Taylor Swift made history by becoming the first woman to have four different albums in the Top 10 at the same time. Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) allowed Swift to reach this historic achievement.
In the world of music, reaching the Billboard 200 charts, which ranks music albums based on the number of units that were sold, is a huge accomplishment. Having multiple albums on the charts in the Top 200 at the same time is even greater. Those who have achieved this include the likes of Chicago, Pearl Jam, Elvis Presley, David Bowie, The Beatles, and contemporary artists such as Drake, Mac Miller, and Eminem.
When artists have multiple albums in the Top 10 simultaneously, they are in an exclusive club. This includes Whitney Houston, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Led Zeppelin, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, and The Kingston Trio.
With the 2023 release of the album Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift, a re-recorded version of her 2010 album, she became the first woman with four different albums place in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 album charts at the same time. Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) debuted in the number one position.
According to Deadline, this is the “first time a woman has ever done this in 60 years and only one of three living artists to have ever scored such a feat.”
Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) was able to move 716,000 units equivalent to an album in its first week of release and joined three other Swift albums in the Top 10, including 2022’s Midnights at the fifth spot, Lover from 2019 taking the seventh slot, and folklore from 2020 rounding out the Top 10 at number 10.
Other artists who have achieved this feat of having at least four albums in the Top 10 simultaneously since 1960 include Herb Alpert and Prince.
In 1966, the four Herb Alpert albums that appeared in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 were Going Places at number 2, Whipped Cream & Other Delights following at number 3, and The Lonely Bull wrapping up the Top 10 in the tenth place.
Prince achieved the milestone of having the highest number of albums in the Top 10 simultaneously, with five albums placing in 2016 following his death. These albums included The Very Best of Prince from 2001, the soundtrack for Prince’s 1984 film, Purple Rain, 1993’s The Hits/The B-Sides, Ultimate from 2006, and1999 from 1982.
While The Kingston Trio had four albums in the Top 10 for five consecutive weeks in 1959, as noted by Billboard when Prince reached the milestone, the way data was tracked changed as he was the “first act to concurrently chart five albums in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 since the list merged its previously separate mono and stereo albums charts into one overall list in 1963.”
Taylor Swift being the first woman to achieve such a milestone shows a testament to her talent and staying power. Audiences crave her sound, as shown by her currently running Eras tour, which is already the “biggest tour of 2023” according to Forbes.
Numbers reflecting the first half of 2023 show that Swift sold, “1,186,314 tickets for her shows,” and “generated an estimated $300 million in gross revenue.” As the tour is ongoing, the tour is, “projected to earn a staggering $1.4 billion, which would make it the highest-grossing tour ever, according to Forbes.”
Swift has been re-recording new versions of her earlier albums in an effort to own her masters, “the songs’ original recordings.” This allows her to do as she pleases with her music, including using them to appear in such things as advertising.
As she explained to Billboard in 2019, “The reason I’m re-recording my music next year is because I do want my music to live on…I do want it to be in movies, I do want it to be in commercials. But I only want that if I own it.”
Her re-recordings, deemed “Taylor’s Version” with the title of each re-recorded album, have been successful, with Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) being the latest Swift album to reach number one on the Billboard 200, along with three other albums of hers placing in the Top 10.
From an incredibly successful tour to making history by being the first woman to have four albums place in the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 simultaneously, Swift is cementing her rightful place in music history.