Ask Billboard

Keith answers readers' questions on Maxwell, Janet and Greatest Hits albums.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.



Is there any information as to when Columbia Records is going to release R&B singer Maxwell's new album, "BlackSummers'Night?"

Thank you for your time.

Jeannine Baker

Hi Jeannine,

We reached out to Columbia and they said that while there is no release date scheduled for Maxwell's new album. Most labels are lining up the rest of their 2008 releases now, so, if the set is going to come out this year, we'll all hear about it really soon.

While you wait for Maxwell's album, you can catch him on the road, as his U.S. tour begins on Oct. 8 in Boston. He has dates lined up through Nov. 21 in Philadelphia.

So far, Maxwell has charted on the Billboard 200 albums chart with four
releases: 1997's "Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite" and "MTV Unplugged EP," 1998's "Embrya" and 2001's "Now."

"Urban" is his biggest seller, having shifted 1.79 million units in the U.S.
according to Nielsen SoundScan. "Now" is next, with 1.77 million, followed by "Embrya's" 1.2 million and "Unplugged's" 803,000.


Hi Keith,

I'm a huge Janet Jackson fan and I love her new album "Discipline." It seems to have fallen off the charts pretty quickly just like her last album "20 Y.O."

I was hoping you could tell me what the current sales for her last three albums that would be great, thanks.

Rory Dornan

Hello Rory,

Yes, Janet Jackson's "Discipline" did slip off the Billboard 200 albums chart rather fast. It spent 14 weeks on the list. Her previous set, 2006's "20 Y.O.," spent 15 weeks on the list. The one before that, 2004's "Damita Jo," didn't do much better, as it spent 19 weeks on the tally.

Those three albums all immediately followed "All For You," which spent a comparatively healthy 52 weeks on the chart.

Thus far, "Discipline" has sold 415,000 in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. "20 Y.O." has shifted 653,000 and "Damita Jo" has moved 1 million. Meanwhile, "All For You" is up to 3.1 million.


Hi Keith

I have a question about greatest hits compilations. Who has the best selling greatest hits album? Is it the Eagles or Garth Brooks? My question also makes me think about the following: What are the best selling greatest hits album by a female, male and group/band?

Victor Candiotti

Hello Victor,

Because Nielsen SoundScan, our sister company that tracks sales for all of our albums charts, was not established until 1991, we have to rely on gold and platinum certification data from the Recording Industry Association of America ( in order to find out what the "all-time" biggest greatest hits album is.

According to the RIAA, the best-selling greatest hits album is the Eagles' "Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975," certified as having shipped 29 million to U.S. retailers. It also happens to be the biggest selling album of all time in the U.S.

The biggest selling hits set by a solo male is Billy Joel's "Greatest Hits Volume I and Volume II" (with 21 million). However, that is a double album, so, the RIAA double certified it. Meaning, it has actually only shipped 10.5 million to retailers.

So, if you discount Joel's set, the next biggest for a male is Elton John's "Greatest Hits" with 16 million.

Two women are tied as having the biggest selling greatest hits set by a female. With 10 million each: Patsy Cline's "Greatest Hits" and Madonna's "The Immaculate Collection."