Ask Billboard

Keith Caulfield answers readers' questions about ABBA, Celine Dion and Guns 'N Roses.



Is it true ABBA sold more records since 1992 than they did during their career?

Joseph Gladstone,
Hampstead, London

Hi Joseph,

Your very interesting question kicks off a truly international edition of Ask Billboard this week, with all of our submissions coming from countries other than the U.S. Keep those questions coming!

Since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in early 1991, ABBA has sold 6 million albums in the U.S. We don't have a way of verifying global sales, so we are unsure as to how much the group has sold worldwide.

Previous to SoundScan's establishment, we can examine the group's gold and platinum certified albums in order to get a gauge on how much they might have sold. Through February 1991, the Recording Industry Association of America ( had certified four ABBA albums gold (500,000 units shipped) and two more platinum (1 million units).

So, just going by that sum, we can guess that the group had at least sold 4 million. But that's a very general figure and it's likely that they had sold much more.

So, basically, we don't have an exact answer for you. But, 6 million units in the past 15 years for a pop group that hasn't released a studio album since 1982 –- nor performed together in years -- is pretty darn great.

The bulk of the 6 million units is taken up by "ABBA Gold," which came out in 1993 and has sold 4.1 million in America.


Hello Keith,

I hope you can help me. I just want to know when Celine Dion will finally release another English studio album. It has been ages since "One Heart" was released in 2002 and "Miracle" was just a concept album so that doesn't count.

I saw on her Web site that she will release another French album in 2007. Is her record company holding out on an English album because pop music is so unPOPular at the moment in the U.S.?


Estian Burgh
Cape Town
South Africa

Hello Estian,

Right now, Celine Dion is aiming to release a new French studio album in the fall of 2007. Epic, her record label, has nothing on the release schedule for Dion through early 2007. So it would seem that an English album from her is still off in the distance.

Her last two English efforts, 2004's "Miracle" and 2003's "One Heart" have sold 896,000 and 1.8 million in the U.S., respectively, according to Nielsen SoundScan. She also released a live album, "A New Day – Live in Las Vegas," in 2004. It has sold 454,000.

Dion's Las Vegas show, "A New Day," continues through next year. You can also hear Dion on Tony Bennett's new "Duets" album, which was released on Sept. 26. She sings with the legend on "If I Ruled the World."


Hello Mr. Caulfield,

I read your column every week. I'm surprised to see, again, "Greatest Hits" from Guns N' Roses on The Billboard 200.

That album is more than two years old and might (I thought) disappear after two years and (then) only be (able to chart) on the Comprehensive Albums chart.

Has Billboard changed its methodology in the U.S. charts albums?

Thanks for your answer,

Christian Pierre
Liege, Belgium

Bonjour Christian,

I really wish I could answer this question in French. Even though I studied the language for a number of years, I haven't spoke it in a very long time, so I would only embarrass myself if I tried.

We have not changed our rules with regards to how long an album can chart on The Billboard 200.

If a title is still within the top 100 of The Billboard 200, even if it is two years old, it can remain on the chart. That's why, in the chart dated Oct. 7, Guns N' Roses can celebrate its 131st week on the chart –- it's still in the top 100.

In fact, the album is the longest running album on the chart since Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" spent 148 weeks on the chart, completing its run in January 2005.


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