see, even at these lower chart positions, an
album can still sell over a million more copies.

AB stayed in the top 13 for an incredible 27 weeks (over 4 months).
Most of this success was due to "Mysterious Ways".
This song, while reaching only #9 on the U.S. Hot 100
Singles chart, was #1 for a whopping 12 weeks
on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart and #1 for 9 weeks
on the U.S. Modern Rock Chart! This means that
radio stations LOVED this song. "Mysterious Ways"
was released as a single along with AB. "One", another
top 10 hit, was released shortly thereafter. While it's debatable
whether "The Fly" helped AB's initial sales/chart success, the
"one-two punch" of "Mysterious Ways" and "One" kept AB in the top
40 for 38 weeks (over 6 months). And even when it finally fell out for
one week, it only rebounded back in! After 47 weeks when AB was
coincidentally #47 on the charts, the CD single release
of "Who's Gonna Ride..." brought AB back into the top
40 yet again.

Now for "Zooropa".

Here are the actual chart positions for "Zooropa"
for 33 weeks after its debut. "Zooropa" debuted July 24,
1993 on the U.S. BillBoard charts (each line represents 10 weeks):


The last position above was for the week of February 26, 1994.

"Zooropa" reached the 2 million mark sold after
9 weeks. This is the same as AB and again, it is
double that of "POP" for the same time frame. However,
"Zooropa", not having tour support in the U.S. and no
true CD single release (until "Stay"), dropped much
faster on the charts.

"Zooropa" rebounded from #86 after only 20 weeks
all the way back to #54 (denoted by the (!)) when
"Lemon" reached #1 on the dance charts. To the best of
my knowledge, this is U2's only #1 dance remix song in the U.S.
Also, "Stay" was officially released as a CD single at this time.

The (*) denotes the week that AB reached 5 million
in sales. After selling 2 million copies in 9 weeks,
the sales for "Zooropa" slowed dramatically (which
coincided with its rapid tumble down the charts).
"Zooropa" reached an estimated 2.5 million in sales in the U.S.
Five years after its release, "Zooropa" has yet to be
recertified as triple Platinum in the U.S.

When "POP" is compared to the chart progress
of AB and "Zooropa", clearly "POP" was not
as big of a hit. However, as you'll see later on,
the lack of a super-selling album did not necessarily
hurt touring.

WORLD-WIDE sales information for U2 albums.
These figures were reported by the New Zealand
Polygram office on March 8, 1997 when "POP" was released.

"Boy" - 2,490,467
"October" - 2,360,717
"War" - 6,551,395
"Under A Blood Red Sky" - 7,556,582
"The Unforgettable Fire" - 6,255,826
"Wide Awake In America" - 1,743,610
"The Joshua Tree - 14,805,257
"Rattle And Hum" - 9,274,502
"Achtung Baby" - 9,763,275
"Zooropa" - 6,079,158

Total - 66,880,789

At the end of April, 1997, almost two months after "POP's" release,
Paul McGuinness stated that "POP" had sold 4.5 million copies
globally. However, many U2 fans feel that McGuinness was
actually referring to units shipped as opposed to units sold.

In early August, 1997, a Polygram official wrote a note to
"Rolling Stone" magazine stating that "POP" had sold
more than 6 million units globally. Some U2 fans (Dec., 97)
claimed they saw a press statement that cited "POP" as selling only
1.3 million copies in the U.S. When I pressed these fans for
the source, I failed to hear back from them again.
"TV Guide" (Dec., 97) stated that "POP" sold about 2 million copies
in the U.S. By my estimates, "POP" sold approximately 1.2 million
copies in its first 10 weeks and has now reached 1.5 to 2 million
copies sold in the U.S. As of early December, 1997,
reports in various press articles all stated that
"POP" had now sold at least 7 million units globally.

