50 Years Later, ‘Abbey Road’ Is Number Three On The Rolling Stone 200 Chart
Abbey Road is not only among the Beatles’ most critically beloved albums —ranking 14th on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time — it’s also one of their most lucrative. Despite being written as the band was on the verge of breaking up, the album was a commercial stronghold, spending 11 weeks at Number One on the Billboard 200 at after its release in September 1969.
And now, fifty years after its release, Abbey Road still sells. The album comes in at Number Three on this week’s Rolling Stone Top 200 Albums chart, which tracks music consumption via independent analytics company Alpha Data, thanks to a 40-track “super deluxe” reissue released by Apple Corps Ltd/Capitol/UMe to celebrate the album’s anniversary.
The album moved over 81,300 total units the week of September 27th to October 3rd. Unsurprisingly, sales accounted for the majority of the album’s units, with 61,100 album sales in its first week compared to 6.1 million on-demand audio streams. (By comparison, the Number One album, DaBaby’s Kirk, sold just 7,400 albums, but saw 172.8 million streams in its first week.)
The Rolling Stone 200 Albums chart tracks the most popular releases of the week in the United States. Entries are ranked by album units, a number that combines digital and physical album sales, digital song sales, and audio streams using a custom weighting system. The chart does not include passive listening such as terrestrial radio or digital radio. The Rolling Stone 200 Albums chart is updated daily, and each week Rolling Stone finalizes and publishes an official version of the chart, covering the seven-day period ending with the previous Thursday.
The Abbey Road reissue features versions of the album’s original 17 songs that have remixed by producer Giles Martin (son of George Martin) and Sam Okell as well as 23 session recordings and demos. (Apple Corps Ltd/Capitol/UMe released similar 50th-anniversary reissues for the White Album and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.)
Abbey Road was the last album the Beatles recorded together, though whether not it or Let It Be is their last album is certainly a point of contention among Beatles fans. But earlier this year, Beatles author-historian Mark Lewisohn unveiled audio in which John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison discussed the possibility of recording a followup to Abbey Road.
“It’s a revelation,” Lewisohn told The Guardian. “The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no — they’re discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up, but when you hear this, he isn’t. Doesn’t that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?”