Kind of Blue

August 20, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

Kind of Blue. The LP was released fifty years ago this week. It’s the best-selling album in the history of jazz, and year in year out, it continues to sell. Has anyone in the sociology of culture tried to explain this kind of durability?


It’s easy to explain how and why Kind of Blue was different and influential – its use of modes rather than chord changes as the basis for solos (though the first track on the album Milestones, recorded a year earlier, was also modal in concept). But that’s probably not much of a consideration for most people who buy and listen to the album. Its initial success owed something to the tastes of the time. It came out at a time when jazz was at its most popular. But does that account for its continued popularity?

Are there other albums in other genres that still sell decades after they first came out. The Wall? Sgt. Pepper? The Glenn Gould Goldberg Variations?

1 comment:

trrish said...

"The Dark Side of the Moon" is one of the better examples I can think of in rock. It's been on one Billboard chart or another for 30 years.