In February, 1998, TIME and BillBoard magazines quoted from a Polygram
report that stated "POP" sold only 5.5 million copies worldwide.
The discrepancy between this number and previous reports
is unknown. It is possible that earlier reports discussed
units shipped as opposed to units sold. As of this date,
an estimate of 6 million copies of "POP" sold is a fair number.

Since March, 1997, many of U2's older albums recharted. These
"catalog sales" totaled an additional 1.5 million units
sold in 1997. Therefore, U2 have sold a total of:

U2's previous releases (66.9 million) + plus "POP's" sales (5.5-6 million)
+ catalog sales for 1997 (1.5 million) = 73.9-74.4 million units worldwide.

One newspaper report I ran across in late 1997 stated that U2 have
already sold over 100 million units of their albums. Based on
the information I have received, this does not appear to be correct.

RIAA Certifications

Because of recent discussions regarding sales, I looked up the
RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) certifications
of all of U2's releases.

The RIAA is the only official source in the U.S. that
certifies singles, albums and videos as GOLD, PLATINUM and
MULTI-PLATINUM. Billboard Magazine merely reports these results.
RIAA obtains sales information from music label companies.
All audits are conducted by RIAA's official, independent accounting
firm for a certification fee.

The definition for GOLD, PLATINUM and MULTI-PLATINUM
varies according to the format (album or video).
Currently, in the U.S., singles and albums are certified as GOLD
with sales of at least 500,000 copies; 1,000,000 for PLATINUM
and 2 or more million copies for MULTI-PLATINUM.
Long-form videos are certified at 50,000 for GOLD,
100,000 for PLATINUM and 200,000 for MULTI-PLATINUM status.
Please keep these definitions in mind when examining
the information below.

According to Billboard, here are the latest RIAA certification
listings (as of 12/97) for all U2 releases:

"Boy" was certified as PLATINUM on September 11, 1995.

"October" was certified PLATINUM on September 11, 1995.

"War" was certified as MULTI-PLATINUM with 4 million units sold
on September 11, 1995.

"Under a Blood Red Sky" was certified as MULTI-PLATINUM
with 3 million units sold on May 23, 1994.

"The Unforgettable Fire" was certified as
MULTI-PLATINUM with 3 million units sold on May 23, 1994.

"Wide Awake in America" was certified as PLATINUM on
May 23, 1994.

The Joshua Tree" was certified as MULTI-PLATINUM
with 10 million units sold on September 11, 1995.

"Rattle & Hum" was certified as MULTI-PLATINUM
5 million units sold on September 11, 1995.

"Desire" was certified as GOLD on January 10, 1989.

"Achtung Baby" was certified as MULTI-PLATINUM with
8 million units sold on November 15, 1997.

"The Achtung Baby Videos" was certified as PLATINUM
on October 13, 1993.

"Zooropa" was certified as MULTI-PLATINUM with
2 million units sold on September 8, 1993.

"ZOO TV - Live in Sydney" was certified as GOLD on
February 15, 1995.

"Mission: Impossible" by Larry Mullen, Jr. and Adam Clayton
was certified as GOLD in July, 1996.

"Discotheque" was certified as GOLD on April 7, 1997.

"POP" was certified as PLATINUM on May 7, 1997.

To Summarize:

All 11 U2 albums or EPs that have been released in the
U.S. have at least gone PLATINUM. Total *certified* sales for
these 11 albums and EPs is at least 39 million units
in the U.S. Actual U.S. sales may slightly exceed this number.

U2 have had 2 GOLD singles in the U.S.: "Desire" and
"Discotheque". Despite better chart successes
of other singles, none have been certified as GOLD or better
by the RIAA. Larry Mullen and Adam Clatyon also had
a GOLD single with their remake of the "Mission: Impossible"

To the best of my knowledge, U2 have released 6 videos
that are readily available for sale in the U.S.:
"Under a Blood Red Sky", "The Unforgettable Fire Collection",
"Rattle & Hum", "The Achtung Baby Videos", "ZOO TV - Live from
Sydney" and "Numb". Only two of these, "The Achtung Baby
Videos" and "ZOO TV - Live from Sydney" are certified
as PLATINUM and GOLD, respectively. The latter video
also won a Grammy Award. There is no other certified video listed.

