Nothing beats the nostalgia that comes with listening to a good song. But a lot of hard work goes into composing and producing an outstanding music record. Hence, creating a bestselling album is no easy feat. However, there are a few select musicians who have sold an astounding number of music records in the course of their careers. Here are albums that have sold millions of copies and continue to be popular decades after they were released.
20. Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd – 15 Million Copies
Pink Floyd, a revered band from the 1970s, consisted of members Syd Barrett, Roger Waters, Richard Wright, and Nick Mason. I Wish You Were Here is the ninth studio album by the group and was released in September 1975. They recorded it during a time of emotional turmoil within the band, as founder Syd Barrett had left Pink Floyd due to his mental health deteriorating. Despite this, I Wish You Were Here is often cited as one of the greatest albums. According to Loudersound, the album has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and features the popular tracks "Shine On You Crazy Diamond," "Have a Cigar," and "Wish You Were Here."
19. Can't Slow by Lionel Richie-20 Million Copies
Lionel Richie is a musician, singer, and songwriter who first found fame as a member of the Commodores. While still in the band, Lionel and his fellow musician had great success in 1970. Some of their well-known songs are "Easy," "Three Times a Lady," and "Still." According to Latimes, Richie decided to leave the band and try his luck as a solo artist. And in 1983, he released Can't Slow Down. The album has sold more than 20 million copies worldwide and features hits like "All Night Long (All Night)," "Hello," and "Penny Lover." James Anthony Carmichael and Lionel Richie produced the album. And it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1984.
18. Millennium by Backstreet Boys -24 Million Copies
Backstreet Boys is a boy band that came together in 1993. Although relatively unknown at the time, this group of musicians was tremendously talented. A few years later, their efforts would thrust them into stardom. In 1999, they released their album Millennium. The album has sold more than 24 million copies worldwide and features hits like "I Want It That Way," "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely," and "Larger Than Life." Max Martin and Kristian Lundin produced the album. And it has been certified Diamond by the RIAA.
17. Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park- 25 Million Copies
In 1996 a group of young men in Agoura Hills, California, would join forces to form the rock band, Linkin Park. In 2000, they released their debut album, Hybrid Theory. And their lead singer at the time was no other but Chester Bennington. The album has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and features hits like "In the End," "One Step Closer," and "Crawling." Don Gilmore and Linkin Park produced the album. And it has been certified Diamond by the RIAA.
16. The Eminem Show by Eminem-27 Million Copies
Eminem took over the hip-hop scene with his lyrical ability and incredible delivery in the late 1990s. In 2002, he released his album The Eminem Show. The album has sold more than 27 million copies worldwide and features hits like "Without Me," "Cleanin' Out My Closet," and "Till I Collapse." Dr Dre and Eminem produced the album. And it won the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album in 2003. Eminem would release more hits, making them one of the most respected and successful rappers.
15. Baby One More Time by Britney Spears -27 million Copies
Most musicians struggled to strike gold during their early years. However, the case of Britney Spears was different. In 1999, at the tender age of 17, she released her debut album Baby One More Time. The album has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide and features hits like "Hit Me Baby One More Time," "Sometimes," and "(You Drive Me) Crazy." Max Martin and Rami Yacoub produced the album. And it has been certified Diamond by the RIAA.
14. Let's Talk About Love by Celine Dion -28 Million Copies
Celine Dione started singing in the early 1980s, but her breakthrough came in the early 1990s. In 1997, she released her album Let's Talk About Love. The album has sold more than 28 million copies worldwide and features hits like "My Heart Will Go On," "Think Twice," and "The Power of Love." Walter Afanasieff and David Foster produced the album. And it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1998. Her song "My Heart Will Go On" from the album also became the soundtrack of the film Titanic.
13. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John- 30 Million Copies
Also known as the Rocket Man, Elton John is one of the most famous musicians in the world. His 1973 album Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is one of his best-selling works, with more than 30 million copies sold worldwide. The album features hits like "Bennie and the Jets," "Candle in the Wind," and "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting." Phil Spector produced the album, which he recorded in just three weeks.
12. Appetite For Destruction by Guns N'Roses- 30 Million Copies
Rose and Stradlin first hit the airwaves as a band in 1985. In 1987, the band released their debut album, Appetite for Destruction, two years later. The album has become one of the bestselling albums of all time, with more than 30 million copies sold worldwide. It features hits like "Welcome to the Jungle," "Paradise City," and "Sweet Child o' Mine." Mike Clink produced the album and has been certified Diamond by the RIAA.
11. 21 by Adele -31 Million Copies
According to Pagesix, Adele's motivation behind the music Album 21 resulted from heartbreak. The album, which she released in 2011, is her second studio album. It features Adele's unique voice that pulls at your heartstrings and has a more mature sound than her previous work. Since its release, the album has sold over 31 million copies worldwide and has produced hit singles such as "Someone like You" and "Rolling in the Deep." The album has won numerous awards, including six Grammy Awards and three Brit Awards.
10. Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II by Billy Joel-32 Million Copies
Billy Joel is one of the most famous American musicians of all time. He has released some successful albums, but his 1985 greatest hits album is one of his best-selling works. The album, which features hits like "Piano Man," "Uptown Girl," and "We Didn't Start the Fire," has sold more than 32 million copies worldwide. The album also had a couple of chart-topping hit singles. These included "The Longest Time" and "Tell Her About It," reaching the top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
9. Come On Over by Shania Twain -30 Million Copies
Shania Twain is one of the greatest Canadian country pop singers of all time. Her third studio album, Come On Over, was released in 1997 and quickly became a global phenomenon. The album sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, making it the bestselling album by a female artist. Come On Over features hits like "That Don't Impress Me Much," "Man! I Feel Like a Woman! " and "You're Still the One."
8. Led Zeppelin IV by Led Zeppelin- 37 Million
Led Zeppelin was a well-respected rock band before the release of their fourth album in 1971, but this record made them a global phenomenon. The album, commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV, features some of the band's most famous songs, including "Stairway to Heaven," "Black Dog," and "Rock and Roll." The album has sold over 23 million copies in the United States alone and is one of the bestselling albums of all time. But worldwide, it sold over 37 million copies.
7. Rumours by Fleetwood Mac- 40 Million Copies
In1977, Fleetwood Mac took the music industry by storm with their sensational vocals and upbeat music vibe. Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks formed the band. And their album Rumours is one of their most successful projects. It has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and features hits like "Go Your Own Way," "Dreams," and "Don't Stop." Richard Dashut and Ken Caillat produced this album. FAnd it won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1978.
6. Saturday Night Fever by Bee Gees and Various Artists-40 Million Copies
Bee Gees were the undisputed king of Disco in its early days. The group's 1977 album Saturday Night Fever was one of the earliest and most popular disco albums. The album, which is the soundtrack to the film of the same name, has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. The album features hits like "Stayin' Alive," "How Deep Is Your Love?," and "More Than a Woman." They worked with some other artists on this masterpiece. These were the likes of Yvonne Elliman, Tavares, and Frankie Valli.
4. The Bodyguard by Whitney Houston and Various Artists-40 Million Copies
Whitney Houston was such a musical powerhouse. The soundtrack to The Bodyguard, which featured Houston's hit song "I Will Always Love You," was released in 1992 and quickly became a global phenomenon. The album has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide, making it one of the bestselling albums of all time. It features other artists such as Kenny G, Steve Winwood, and Gloria Estefan. And had several number one hit singles, including "I Will Always Love You," "I'm Every Woman," and "Queen of the Night."
4. Hotel California by The Eagles -42 Million Copies
As one of the most iconic bands in rock roll, The Eagles have shown immense consistency throughout their long music career. Hotel California is one of their best works, and it debuted as the number one album in 1976. The album has sold over 42 million copies worldwide and features some of the band's most popular songs like "Hotel California," "Life in the Fast Lane," and "New Kid in Town."
3. Back in Black by AC/DC's -50 Million Copies
AC/DC is one of the most famous rock bands. Their 1980 album Back in Black is not only one of their best-selling albums but also one of the bestselling albums of all time. According to Famuse, the album has sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. It featured hits like "You Shook Me All Night Long," "Hells Bells," and "Back in Black." They released this album a few months after the passing of their original lead singer, Bon Scott.
2. Their Greatest Hits by The Eagles -51 Million Copies
The Eagles are still the most prolific rock and roll band. Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner started this band in 1971. The group released their self-titled debut album in 1972, which contained the song "Take It Easy." The album was a success, but the band's second album, Desperado, made them superstars. This Greatest Hits album is one of the bestselling albums of all time, with over 51 million copies sold in the United States alone. The album contains some of the Eagles' most famous songs, including "Desperado," "Tequila Sunrise," and "Take It to the Limit."
1. Thriller by Michael Jackson -67 Million Copies
At the helm of his illustrious musical career, the legendary king of pop Michael Jackson released his sixth studio album, Thriller. The record quickly became the best-selling album of all time, with an impressive 67 million copies sold worldwide. Featuring hits like "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," Thriller cemented Jackson as a global superstar and pop culture icon. The album had several hit singles that included "The Girl is Mine," "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'," "Human Nature," "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," and of course, the title track "Thriller." Rod Temperton wrote the album, and Quincy Jones produced it. According to the Newyorker, " Thriller" and" Their Greatest Hits" have been in a fierce competition of the bestselling top spot for years. However, Thriller sold over 120 million copies but has been listed for far less due to unreliable data.
As we have seen, the 20 best-selling albums represent a wide range of musical genres and styles. They all have in common that they are the most famous musicians. These are the albums that have sold the most copies. Also, millions of people around the world have enjoyed listening to them. If you are looking for some great music to listen to, these are the albums you should check out. You will indeed find something you enjoy in this list of the best-selling albums of all time.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson