How smart a move is it for a star like Bruce Springsteen to release two albums at once? Judging by other recent offerings, the more new product out there, the merrier. Some examples:
Guns N’ Roses’ dual Use Your Illusion set is still selling briskly and, surprisingly, almost evenly. ”Use Your Illusion II was doing consistently more than I,” notes Geffen Records’ Robert Smith, head of marketing, ”and as it turns out, this week they just flip-flopped on the charts.” And jazz-bo pianist/crooner Harry Connick Jr. scored nicely with the two albums he released in 1990, the straight-jazz instrumental Lofty’s Roach Souffle and the big-bandish We Are in Love (featuring his faux-Sinatra vocals), the second of which went platinum and has stayed on the Billboard pop charts for 89 weeks. Never one to be outdone, prolific trumpeter Wynton Marsalis topped everyone last year with his Soul Gestures in Southern Blue trilogy — yep, three different albums, all out the same week-and became Billboard‘s top-charting jazz-album artist of the year.
But when you’re ready to talk pioneering, let’s doff our caps to the brave Incredible String Band, whose two simultaneously issued Elektra albums, Wee Tam and The Big Huge, hit the charts in March 1969, peaked at Nos. 174 and 180 respectively, and then faded gently into the mists.