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The 20 Best-Selling Albums of All Time

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The Best Selling Albums of All Time

Ever wondered what the best selling-albums of all time are? How about what your favourite artist sales are like? 

Well, in this list, you’ll find out just how many the 20 best-selling albums have sold, and how they compare to other artists albums. 

Micheal Jackson and The Eagles have been fighting for the top spot over the past few years, but for now, The Eagles are on top!

So, if you like artists like The Beatles, AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and Led Zeppelin, then this is worth a read!

Here’s a list of the 20 best-selling albums of all time. 

 

The 20 Best-Selling Albums of All Time

The list of albums and figures mentioned below have been compiled from various sources around the web, such as Business Insider, Mental Floss & Paste Magazine

These are the 20 best-selling albums of all time:

 

20. Bee Gees – Saturday Night Fever 

Best Selling Albums - Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever

U.S. Albums Sold: 15 Million

Kicking off our list of the best selling albums of all time is Saturday Night Fever by the Bee Gees. 

This is the soundtrack album from the 1977 film of the same name and has since gone on to sell more than 40 million copies worldwide. 

In the U.S., the album was certified 16 x platinum and stayed at the top of the album charts for 24 weeks, and the billboard charts for 120 weeks. And, in the UK, the album spent 18 weeks at number 1. 

Due to its significant success, Saturday Night Fever, by the Bee Gees, was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress, for its cultural significance. 

 

19. Alanis Morisette – Jagged Little Pill

Best Selling Albums - Alanis Morisette - Jagged Little Pill

U.S. Albums Sold: 17 Million

Jagged Little Pill was Alanis Morisette’s third studio album and international debut. 

The album was released on June 13, 1995, and was her first-ever album release worldwide, as her first two albums were only released in Canada. 

The album went on to top the charts in over thirteen countries, selling over 33 million copies worldwide. This made Morisette the first-ever Canadian to achieve double diamond sales. 

Jagged Litte Pill won five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, which at the time, made Morisette the youngest artist in history to win the award. 

 

18. The Beatles – 1967-1970

Best Selling Albums - The Beatles - 1967-1970

U.S. Albums Sold: 17 Million

Coming in at number eighteen on our list is 1967 – 1970, by The Beatles. 

The album is a compilation of songs that spanned the years indicated in the album title. 

It was released in 1973, alongside “The Red Album”, and climbed its way to the top of the American Billboard chart, as well as reaching No. 2 on the UK album charts. 

In September 1993, the album was re-released on CD and managed to reach No. 4 in the British Album charts. 

 

17. Garth Brooks – No Fences 

Best Selling Albums - Garth Brookes - No Fences 

U.S. Albums Sold: 17 Million

No Fences is American country music artist, Garth Brooks, second studio album. 

It was released on August 27, 1990, and got to the top of Billboards Top Country Album charts, whilst also managing to reach No. 3 on the Billboard 200, and stay in the top 40 for an impressive, 126 weeks. 

With just over 17 million albums sold in the U.S., No Fences remains Garth Brooks best studio album to date. 

This best selling album features 10 tracks and was produced by Allen Reynolds and released by Capitol Nashville.

 

16. Elton John – Greatest Hits

Best Selling Albums - Elton John - Greatest Hits

U.S. Albums Sold: 17 Million

Next up, we have Elton John’s Greatest Hits. 

Released in November 1974, this is the eleventh official album release from Elton John and his first compilation album. 

The tracks included on the album are from 1970 – 1974 and include ten of John’s singles. 

It topped the charts in America and the United Kingdom and managed to stay at number one in the U.S. for ten consecutive weeks and eleven weeks in the UK. 

In 1975, Greatest Hits was the best selling album in the United States and has become Elton John’s best selling album of all time, with more than 24 million copies sold worldwide. 

 

15. Boston – Boston

Best Selling Albums - Boston - Boston

U.S. Albums Sold: 17 Million

American rock band, Boston, released their debut studio album, “Boston”, in the U.S. on August 25, 1976. 

The album was produced by Tom Scholz and John Boylan and was released on Epic Records. 

It became the best-selling debut album in the U.S. at that time and won an RIAA Century Award for the best selling debut album. 

Boston has since sold 17 million albums in the U.S. and approximately 25 million copies worldwide. 

It’s the fifteenth best selling album of all time. 

 

14. Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard 

Best Selling Albums - Whitney Houston - The Bodyguard 

U.S. Albums Sold: 18 Million

Being the soundtrack to the film of the same name, The Bodyguard was released on November 17, 1992, by Arista Records. 

Side one of the album features songs from Whitney Houston, who also starred in the film, whilst side two features songs from a number of different artists. 

The album became the best selling soundtrack album of all time, selling more than 45 million copies worldwide. 

In 2017, the album was certified 18x Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America and won a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. 

Clive Davis and Whitney Houston were co-executive producers of the album. 

 

13. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite for Destruction

Best Selling Albums - Guns N' Roses - Appetite for Destruction

U.S. Albums Sold: 18 Million

American hard rock band, Guns N’ Roses, released their debut album, “Appetite for Destruction”, on July 21, 1987. 

