Herbie Hancock Discography

Herbie Hancock Discography

The discography of the American jazz artist Herbie Hancock consists of forty-one studio albums, twelve live albums, sixty-two compilation albums, five soundtrack albums, thirty-eight physical singles, nine promo singles and four songs not released as singles, but that charted due downloads. This article does not include re-issues, unless they are counted separately from the original works in the charts, furthermore because of the enormous amount of material published, this discography omits less notable appearances in compilations and live albums. The discography shows the peak weekly main chart positions of eight selected countries: United States, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and United Kingdom. Positions also listed on United States are R&B / hip-hop, dance / club, jazz and bubbling under charts. The peaks don't refer necessarily to the position that a record reached when it was first released. Also included are certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Bundesverband Musikindustrie (BVMI).

Hancock made his debut as professional musician in the early 1960s as a sideman, quickly earning a good reputation. Blue Note Records noticed his talent and added him to its roster. For the label, he released seven albums, including Takin' Off (1962), his first solo album, supported by the single "Watermelon Man", which is one of the most performed jazz standards; Empyrean Isles (1964) and Maiden Voyage (1965), two influential jazz albums. During these years, Hancock also began a career as composer for film and television soundtracks, beginning with Blow-Up (1966) for MGM Records. In this role, he reached the top in 1986 with the Round Midnight soundtrack (for Columbia Records), that had its best result on the AFYVE Spanish Albums Chart at No. 18 and won an Academy Award for Best Original Score. After his departure from Blue Note, Hancock signed with Warner Bros. Records, publishing three albums in which he experimented with new jazz music directions: the R&B-oriented Fat Albert Rotunda (1969) and the electronic-oriented Mwandishi (1971) and Crossings (1972). These three releases became influential in the jazz rock movement.

Hancock continued to experiment after leaving Warner Bros. for Columbia Records, where he remained until the late 1980s, releasing sixteen studio albums. At Columbia, Hancock had his best commercial results, gaining immediate success with Head Hunters (1973), an R&B-oriented jazz album with strong funk influences. It peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard 200 and became the best-selling jazz album in history. In 1986, it became the first jazz album ever to win a RIAA Platinum Award and is considered very influential in jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop music. Head Hunters also contains Hancock's first mainstream hit, "Chameleon" (1974), which peaked at No. 35 on the RPM Canadian Singles Chart and is a jazz standard. Other albums that followed in the style of Head Hunters with good popular success, especially in the US, were Thrust (1974) and Man-Child (1975), which ranked respectively No. 13 and No. 21 on the Billboard 200. In 1978, Hancock added disco influences to his jazz and established himself as a mainstream hitmaker across Europe with "I Thought It Was You" (1978) and "You Bet Your Love" (1979), which peaked, respectively, at No. 15 and No. 18 on the UK Singles Chart, and "Tell Everybody" (1979), which peaked at No. 22 on the Belgian Flemish Singles Chart. Thanks to these singles, his albums Sunlight (1978) and Feets, Don't Fail Me Now (1979) earned good popular success, especially in Europe. The first album had its best performance peaking on UK Albums Chart at No. 26, and the second peaked on the VG Norwegian Albums Chart at No. 18.

In 1983, Hancock radically refreshed his sound with strong electronic influences and released Future Shock (1983), an influential album in jazz fusion, dance, electronic, techno and hip-hop music. The album had its best results in Europe, where it peaked at No. 7 on the Ö3 Austria Top 75 Longplays chart. Furthermore, it spawned his biggest hit single, "Rockit" (1983), the first jazz hip-hop song in history, and became a worldwide anthem for breakdancers and the hip-hop culture of the 1980s. It reached the top 10 in several countries (especially in Europe), having its best performance on Swiss Singles Chart and Belgian Flemish Singles Chart, in each case at No. 4. It also won a RIAA Gold Award in 1990. Thanks to this song, Hancock won the Grammy Award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance, the first Grammy of his career of a total of fourteen. Future Shock was a bigger success than even Head Hunters, winning a RIAA Platinum Award in 1994 faster than the earlier album had. It spawned an additional mainstream hit with "Autodrive" (1983), which had its best performance on UK Singles Chart, peaking at No. 33. Sound-System (1984) followed the musical direction of Future Shock and won the Grammy Award in the same category of "Rockit", making Hancock the first solo artist to win in this category for two consecutive years and also the artist with most wins in the category (a record shared with Earth, Wind & Fire and George Benson). After six years of silence in his solo career, Hancock signed with Mercury Records and released Dis Is da Drum (1994) that showed another innovation in his career with an acid jazz-oriented sound and reached No. 40 on the Swedish Albums Chart. After this release, there were several albums of duets, covers and tributes, such as Gershwin's World (1998), Possibilities (2005) and River: The Joni Letters (2007). The last peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 and became the second jazz album in history to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year (the first was Getz/Gilberto (1964) by Stan Getz and João Gilberto). As of 2012, Hancock's last original solo project was the electronic-influenced Future2Future (2001), released for Transparent Music.

Read more about Herbie Hancock Discography:  Other Charted Songs, Notes, See Also

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    —Tony Hancock (1924–1968)