Note that the certification date on many of the items is
well after the release date. This is when the RIAA obtained
that information.

One VERY interesting note is that if "The Joshua Tree" sold
10 million in the U.S. alone, its global sales figure of 14,805,257
copies sold as reported by the Polygram office (see above) seems rather
low. This is especially true when one looks at "Achtung Baby".
The RIAA has certified that AB has sold 8 million copies just
in the U.S., but the Polygram report states that 9,763,275
were sold globally as of March, 1997 (see above). Therefore,
it is possible that if another audit were done, the sales figures
for many of these albums would increase considerably. A recent
report in the press stated that U2 have sold over 80 million
units world-wide.

For Canada:

According to CRIA certifications, "With Or Without You", "I Still Haven't
Found What I'm Looking For" and "Desire" sold over 50,000 units (GOLD).
In Canada, SoundScan has been keeping tabs on sales figures
only since October 1996, thereby excluding many of U2's hits. The concept of
collecting sales statistics via barcode scanning is fairly new in Canada and is
currently less than helpful when data from the 1980's are needed.

"POP" has been certified as TRIPLE PLATINUM in Canada with sales
of approximately 380,000 units. If another 20,000 units are sold,
it will be re-certified as QUADRUPLE PLATINUM. I have no other
information regarding the certification of other U2 albums
in Canada.

U.K., U.S. and Canadian Highest Chart Rankings for U2 Songs and Albums

The list below names the song or album and its U.K., U.S. and
Canadian *highest* chart position. A dash (-) means that the item
was not officially released in the U.K., U.S. or Canada. An "X" means
that while the item was released in either the U.K., U.S. or Canada,
it did not enter in the top 100 on the corresponding chart. A question
mark (?) means that I have no information regarding the release or
chart position of the item in a particular country.

Albums are enclosed by brackets, [ ], and other artists' work
are properly denoted. The U.K. chart positions are from the "Official
U.K. Charts Listings". The U.S. chart positions for songs and albums
are taken from BillBoard's Hot 100 Singles and Album charts,
respectively. Canadian chart positions were kindly supplied
by Nanda Lwin at "Jam Music". This list is presented chronologically.

I am posting this information in the following format:

