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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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What artist has the biggest music catalog?

Me and my wife were talking about Bob Dylan which prompted the question, "Who has the biggest song catalog?" Dylan certainly has a lot of material but I know he can't be the claimant of this prolific title. I did a coouple searches but couldn't find anything.

You guys have any clues?

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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:42 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Probably Frank Zappa. I assume you mean official releases only. Not to include
bootlegs, live recordings, re-releases under different names etc?

Yeah, probably Zappa.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yeah, probably Zappa.

Like over 60 albums.
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Old August 14th, 2009, 10:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I would thing that the Glimmer Twins would be in the mix somewhere since they're still adding to their catalogue.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 12:04 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Prince? I read back in the late 80's that he had over 500 songs in the can that had never been released. I would imagine with his own studio, he's added to that number over the last 20 years.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 12:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Do session musicians count? Because they can probably trump the lot..
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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John Lee Hooker? he recorded for anybody anytime, sometimes under assumed names!
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:11 AM   #8 (permalink)
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What about songwriters. The list could be in the 800 plus range for several country songwriters.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Though they repeated a lot of songs, The Ventures have something like 180 full length albums released in Japan. This website http://theventures.com/index.php?pg=discography lists the American releases, and they supposedly released twice as many in Japan. Maybe not the most, but quite a few anyway!
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:17 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Klaus Schulze, the electronic musician has released 110 albums.

I'd also say, The Grateful Dead if you count all their "Dick's Picks," and other live releases must be over 70 albums.

Lee "Scratch" Perry has a lqrge nuimber of releases , at least 50 albums.

I've also read that the reggae singer, Dennis Alcapone has released over 200 singles.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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For shear 'output' this guy probably even trumps Tommy Tedesco ...
Granted this does include everything known so far that he did - playing as well as writing.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:52 AM   #12 (permalink)
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If your talking about songwriters, then it's the late great Harlan Howard. He had over 4000 songs published & recorded.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 03:40 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I would bet that Elvis Costello is up there too.
That man can write non stop. Little short tunes that all seem to be different.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 03:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Definitely not a "songwriter", but the guy that has most impressed me over the years as to sheer mind-boggling, prolific output of creative work is Franz Joseph Haydn.

104 full length symphonies (not to mention a variety of other works) is a tough act to follow. To the best of my knowledge, W.A. Mozart finishes a distant second with a grand total of 41 full length symphonic works. Most guys started getting nervous in approaching the 9th, as it historically signalled the beginning of the end of physical life.

Sorry for the tangent, carry on.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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In 1979, The Guinness Book of World Records named Paul McCartney "The Most Successful Songwriter of All Time," citing the fact he had written or co-written 43 songs whose recorded versions had sold a million or more. (I did a TV piece about it back then.) Looks like no one's eclipsed it. Don't own the current GB of WR, but did find an online reference that said Sir Paul looks to be on top still with 188 charted records, 91 of which have reached the top ten.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 02:43 PM   #16 (permalink)
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John Lee Hooker released under a lot of names, as did the recently departed Les Paul. Some of the great Jazz players would release lots of improvisations so my guess would be Dizzy Gelespie who was very prolific and if you take into account the stuff he released in France and so on.
McCartney also holds the Guinness world record for tea slurping. Which he set live on a British TV show back in the 80's. I think this still stands, weather it is still in the book I don't know it is in the 89 book.

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Old August 15th, 2009, 03:01 PM   #17 (permalink)
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as artists billy childish and robert pollard from guided by voices are probably up there... at one point childish released one single a week! john lee hooker's motto was you pay, i play... harlan howard 4000 songs, wow... tj
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Old August 15th, 2009, 03:09 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I am sure I read that Carole King/Jerry Goffin were among the top writers of hits, Sly & Robbie for recordings, somebody like Burt Bachrach would probably up there.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 03:59 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I've heard that Dolly Parton is up there in number of published songs. She's written an awful lot of hits for herself and others over the years.
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Old August 15th, 2009, 04:20 PM   #20 (permalink)
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My guess is that Neil Young would have to be right up near the top if you consider his solo work along with the groups he has worked with.
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