September 24, 1991, is often referred to as the biggest release day in history. We come up through a formula to watch whether the was the case.


Thirty years ago Friday, one of the many consequential job in modern-day music history occurred when Nirvana, A Tribe dubbed Quest, Red hot Chili Peppers, and Soundgarden every released seminal albums. To celebrate the occasion, we’re looking ago on September 24, 1991, through diving into the legacy of Nevermind and The Low end Theory, plus utilizing math to identify whether any kind of other relax day in the past three decades stacks up.

It’s something Gen Xers and old millennials will tell their grandkids about: the hallowed relax date. Every week—typically ~ above Tuesdays in the U.S. Prior to the advent of global Release Day—thousands would certainly schlep to their regional mom-and-pop or chain store and plop down between $10 and $20 for an actual, physical copy of an album. And also if the relax was large enough, document stores would open up at midnight for this reason fans might grab the album as soon as it might contractually walk on sale.

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“Sure, grandpa, let’s acquire you come bed,” you say, however seriously: before the an initial widespread MP3 leaks—and the come of new music shipment playlists choose Release Radar ~ above Spotify (The Ringer’s parent company)—those drop days meant something come many. It was a release for fans and the culmination of month of hype: It to be time to ultimately hear even if it is the new music that a lovely artist lived approximately your hopes. Regularly in the CD era, it didn’t—who among us hasn’t paid $18.99 because that an LP with two warm singles and also 14 tracks of filler? but occasionally, the album was worth the price. And also if friend were yes, really lucky—or unlucky, if you had actually a budget—there’d be much more than one album on the very same day that demanded your hard-earned cash.

To speak September 24, 1991, is one of those instances that dubbed for separated attention is miscellaneous of an understatement. In the U.S., the day witnessed the release of 3 undeniable classics—Nirvana’s Nevermind, A Tribe dubbed Quest’s The Low end Theory, and also Red warm Chili Peppers’ Blood street Sex Magik—plus heralded publication by Soundgarden and also the Pixies. (Also a late-period document by valve Morrison, if you’re gift a completist.) Subjectively, it’s taken into consideration one the the best release days in history—perhaps also the absolute best.

But spatu isn’t great enough for us here at The Ringer. We want to prove whether that September 1991 job is in fact the most important date in contemporary album history, or whether there were any kind of that exceeded it. So we devised a formula the accounts for both commercial power and critical accolades in hopes of arriving at a conclusion. The idea was to find days with lot of high-impact publication that have actually stood the check of time. We began with 1991—roughly the start of the SoundScan era, which changed how document sales to be accounted for and much of what we knew about popular music—and ran v the present, singling out days with number of big-ticket releases. We ended up with around 100 days throughout 30 years. (An at an early stage finding from the initial perform we probably didn’t need a examine for: major artists commonly stay clear of every other’s relax dates, which provides jam-packed job kinda rare.) native there, us measured each album by 5 categories:

RIAA certifications, providing it a fifty percent point for a gold plaque and also one suggest for every platinum level it reached (a document that went two times platinum would get two points, and so on).Billboard 200 peak, giving an album 5 points because that a top-10 placement (with 2 extra points for a no. 1 peak), 4 points because that nos. 11-20, 3 points for nos. 21-30, two points because that nos. 31-40, and also one suggest for nos. 41-50.Number the top-10 singles in the Billboard hot 100, through one suggest for every one (three for a no. 1 song).And lastly, Grammy nominations and wins for the album or any of its songs. A nomination is worth one point, when a success is precious three.

Also, before we gain to the list, part ground rules, lest we finish up through some outcomes that don’t fully capture the method we hear to and think about music:

We’re spring at only U.S. Figures and also charts, and also for albums the have different international release dates, we’re defaulting come the U.S. One. The day has to have an album that ranks within the height 30 that its year on BEA. This do not do it be hard—three that the September 24 albums location in the top 10 because that 1991.At least one that those top-30 albums needs to have gone gold or platinum. We love critics here (some of us are critics), yet for this exercise, we want our adored records to be widely listened to.No greatest hits; can’t have actually Aerosmith’s Big Ones skewing the results.No Christmas albums. Let’s be serious.

