The Best Selling Albums Of All Time

Random Celebrity Article By on February 10, 2013

What are the best selling albums of all time? The 55th annual Grammy awards airs tonight so we thought it would be appropriate to take a look back at the most successful musical compositions in history. Not surprisingly, the majority of the albums on this list have had a solid 20-30 years to rack up millions of sales and rise in the ranks, but a handful are from the last decade alone. Amazingly, one female artist was able to crack the the top 40 on this list with an album that was released a little more than one year ago. Can you guess who that artist is? A few truly classic artists like Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Whitney Houston and Madonna managed make the list multiple times and I bet you'll be surprised by more than one album that you never would have guessed sold tens of millions of copies (Meat Loaf???).

While you're browsing the list, keep this fact in mind: The average artist earns $2 off every album sold. Obviously some artists will have slightly better or worse per-album deals, but $2 is a pretty safe number for the average major label act of the last 30 years. When you multiply $2 by the the sales figures below, you really start to understand how successful musicians make so much freaking money. Take #12 on the list, Alanis Morissette's 1995 album "Jagged Little Pill" which sold 33 million copies. That means Alanis potentially earned as much as $66 million off that one album alone. And that doesn't include her radio royalties, touring, merchandise, endorsements and licensing revenues! So without further delay, scroll down to see the best selling albums of all time…

Thriller albums sales

Best Selling Albums of all Time

The Best Selling Albums Of All Time:

  • #1: Michael Jackson: Thriller (1982) 65 million
  • #2: AC/DC: Back in Black (1980) 50 million
  • #3: Pink Floyd: The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) 50 million
  • #4: Whitney Houston: The Bodyguard (1992) 45 million
  • #5: Michael Jackson: Bad (1987) 45 million
  • #6: Meat Loaf: Bat Out of Hell (1977) 43 million
  • #7: Eagles: Their Greatest Hits (1976) 42 million
  • #8: Bee Gees: Saturday Night Fever (1977) 40 million
  • #9: Fleetwood Mac: Rumours (1977) 40 million
  • #10: Shania Twain: Come On Over (1997) 40 million
  • Led Zeppelin: Led Zeppelin IV (1971) 37 million
  • Alanis Morissette: Jagged Little Pill (1995) 33 million
  • Michael Jackson: Dangerous (1991) 32 million
  • The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) 32 million
  • Céline Dion: Falling into You (1996) 32 million
  • Mariah Carey: Music Box (1993) 32 million
  • Dirty Dancing: Soundtrack (1987) 32 million
  • The Beatles: 1 (2000) 31 million
  • Céline Dion: Let's Talk About Love (1997) 31 million
  • The Beatles: Abbey Road (1969) 30 million
  • Britney Spears: …Baby One More Time (1999) 30 million
  • Bruce Springsteen: Born in the U.S.A. (1984) 30 million
  • Dire Straits: Brothers in Arms (1985) 30 million
  • Guns N' Roses: Appetite for Destruction (1987) 30 million
  • Iron Butterfly: In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida (1968) 30 million
  • Titanic: Music from the Motion Picture (1997) 30 million
  • Madonna: The Immaculate Collection (1990) 30 million
  • Metallica: Metallica (1991) 30 million
  • Nirvana: Nevermind (1991) 30 million
  • Pink Floyd: The Wall (1979) 30 million
  • Santana: Supernatural (1999) 30 million
  • ABBA: ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits (1992) 28 million
  • Backstreet Boys: Backstreet's Back (1997) 28 million
  • Backstreet Boys: Millennium (1999) 28 million
  • Bon Jovi: Slippery When Wet (1986) 28 million
  • Spice Girls: Spice (1996) 28 million
  • Grease Soundtrack: (1978) 28 million
  • Norah Jones: Come Away with Me (2002) 26 million
  • Adele: 21 (2011) 25 million
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers: Legend: The Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers (1984) 25 million
  • Carole King: Tapestry (1971) 25 million
  • George Michael: Faith (1987) 25 million
  • Journey: Greatest Hits (1988) 25 million
  • Madonna: True Blue (1986) 25 million
  • Mariah Carey: Daydream (1995) 25 million
  • Queen: Greatest Hits (1981) 25 million
  • Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge over Troubled Water (1970) 25 million
  • U2: The Joshua Tree (1987) 25 million
  • Whitney Houston: Whitney Houston (1985) 25 million
  • Whitney Houston: Whitney (1987) 25 million
  • Kenny Rogers: Greatest Hits (1980) 24 million
  • Linkin Park: Hybrid Theory (2000) 24 million
  • Ace of Base: The Sign (1993) 23 million
  • TLC: CrazySexyCool (1994) 23 million
  • Oasis: (What's the Story) Morning Glory? (1995) 22 million
  • Bon Jovi: Cross Road (1994) 21 million
  • Madonna: Like a Virgin (1984) 21 million
  • Andrea Bocelli: Romanza (1997) 20 million
  • Barbra Streisand: Guilty (1980) 20 million
  • Blondie: Parallel Lines (1978) 20 million
  • Boston: Boston (1976) 20 million
  • Britney Spears: Oops!… I Did It Again (2000) 20 million
  • Def Leppard: Hysteria (1987) 20 million
  • Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP (2000) 20 million
  • Eric Clapton: Unplugged (1992) 20 million
  • Lionel Richie: Can't Slow Down (1983) 20 million
  • Michael Jackson: HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I (1995) 20 million
  • Michael Jackson: Off the Wall (1979) 20 million
  • Phil Collins: No Jacket Required (1985) 20 million
  • Prince & The Revolution: Purple Rain (1984) 20 million
  • Shania Twain: The Woman in Me (1995) 20 million
  • Supertramp: Breakfast in America (1979) 20 million
  • Tina Turner: Private Dancer (1984) 20 million
  • Usher: Confessions (2004) 20 million
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Articles Written by Brian Warner
Prior to launching Celebrity Net Worth, Brian spent seven years as the Managing Editor of one of the largest entertainment portals on the internet. Before that, Brian attended Georgetown University where he double majored in finance and marketing. A native of Northern California, Brian currently resides in Los Angeles. Follow him on Google+.
More Information
Nicknames
King of Pop
The King of Pop
Michael Joseph Jackson
MJ
The Gloved One
John Jay Smith
Wacko Jacko
Applehead
Smelly
Jacko
Ethnicity
African American
Date of Birth
1958-08-29
Nationality
United States of America
Height
5 ft 8 in (1.75 m)
Profession
Country
United States of America
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