the Music master: McCartney

McCartney performs in 2015.

Paul McCartney

When: 8 p.m. Sunday

Where: CenturyLink Center, 455 N. 10th St.

Tickets: $97.50 to $165 via Ticketmaster

Information: or 402-341-1500

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By any measure, Paul McCartney is the most successful musician of all time.

With his bands and his solo career, Sir Paul has sold more albums than anyone. McCartney is among the top Grammy winners, and he has dozens of platinum albums.

Of course it helps that he was part of the Beatles.

With 178 million albums sold, the Fab Four are the top-selling artist of all time in the U.S. The group had 43 platinum certifications, 26 multiplatinum and six diamond.

But McCartney’s solo work and his material with Wings have kept him in the spotlight, selling albums and winning more awards since the Beatles’ breakup. And McCartney’s tours have ranked among the top 15 worldwide for the last six years.

We took a look at McCartney and the Beatles statistics, and, in some cases, checked to see how he and they compare with other major musicians. See the stats below.

Credit where credit’s due

Some might say McCartney deserves only ¼ of the credit for his time in the Beatles.

I say no.

He should get full credit.

The reason is twofold: First, he and Lennon wrote or co-wrote nearly every song the band released. Second, every Beatle should get full credit for being a Beatle.

Even Ringo. Especially Ringo.

Because he “only played drums” and “didn’t even write that many songs” and “only sang lead a few times” shouldn’t make Ringo a lesser member. He was as important in his own way as anyone else in that band.

Same with McCartney. You can’t talk about him as an artist without acknowledging his membership in the biggest rock band of all time. It’s impossible to separate the two.

Album sales

203.5 million

178 million from the Beatles, 15.5 million solo, 10 million with Wings*

Grammy Awards

18 wins, 78 nominations

11 wins with the Beatles, 4 solo, 3 with Wings**

Platinum certifications

58 platinum, 31 multiplatinum, 6 diamond

42 platinum, 26 multiplatinum and 6 diamond with the Beatles;

9 platinum and 4 multiplatinum solo;

7 platinum and 1 multiplatinum with Wings*

No. 1 songs


20 with the Beatles, 6 with Wings on Billboard’s Hot 100

No. 1 albums


19 with the Beatles, 2 solo, 1 with Wings

*Source: The RIAA


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The biggest sellers and hottest artists ever

Overall, Paul McCartney is the biggest musician around.

But neither he nor the Beatles are No. 1 in every category. Not nearly.

We delved into a variety of categories involving hit songs, awards and album sales to figure out the biggest sellers, award winners and hottest artists ever.

Grammy Awards

Georg Solti, conductor: 31

Alison Krauss, country singer: 27

Quincy Jones, producer: 27

Albums sold

The Beatles: 178 million

Garth Brooks: 148 million

Elvis Presley: 136 million

Platinum awards

Elvis Presley: 53

The Beatles: 42

George Strait: 33

Diamond awards

Garth Brooks: 7

The Beatles: 6

Led Zeppelin: 5

Digital singles

Rihanna: 119.5 million

Taylor Swift: 101 million

Katy Perry: 89 million

Best-selling albums

Michael Jackson, “Thriller”: 33 million

Eagles, “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975”: 29 million

Billy Joel, “Great Hits Volume I & Volume II”: 23 million

No. 1 songs

The Beatles: 20

Mariah Carey: 18

Michael Jackson / Rihanna: 13

No. 1 albums

The Beatles: 19

Jay-Z: 13

Bruce Springsteen: 11

Highest grossing concert tours

U2, 360° Tour, 2009-2011: $736,421,584

The Rolling Stones, A Bigger Bang Tour, 2005-2007: $558,255,524

Roger Waters, The Wall Live, 2010-2013: $458,673,798

Sources: sales numbers from the Recording Industry Association of America; charts from Billboard’s Hot 100 singles and Billboard 200 charts; concert sales from Pollstar

Reporter - Entertainment/music/concert

Kevin Coffey is the entertainment editor and critic, covering music, movies, video games, comic books and lots more. Follow him on Twitter @owhmusicguy. Phone: 402-444-1557.

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