With every this in mind, we charted the 20 best release job in modern music history. The list listed below covers the best releases of the day, plus every date’s accumulation score and the crucial factors behind it. (For a more granular breakdown, here’s a spreadsheet of every one of our findings.) You’ll an alert that numerous of these dates fall within the 1990s—and nobody come after ~ 2012. There space likely countless contributing determinants to that (file sharing, the increase of streaming and playlisting, surprised drops for huge albums) but there’s seemingly one large takeaway: The album release date doesn’t host the very same power that it provided to.

Before us really begin, stop kick things off v a couple of honorable mentions:

The Commercial tour de pressure With No vital Smash

November 14, 1995

Notable releases: Waiting come Exhale: initial Soundtrack Album, R. Kelly’s self-titled album, Melissa Etheridge’s Your little Secret, Tracy Chapman’s New Beginnings, Meat Loaf’s Welcome to the Neighbourhood, the Pharcyde’s Labcabincalifornia

A huge day in terms of sales: the certifications because that November 14, 1995, add up to 20 times platinum. The Waiting to exhale soundtrack is the clean heavyweight, with much more than 7 million records sold, 5 top-10 singles, and 11 Grammy nominations. However no record right here has had the type of long-lasting critical impact we require for this exercise: The highest-ranking project on ideal Ever Albums is the Pharcyde’s sophomore LP, which ranks at no. 89 for 1995.

The work of crucial Darlings (and One commercial Juggernaut)

March 23, 2004

Notable releases: Usher’s Confessions, Madvillain’s Madvillainy, N.E.R.D.’s Fly or Die, Joanna Newsom’s The Milk-Eyed Mender, Blonde Redhead’s Misery Is a Butterfly, stole & Wine’s Our unlimited Numbered Days

Only one record on today was certified platinum: Usher’s Confessions, which went diamond. (That’s 10 million documents sold, an almost unfathomable number in the current music climate.) and also if us had had this date, that would’ve likely placed in the peak three, many thanks to Confessions’ sales, Grammy noms, and also run of no. 1 singles, add to the critical success the the various other releases. (Madvillainy is BEA’s no. 2 album because that 2004, and also both steel & Wine and also Joanna Newsom land in the peak 20.) however it no sit appropriate to have a day headlined by so countless releases that failed to break through on a nationwide level.

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The Christmas Album the Wouldn’t Quit

November 1, 1994Notable releases: Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas, Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in new York, Tom Petty’s Wildflowers, Megadeth’s Youthanasia

These space two major releases we’ve covered generally at The Ringer indigenous Nirvana and also Tom Petty and also a well-received Megadeth album—but the album with the biggest social footprint native this date is Mariah Carey’s Christmas album, i beg your pardon boasts the certified best holiday tune of all time. If you obtain excited as soon as it’s “All I want for Christmas Is You” season, this is your day to celebrate. If those opening chimes send shivers down your spine, this is your date to curse. Either way, it’s staying off this list.


A huge Rap Day that Somehow let go the Cut

June 18, 2013

Notable releases: Kanye West’s Yeezus, J. Cole’s Born Sinner, Mac Miller’s Watching Movies through the Sound Off

Best ever before Albums has actually Yeezus as the no. 2 album for 2013. Born Sinner doesn’t cracked the top 100 when Watching Movies come in at just 75. (A lovely indie release from the day—The civilization Is a Beautiful Place and I to be No much longer Afraid come Die’s Whenever, If Ever—comes in at 56.) with J. Cole and also Kanye both landing at no. 1 on Billboard and Mac fearbut peaking in ~ no. 3, the just thing holding this day ago was the absence of vital adoration. We’ll let you decide whether it is the appropriate call.

The Release date Every Release-Date post Has come Mention

September 11, 2007

Notable releases: Kanye West’s Graduation, 50 Cent’s Curtis

Take far the Rolling Stone cover and no one would certainly remember this day. Kanye to wash 50. The just question currently is whether background would’ve been much better off with the opposite outcome.