However, it was not until 1988 when the album became a commercial success as it was originally only released to little mainstream attention. 

The album features singles like, “Welcome to the Jungle, “Paradise City” and Sweet Child O’Mine”, and went on to become the best selling debut album of all time. 

Appetite for Destruction topped the Billboard 200, sold over 30 million copies worldwide and is the thirteenth best selling album of all time in the U.S.

Due to its commercial success, it was re-released in 2018 as a remastered box set. 

 

12. Shania Twain – Come On Over

Best Selling Albums - Shania Twain - Come On Over

U.S. Albums Sold: 20 Million

Released on November 4 1997, “Come on Over” is Canadian Country Music Singer, Shania Twain’s, third studio album. 

Come on Over has won a number of awards and earned several titles since its release, including the all-time best-selling country music album, best-selling studio album by a female act and the best selling album by a Canadian. 

After debuting on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart at No. 1, it remained there for 50-non consecutive weeks and held its place in the top ten for an impressive, 151 weeks. 

Eight out of the sixteen tracks on the album hit the top ten of the Hot Country Songs chart, including three number ones, and twelve tracks out of the sixteen became some of Shania Twain’s Greatest Hits!  

 

11. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors

Best Selling Albums - Fleetwood Mac - Rumors

U.S. Albums Sold: 20 Million

Rumours is the eleventh studio album by Fleetwood Mac, a British-American Rock band and the eleventh best-selling album of all time. 

The album was released on February 4, 1977, by Warner Bro. Records and has since sold 40 million albums worldwide. 

Rumours became Fleetwood Mac’s most successful release to date after topping the U.S. Billboard 200 charts, the UK Album charts and winning a Grammy Award for album of the year in 1978. 

Being one of the best selling albums of all time, it’s now received Diamond status in several countries, including the U.S., Canada and Australia. 

The album was selected for preservation in 2018, in the National Recording Registry, as it was deemed, culturally, historically or artistically significant by the Library of Congress. 

 

10. Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View

Best Selling Albums - Hootie & The Blowfish - Cracked Rear View

U.S. Albums Sold: 21 Million

The tenth best-selling album of all time is Cracked Rear View, by Hootie & The Blowfish. 

Released on July 5, 1994, by Atlantic Records, Cracked Rear View became extremely popular, eventually selling over 22 million copies worldwide, three-million of which were sold through the mail-order system of Columbia House. 

The album reached number one on the Billboard 200, five times in 1995, and managed to reach number one in Canada and New Zealand. 

The album received mainly positive reviews, and Stephen Thomas Erlewine, from All Music, called the album “The Success Story of 1994/1995.” 

 

9. Garth Brooks – Double Live

Best Selling Albums - Garth Brooks - Double Live

U.S. Albums Sold: 21 Million

American country music singer, Garth Brooks, first live album is a two-disk compilation of live songs, recorded during his 1996-98 world tour. 

Released on November 17 1998, “Double Live” sold more than 1,085,000 copies in the first week, which broke the previous sales record held by Pearl Jam’s V’s.

After that, the album continued to break records and overtook Eric Clapton’s Unplugged album to become the best selling live album in the US, and eventually, the best selling live album in US history. 

The RIAA certified “Double Live” as 21x Platinum as it shipped 10.5 million copies. 

In 2014, “Double Live” was re-released as a 25th Anniversary Edition, exclusively to GhostTunes. 

 

8. AC/DC – Back In Black

Best Selling Albums - AC:DC - Back In Black

U.S. Albums Sold: 22 Million

The eighth best-selling album of all time is Back In Black, by AC/DC.

Back In Black is American rock band, AC/DC’s,  seventh studio album, released July 25, 1980, by Atlantic Records and Albert Productions.

This was also a pretty special album for the band as its the first album to feature vocalist Brian Johnson, after the death of their original singer, Bon Scott. 

Since its release, it’s sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and is one of the best selling music albums in music history. 

It was certified 25x Platinum by the RIAA in 2019 due to selling over 25,000,000 copies. 

 

7. Pink Floyd – The Wall 

Best Selling Albums - Pink Floyd - The Wall 

U.S. Albums Sold: 23 Million

English rock band, Pink Floyd, released their eleventh studio album, The Wall, on November 30, 1979.

The album was a massive commercial success, topping the US charts and reaching number three in the UK Album charts. 

Since its release, it’s gone on to sell more than 23 million copies and is the second best selling album in the band’s collection.

It was also listed as number 87 on the Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

The Wall, by Pink Floyd, is the seventh best-selling album of all time.

 

6. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV

Best Selling Albums - Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV

U.S. Albums Sold: 23 Million

The sixth best-selling album of all time is the untitled album from Led Zeppelin. 

Due to being untitled, the album is most commonly referred to as “Led Zeppelin IV”, and is most notable for featuring “Stairway to Heaven”, which is often described as the bands signature song.

The band decided not to name this album due to some criticism of their previous album, instead deciding on using symbols chosen by each band member to represent the album.