Song or Album: U.K. Ranking/U.S. Ranking/Canadian Ranking

U2-3: -/-/- (this item reached #1 in Ireland)
Another Day: -/-/-
11 O'Clock Tick Tock: X/-/-
[Boy]: 52/63/?
I Will Follow: X/-/?
Fire: 35/X/?
Gloria: 55/X/?
[October]: 11/X/?
A Celebration: 47/X/?
New Year's Day: 10/53/?
[War]: 1/12/5
Two Hearts Beat as One: 18/X/?
[Snake Charmer] by Jah Wobble with Edge: X/X/?
[Under a Blood Red Sky]: 2/28/40
I Will Follow (live re-release): -/81/-
Pride: 3/33/33
[The Unforgettable Fire]: 1/12/6
The Unforgettable Fire: 6/X/?
[Wide Awake in America]: 11/37*/39
[Macalla] by Clannad with Bono: 33/X/?
In a Lifetime by Clannad with Bono: 20/X/?
[Captive Soundtrack] by the Edge: X/X/?
Heroine by Sinead O'Connor, written by Edge: X/-/?
[Robbie Robertson] by Robbie Robertson with U2: 47/38/?
With or Without You: 4/1/2
[The Joshua Tree]: 1/1/1
I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For: 6/1/11
Where the Streets Have No Name: /13/14
In God's Country: 48**/44/28
One Tree Hill: -/-/-
[Mystery Girl] by Roy Orbison, features song written by Bono and Edge: 2/5/?
She's a Mystery by Roy Orbison, song written by Bono and Edge: 27/X/?
Desire: 1/3/2
[Rattle & Hum]: 1/1/2
Angel of Harlem: 9/14/15
When Love Comes to Town: 6/68/X
All I Want Is You: 4/83/X
In a Lifetime by Clannad with Bono-recharted in 1989: 17/X/-
[Red, Hot and Blue] features "Night and Day" remake by U2: I did not see this
item listed
The Fly: 1/61/3
[Achtung Baby]: 2/1/2
Mysterious Ways: 13/9/4
One: 7/10/3
Even Better Than the Real Thing: 12/32/45 (Canadian re-release in 1997)
Even Better Than the Real Thing - remixes: 8/X/?
Who's Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses: 14/35/26 (Canadian re-release in 1997)
[Zooropa]: 1/1/1
Numb: -/-/-
Lemon: -/-/- (this song reached #1 on the Australian charts and hit
             #1 on the U.S. dance charts)
Stay: 4/61/X
[In the Name of the Father Soundtrack] with Gavin Friday and Bono: X/X/?
In the Name of the Father by Gavin Friday and Bono: 46/X/?
You Made Me Theif of Your Heart by Sinead O'Connor, written by Bono and
Gavin Friday: 42/X/?
Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me: 2/16/11
[Batman Returns Soundtrack]: I did not see this item listed
[Original Soundtracks 1] by the Passengers, featuring U2: 12/76/?
Miss Sarajevo: 6/X/?
Goldeneye by Tina Turner, written by Bono and Edge: 10/X/?
Mission Impossible remade by Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.: 7/7/17
Discotheque: 1/10/1
[POP]: 1/1/1
Staring at the Sun: 3/26/2
Last Night on Earth: 10/57/4
Please: 7/9 (charted on the U.S. Maxi-Single Dance Charts)/10
POPHeart EP: 7 (charted as "Please")/-/4
If God Will Send His Angels: 12/?/?

*"Wide Awake in America" was taken off the U.S. album
charts one week after it's release since it was considered
an "EP" and not an album. The chart value reflects the
position of that one week.

**This U.K. chart ranking for "In God's Country"
is very impressive as this single was only available
as a U.S. import!

If someone could provide me with as detailed a list as possible
of U2's chart rankings in other countries (Australia, Germany,
France, Ireland, etc.) I would gladly add the data to the above list.
Make sure you clearly state your source for the information
so that others can check on it if necessary.

Recent Tour Grosses

The ZOO tours (ZOO TV and ZOOROPA) in 1992-93 grossed
$65 million (U.S. dollars). At the time, this was U2's best
grossing tour. However, the extreme cost of production
allowed U2 to come away with "only" a $3 million profit.

The POPMart tour grossed - wait for it - $360 million! While
part of this can be explained by the fact that ticket prices were
double that of the ZOO tours, this huge amount indicates how
successful this tour was. It was stated that U2 were guaranteed
to profit $160 million from this tour.

For the entire tour, U2 averaged over 44,000 per concert
selling 4.5 million tickets. U2 set a single concert attendance
record in Italy by drawing 150,000 fans to the Reggio Emilla stadium.
U2 had sell-out performances at all sites outside the U.S.

The first leg in the U.S. averaged over 44,500 fans and $2.3
million in ticket sales per show with very successful
shows in L.A., Chicago, Boston, Salt Lake City and New York.
The only part of the entire tour that truly slumpled was the third leg
in the U.S. which averaged over a little over 21,000 per show.
Of course, one must keep in mind that by this
time, "POP" had fallen out of the U.S. Top 200 Billboard
charts and U2 were playing in much smaller cities. Even
the Rolling Stones failed to sell out many of these same cities
where U2 had difficulty. Nonetheless, U2 sold between 1.56-1.7 million
tickets (depending on the source; both figures have been reported in
the press) in the U.S. for their "POPMart" tour making it the best
selling U.S. tour in 1997 (beating out the Rolling Stones). "POPMart"
was easily the best selling global tour in 1997.


That's it!



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