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A fanzine writer once observed that sometimes a copy of a copy can be better than the original. But when it comes to pop music, where originality is about as prized as diversity, the real question is whether a copy of a copy can sell better than the original (or its copy). Certainly, to look at the progression from the Lawrence Welk Hotsy-Totsy Boys to the Bee Gees to Hanson is to understand that quality doesn’t vary much in aural ready-mades. Quantity of sales, however, does:

ORIGINAL SECOND GENERATION THIRD GENERATION
Jackson 5
1 million
New Edition
2 million
Backstreet Boys
1 million
Rolling Stones*(’60s-’70s)
6 million
Rolling Stones*(’80s)
4 million
Rolling Stones*(’90s)
2 million
Barbara Streisand
5 million
Whitney Houston
16 million
Celine Dion
9 million
Velvet Underground
233,000
Galaxie 500*
60,000
Luna*
54,000
The Beatles
16 million
The Monkees
5 million
Oasis
4 million
Led Zeppelin
16 million
Soundgarden
5 million
Pearl Jam
10 million

Research by Tracy Hamilton and Katie Isenberg. Figures reflect sales of best-selling album.
*Indicates that bands share actual genetic makeup or members.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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