More year-end wraps:
U2, the Irish quartet that just received its first-ever Grammy nominations for its mostsuccessful record ever, was also the big winner on the tour circuit last year. According to Pollstar, a major trade publication for the concert industry, U2 grossed $35.2 million for 79 shows in 50 cities, including a $969,304 gross for its Sept. 20 concert at RFK Stadium. The band ended up with 28 of the year's top 200 grossing shows, and that total is for North American dates only; it spent most of the summer touring stadiums in Europe.
Pink Floyd's three concerts at CNE Stadium in Toronto were the year's highest-grossing stand, with 147,000 people paying $3,701,876 in Canadian dollars to see a band that hadn't toured in almost 10 years. Not surprisingly, the Floyd also took Pollstar's concert comeback of the year and most creative stage set awards. The biggest single concert gross was Boston/Aerosmith/Whitesnake/Poison at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, where 80,754 folks ponied up $1,638,278.
The other tours in the Top 10 were Bon Jovi with $28.4 million (104 cities/130 shows); Pink Floyd with $27.7 million (28/60); the Grateful Dead with $26.8 million (37/84); David Bowie with $22.2 million (31/45); Mo tley Cru e with $21.1 million (92/100); Whitney Houston with $20.1 million (77/89); Huey Lewis and the News with $19.2 million (89/101); Boston with $18.1 million (37/69); and Alabama with $17.6 million (117/127). Other acts grossing more than $10 million included Genesis, Heart, Madonna, Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers, Luther Vandross, Tina Turner, Bryan Adams and Def Leppard.
Pollstar reported that business for arena headliners was up 15 percent, at least partly because of the increase in stadium concerts, and that the total volume of ticket sales for arena events was $620 million. The Washington- and Florida-based Cellar Door Concerts, the country's largest concert producers with 1,000 shows annually, had 16 of the 200 top grosses. Although it drew only 65 percent of capacity, the Luther Vandross/Patti LaBelle/Maze/Atlantic Starr/Gap Band show at RFK Stadium (produced by Dimensions Unlimited and A.H. Enterprises) was the highest-grossing local concert at $1,101,074. LaBelle alone did pretty well also -- her nine-night stand at the Warner Theatre, also for DU, grossed $904,783.
On the Flip Side
According to figures released by the Recording Industry Association of America, the number of gold records in 1987 increased slightly over 1986, from 140 to 142, while the number of platinum and multiplatinum releases decreased substantially. (Gold signifies sales of 500,000 copies, platinum 1 million.)
Last year, there were 79 platinum albums (versus 204 in 1986) and 71 multiplatinum (versus 108). Of those, 26 platinum and 30 gold albums were back-catalogue items (including six platinum Doors albums originally released between 1967 and 1973, and the seminal punk album "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols," gold 10 years after its release).
Slightly on the plus side, six albums went over the 4 million mark, compared with one in 1986. The year's biggest seller was Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet," with 5 million copies tacked onto the 3 million sold in 1986. Whitney Houston was the only artist to break the 4 million mark both years. She also had one of only three gold singles for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody"; the other two went to Club Nouveau for "Lean on Me" and Michael Jackson for "I Just Can't Stop Loving You."
Jackson, incidentally, hits No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts this week with "The Way You Make Me Feel," his seventh chart topper of the '80s. That puts him one ahead of Houston and Madonna. His "Bad" album joins Houston's "Whitney" and Bon Jovi's "Slippery When Wet" as the fastest "out-of-the-box" sellers in the last two years, with each selling 4 million copies in its first four months in release.
Back on the platinum front, the Jimmy Iovine-produced "A Very Special Christmas" becomes the first platinum charity anthology since "We Are the World" in 1985. The album has already sold 1.7 million copies and could raise as much as $5 million for the Special Olympics. The totals will be announced in March.
More Grammy Nominations
Almost overlooked in last week's listing of Grammy nominations: three for the Smithsonian Collection of Recordings. Its "Singers and Soloists of the Swing Bands" was nominated for best historical album (Margaret Robinson, producer) and for best album notes (by Mark Tucker). Nolan Porterfield was also nominated in the liner notes category for his work on the Smithsonian's revealing "Jimmie Rodgers on Record: America's Blue Yodeler."