And now, without additional ado, our main list:

20. November 16, 1999

Notable release: Dr. Dre’s 2001, Korn’s Issues, will certainly Smith’s Willenium, Kurupt’s Tha Streetz Iz a Mutha, Ani DiFranco’s To the TeethWhy that ranked here: More 보다 11 million documents sold, cumulatively, plus a the majority of love for 2001Score: 55

1999 has actually long been thought about the peak of the recording industry, ideal before paper sharing came into play and messed up the whole business plan. This exercise would seem to back that up: 6 of our 20 days fall in between 1998 and also 2000 and also only four land in the previous 20 years. November 16, 1999, sneaks in on the earlier of Dr. Dre—2001, his comeback record, went six times platinum and earned five Grammy nominations (with two wins). Yet we also got significant releases from Korn and also Will smith (his last gasp of advertisement success, at least as a musician), add to well-regarded records from Kurupt and also Ani DiFranco. The date is a perfect snapshot of an sector celebrating the eight times, not knowing the bust was approximately the corner.

19. March 8, 1994

Notable releases: Soundgarden’s Superunkown, Nine customs Nails’ The downward Spiral, gang Starr’s Hard to Earn, Insane Clown Posse’s Ringmaster, Elvis Costello’s Brutal Youth, john Frusciante’s Niandra Lades and also Usually just a T-ShirtWhy that ranked here: Two top-10 1994 albums, per finest Ever AlbumsScore: 57.5

The bottom Spiral went 4 times platinum, when Superunknown went five times. Ns attributing the extra million to the “Black feet Sun” video, i beg your pardon is etched right into the brains of most everyone the a specific age.

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T-17. October 31, 2000Notable releases: Outkast’s Stankonia, Jay-Z’s The Dynasty: Roc La Familia, Lifehouse’s No name Face, Godsmack’s Awake, Insane Clown Posse’s BizaarWhy that ranked here: More than 10 million copies sold, cumulatively, plus a most accolades because that OutkastScore: 60

This wasn’t the very first time Jay-Z and Outkast faced off ~ above release days (more on that later). But while Hov crushed the dungeon dwellers in sales top top the initial go-around, Dre and large Boi gained the ideal of that both commercially and also critically in 2000. And their album tho sounds together futuristic now as it did then.

T-17. October 22, 2012

Notable releases: Taylor Swift’s Red, Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D CityWhy it’s ranked here: The greatest release that 2012 and its most critically acclaimed dropped on the very same day.Score: 60

In 2012, Kendrick was an upstart gaining ready to relax his very first major-label album. Today, he’s one of the world’s best stars alongside Taylor thanks in no small component to the success of Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. (Taylor would call on Kendrick come beef increase her next album release two years later.) In 2021, it’s almost impossible come imagine this two ever dropping a document on the very same day again.

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16. February 13, 1996Notable releases: 2Pac’s All Eyez ~ above Me, the Fugees’ The ScoreWhy that ranked here: The two biggest rap albums the 1996 came out on the very same dayScore: 61

The Fugees haven’t exit an album since The Score, yet as soon as news came this week the they to be reuniting for a tourism this year, the internet erupted. It is what happens once you do an album this iconic.


15. August 30, 2005

Notable releases: Kanye West’s Late Registration, fatality Cab because that Cutie’s Plans, Thirty secs to Mars’ A Beautiful Lie, yes sir Go’s Oh NoWhy it’s ranked here: Critics yes, really love Kanye and also Death CabScore: 62

Maybe this experiment to be a wrong if the album v the treadmill tune snuck top top here.

14. October 3, 1995

Notable releases: Oasis’ (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, Mariah Carey’s Daydream, Deftones AdrenalineWhy that ranked here: More 보다 15 million records sold in the U.S. Between these three records—although two-thirds of that belongs to oneScore: 63

“Wonderwall” to be the first ’90s tune to happen 1 billion streams top top Spotify. (Today, it’s at much more than 1.2 billion.) however in 1995, at least in the States, the Gallagher brother were usually small-time alongside Mariah, who Daydream spawned 3 no. 1 singles, earned six Grammy nominations, and also has sold more than 10 million systems to date. It might not it is in 1 billion streams, but here, it counts for more.

