Home Music Ryan Adams Version of “1989” Outsells Taylor Swift’s (This Week) 2-to-1

Here’s a problem everyone would like to have.

Indie rocker Ryan Adams has made a song for song version of Taylor Swift’s “1989” album. Adams’ “1989” debuted this week with 52,000 copies more or less in CDs and downloads. That’s twice as many as Swift’s original “1989” sold this past week.

Adding streaming, Adams still beat Swift by 10,000 copies. He sold a total of 56,837 versus her 46,318.

For adults, and guys, Adams’s version of the album is just swell. It’s much more appealing than hers for repeat plays. No disrespect to Swift but after a couple of radio plays her long term appeal is to teen girls. Adams gives her great songs a whole new feel. The project works.

For Adams, this was a great idea. Maybe it will spur other rockers to look around at song catalogs like Swift’s. Someone like a Rob Thomas could do a whole “Now 20” kind of album where they do all the top hits of the last six months.

In the old days, this was not so uncommon. Harry Nilsson recorded a whole album of Randy Newman songs that became a classic. Dusty Springfield’s “Dusty in Memphis” was largely devoted to Newman and Carole King. Linda Ronstadt, the Fifth Dimension and Three Dog Night routinely recorded lots of songs by the same songwriters (Hoyt Axton, Newman, etc).

Adams’s “1989” was released in time for Grammy consideration. How funny if his album wins Best Alternative Rock and Swift wins Album of the Year for the same album. Ken Ehrlich, start planning for a fun Grammy night.

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