Friday, May 15, 2009


Ask Billboard
May 15, 2009

Hi Gary,

I was wondering if you could help me win a bet I have with my brother. I say that Fleetwood Mac has had more hits than the band Chicago and has, thus, been more successful.

Which one of us gets to brag?

Thanks so much!

Suzanne Niceley
Florence, Kentucky

Hi Suzanne,

I notice you ask me to help you "win a bet." You don't request that I help "settle a bet." Careful, you wouldn't want your brother to be suspicious that you influenced the judge's decision ...

Since you didn't qualify "hits," or which charts to use, let's look at this from a couple of angles.

In terms of overall hit songs on the Billboard Hot 100, Chicago has collected 46, Fleetwood Mac 25. Their top 40 totals stand at 34 for Chicago and 18 for the Mac. Chicago has notched 20 top 10s, Fleetwood Mac nine. Chicago also has more No. 1s, three to one. So, as for hit singles, Chicago wins.

Now let's check each group's album sales since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991 (realizing, of course, that the acts released much of their highest-charting product in the '70s and '80s). Since the dawn of the SoundScan era, Chicago has totaled 11.9 million in album sales. Fleetwood Mac has sold 16.6 million. So, going by album sales according to Nielsen SoundScan, Fleetwood Mac wins.

A possible tie-breaker? Fleetwood Mac was enshrined in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Despite its immense success, Chicago, surprisingly, has yet to be elected.

When it comes to your bet, I'll diplomatically stand back and let you and your brother interpret the information as you see fit. Fleetwood Mac's most recent Hot 100 entry was, after all, entitled "Peacekeeper."

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