The album was released November 8, 1971, by Atlantic Records and was a huge commercial success, shipping over 37 million records worldwide to date. 

 

5. Billy Joel – Greatest Hits Volume 1 & Volume 2

Best Selling Albums - Billy Joel - Greatest Hits Volume 1 & Volume 2

U.S. Albums Sold: 23 Million

Coming in at number five on our list of the best-selling albums is Billy Joel’s Greatest Hits Volume 1 & Volume 2. 

Released in 1985, the album has been certified double diamond by the RIAA, as it’s sold over 11.5 million copies. 

The album features Billy Joel’s hits from 1973 to 1985 in chronological order.

Greatest Hits Volume 1 & Volume 2 is the fifth best-selling album of all time. 

 

4. The Beatles – The White Album

Best Selling Albums - The Beatles - The White Album

U.S. Albums Sold: 24 Million

The White Album is English rock band, The Beatles, ninth studio album, which was released on the 22 November 1968. 

The double album does not contain any images or text on the album cover, other than the band’s name, which was embossed on the front, as the band felt they wanted to contrast their previous albums colourful artwork.

When the white album was released, many critics gave it positive reviews and it went on to reach the top of the US and UK album charts. 

Some critics value the music on this album so much, that they view it to be one of the greatest albums of all time. 

 

3. Eagles – Hotel California

Best Selling Albums - Eagles - Hotel California

U.S. Albums Sold: 26 Million

Hotel California is the Eagles fifth studio album, released in December 1976 and one of the best selling albums of all time.  

After their greatest hits album, Hotel California became the bands biggest selling album, due two-three singles from the album being featured high in the Billboard Hot:100: “New Kid In Town”, Hotel California & Life in the Fast Lane. 

The album has been certified 26x platinum, ranked number 37 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time”, and sold over 32 million copies worldwide. 

Hotel California won two Grammy Awards for “Hotel California” and “New Kid In Town”.

 

2. Michael Jackson – Thriller 

Best Selling Albums - Michael Jackson - Thriller 

U.S. Albums Sold: 33 Million

Thriller is the sixth studio album from legendary singer and music icon, Michael Jackson. 

Thriller was released on November 30, 1982, by Epic Records and peaked at number one on the Billboard 200.

The album produced seven hit singles, like “Billie Jean”, “Beat It”, “Thriller” and “The Girl Is Mine”, which all reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. 

By the end of 1983, Thriller was the worlds best selling Album, having sold 32 million copies worldwide. 

The album spent 37 weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 and won a staggering eight Grammy Awards, including Album of the year, at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards.

 

1. Eagles – Their Greatest Hits – (1971-1975)

Best Selling Albums - Eagles - Their Greatest Hits - (1971-1975)

U.S. Albums Sold: 38 Million

The No.1 best-selling album in the world of all time is, “Their Great Hits”, by the Eagles. 

This is their first compilation album, released in 1976, which contains a group of songs from their first four albums, spanning the period of 1971-1975.

After reaching number one on the Billboard 200, the album stayed there for a further five weeks, and two singles from the album, “One of Those Nights” & “Best of My Love”, also managed to top the Billboard Hot 100. 

The album was the first album to receive the RIAA Platinum certification, which was introduced in 1976 to recognise albums that have shipped one million copies or more within the United States. 

After being taken over by Micheal Jackson’s Thriller album, as the best-selling album of all time, “Their Greatest Hits” regained its title in 2017 and was then chosen by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the National Recording Registry. 

To date, “Their Greatest Hits” has sold approximately thirty-eight million copies and is the best-selling album of all time. 

 

Summary

We hope you enjoyed our list of the 20 best-selling albums of all time. 

How crazy is that?! 38 million albums… Wow! 

Well, if you’re planning on being the next “Eagles”, then at least you know what you’re up against if you want an album of yours to become the best-selling album of all time!

Here’s a quick recap of the 20 best-selling albums of all time:

  1. Eagles – Their Greatest Hits – (1971-1975)
  2. Micheal Jackson – Thriller
  3. Eagles – Hotel California
  4. The Beatles – The White Album
  5. Billy Joel – Greatest Hits – Volume 1 & Volume 2
  6. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
  7. Pink Floyd – The Wall
  8. AC/DC – Back In Black
  9. Garth Brooks – Double Live
  10. Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View
  11. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
  12. Shania Twain – Come On Over
  13. Guns N’ Roses – Appetite For Destruction
  14. Whitney Houston – The Bodyguard
  15. Boston – Boston
  16. Elton John – Greatest Hits
  17. Garth Brookes – No Fences
  18. The Beatles – 1967-1970
  19. Alanis Morisette – Jagged Little Pill
  20. Bee Gees – Saturday Night Fever

What’s your favourite best-selling album? Leave a comment below.

Matt McIntyre is a digital content creator and certified marketing strategist. In a former life, Matt co-founded TWC Tailoring, a London based bespoke tailoring company, catering for an array of elite clientele. When he's not talking about business or marketing, you'll find him on a beach or by the pool.

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