Grateful Dead Breaks Record for Most Top 40 Albums on Billboard 200

Grateful Dead breaks the record for most top 40-charting albums in the nearly 68-year history the Billboard 200. The group’s latest archival live release, Dave’s Picks, Volume 49: Frost Amphitheatre, Stanford U., Palo Alto, CA (4/27/85 & 4/28/85), debuts at No. 25 on the chart dated Feb. 10. It’s the 59th top 40-charting set for the band, surpassing the 58 top 40s earned by both Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.

Here’s a recap of the acts with the most top 40-charting albums on the Billboard 200 since the list began publishing on a regular, weekly basis in March of 1956:

  • 59, Grateful Dead
  • 58, Elvis Presley
  • 58, Frank Sinatra
  • 54, Barbra Streisand
  • 51, Bob Dylan
  • 48, The Rolling Stones

Dave’s Picks, Volume 49 is from the band’s long-running archival release series, named for the group’s archivist, David Lemieux. The series launched in 2012 and has granted the group 41 of its 59 top 40-charting sets on the Billboard 200.

Dave’s Picks, Volume 49 earned 21,000 equivalent album units in the U.S. in the week ending Feb. 1, according to Luminate – with all of that sum in traditional album sales. The album was exclusively available as a four-CD set, with a limited run of 25,000 copies manufactured. It was sold only through the band’s official website. (Releases in the series are issued exclusively on CD, in limited quantities, and sold through the Dead’s official channels.)

Grateful Dead has logged at least three new top 40-charting albums on the Billboard 200 in every year from 2013 through 2023, largely on the strength of the Dave’s Picks releases.

Dave’s Picks, Volume 49 also launches at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Album Sales chart, marking the first No. 1 on that chart for the group since the list began in 1991.

The Billboard 200 chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. based on multimetric consumption as measured in equivalent album units, compiled by Luminate. Units comprise album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). Each unit equals one album sale, or 10 individual tracks sold from an album, or 3,750 ad-supported or 1,250 paid/subscription on-demand official audio and video streams generated by songs from an album. The new Feb. 10, 2024-dated chart will be posted in full on Billboard‘s website on Feb. 6. For all chart news, follow @billboard and @billboardcharts on both X, formerly known as Twitter and Instagram.

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