13. July 1, 1997

Notable releases: Puff Daddy’s No way Out; Limp Bizkit’s Three disagreement Bill, Y’all; Men in Black: The Album, the Prodigy’s The Fat of the LandWhy that ranked here: Diddy selling a many records and transforming a lot of old hits into brand-new onesScore: 67

The doubters didn’t love Puff daddy in 1997—No means Out lands at no. 494 ~ above the ideal Ever Albums chart for the year—but everyone else did. Few artists have had as leading a stretch as he did in ~ the time, with four top-10 access time (and two no. 1s) coming from this album and another in secure rotation with Biggie’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” which Puff guested on. But as much as naysayers disliked Puff because that brazenly recycling proven hits, one sample-heavy record from this release day earned lot of of praise: The Fat of the Land by the Prodigy sit at no. 13 top top the 1997 BEA chart. It additionally went dual platinum in the U.S., a reality that seems more bizarre with every passing year as we become further gotten rid of from our nationwide electronica nightmare.

12. November 23, 1993

Notable releases: Snoop Doggy Dogg’s Doggystyle, Ace that Base’s The Sign, guns N’ Roses’ “The Spaghetti Incident?”, Elton John’s Duets, The Beavis and Butt-head ExperienceWhy the ranked here: Ace the Base sold a lot of records and also pumped the end a most hitsScore: 68

Let’s collection aside Ace the Base, Sweden’s best musical export outside of ABBA. Let’s likewise skip past Doggystyle, which set the first-week-sales record for a debuting artist. I want to talk around The Beavis and also Butt-Head Experience, which in which method went twin platinum. If you ever before need proof that the record companies had it too an excellent in the ’90s, look to the truth that about 2 million people walk out and purchased one album that contained “Come to Butt-Head.” Wild times.

11. November 9, 1993

Notable releases: Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), A Tribe called Quest’s Midnight Marauders, R. Kelly’s 12 Play, Dave Matthews Band’s Remember 2 Things, Celine Dion’s The color of mine LoveWhy it’s ranked here: Two that the ideal rap albums in history squaring offScore: 69

The two biggest-selling albums here, 12 Play and also The colour of my Love, no the main draw—it’s 36 Chambers and also Midnight Marauders walking head come head. If you have actually to offer the edge come one, it goes come the Wu-Tang debut—it not just sold an ext and assisted redefine the sound the rap, it presented us to a completely realized world and also mythology unmatched in the genre’s history. However unlike walking into a record store in 1993, girlfriend don’t have actually to choose one or the other—both are accessible right now to anyone with a streaming subscription. And also maybe it is one method things have changed for the better.

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10. September 29, 1992

Notable releases: Stone temple Pilots’ Core, Alice in Chains’ Dirt, Peter Gabriel’s Us, Chanté Moore’s PreciousWhy it’s ranked here: Three albums in the best Ever Albums’ height 30 of 1992, including one that might surprise youScore: 69.5

If you were conscious in the beforehand ’90s, see a release date with the seminal grunge albums Core and Dirt on this perform won’t shock you. But let’s no sleep top top Peter Gabriel’s Us, which peaked at no. 2 top top the Billboard 200—higher than rock Temple Pilots or Alice in Chains—and earned 6 Grammy noms and two wins (for videos, but still). And also while Core and Dirt both placed highly on the BEA list for the year (11 and also 4, respectively), Us clocks in at a respectable no. 27. Music may have actually been an altering around him, but Gabriel can still wield the advertising sledgehammer when he want to.

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9. June 13, 1995Notable releases: Alanis Morissette’s Jagged small Pill, Björk’s Post, Paula Abdul’s Head over HeelsWhy it’s ranked here: A 16-times-platinum record and also another classicScore: 70.5

That this day would be ranked so high with only three major releases speaks to the strength of Jagged tiny Pill, one of the most dominant albums that the past 30 years. The record has actually sold 33 million copies worldwide since its release, and Best ever Albums has actually it together the seventh best of 1995 (and no. 69 that the decade). That is, however, trump in the regard through its release-date sister, Post, which come in at no. 5 on the chart despite being dwarfed in sales.