In the age of streaming and iTunes, it is very difficult to determine which are the best-selling albums in history. However, if we leave aside all the dizzying numbers of downloads and visits on YouTube, we can know which are the albums or compilations that have sold the most in physical format , mainly vinyl records and CDs.
- More music: The 30 best songs of the 80s (in English and Spanish).
The 20 best-selling albums in physical format
For these works no presentation is necessary. How many of these best-selling albums represent the soundtrack of your life?
20. Elton John – Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
It took seven albums for the British Elton John to gain a foothold among the most successful artists of all time. It was released as a double LP, so we can enjoy 76 minutes of good glam rock .
The British composer has sold about 30 million copies of this album.
19. Celine Dion – Falling Into You (1996)
Celine Dion’s best-selling album, perhaps for singles like Because you loved me or It’s all coming back to me now.Ballads that will go down in history and that never go out of style.
30 million copies sold place it on this list.
18. Mariah Carey – Music Box (1993)
Music Box is the leap into the pop world of this enormous vocalist . However, it also includes influences from jazz or soul, in short, from its musical origins. Dreamlover or Hero were the singles that most pleased the public and critics.
Mariah’s first job to exceed 30 million cups sold .
17. Michael Jackson – Dangerous (1991)
After albums like Bad or Thriller that had revolutionized the music scene, Michael Jacksonagain occupied the sales charts, this time without Quincy Jones as producer . From there, Jackson focuses on the rhythm while creating catchy melodies, such as Black or White or Heal the world.
Another Michael album that exceeds 30 million copies . Can you imagine who could be the first
16. Various artists – Dirty Dancing (1987)
Compilation of the homonymous movie that includes the great success, (I’ve had) The time of my life , main theme of the film performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warrens. In 2007, a special edition was published in commemoration of the 20th anniversary.
A soundtrack that has managed to reach the figure of 32 million copies sold.
15. Eagles – Hotel California (1976)
Beyond the song that names the album, a hymn covered billions of times, Hotel California is the American debut . I arrive being them an already consolidated band.
Enter the category of albums with more than 32 million copies sold .
14. The Beatles – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
It is not only among the best-selling albums but also among the most influential in music history. Perhaps it is the most recognized album of the British with songs like With a Little Help from My Friends or Lucy in the sky with Diamonds.
Have been sold32 million copies of this mythical album .
13. Alanis Morissete – Jagged Little Pill (1995)
Alanis Morissete is one of those singers recognized for her charisma and energy, in addition to bringing to light hits like Perfect or Ironic, generational anthems that never go out of style .
The artist has managed to sell some 33 million copies of the album .
12. Pink Floyd – The Wall (1979)
You may only know the single Another brick on the wall, but the song is included in a conceptual double album that traces the trajectory of a fictional rock star , inspired by the life of Roger himself. Waters.
A classic of which some 33 million records have been distributed.
11. Meat Loaf – Bat Out of Hell (1977)
With the number of rock media bands that have existed, it is surprising that Meat Loaf sneaks into this list, but if we listen to this album of just over 45 minutes , we will understand the reason for its success.
This great album has been sold more than 34 million times .
10. Led Zeppelin – IV (1971)
With songs like Stairway to Heaven or The Battle of Evermore it is impossible not to surrender to this rock classic. The critics expected a harsher sound , so the reception was not as expected. History has ended up proving the band right.
37 million records sold throughout history.
9. Shania Twain – Come on Over (1997)
The only country album that is among the best -selling albums of all time. The two songs that played the most on the radio (and continue to play) are Man i feel like a woman and That don’t impress me much.
Shania Twain can boast of having sold some 39 million copies .
8. Andrew Lloyd Webber – The Phantom of the Opera (1986)
Soundtrack of a Broadway show premiered in 1986, based on a novel by Frenchman Gaston Leroux. We are talking about the most successful musical of all time . Surely you know the first bars of its main theme.
Sales of this album have been estimated at about 40 million .
7. Bee Gees and other artists – Saturday Night Fever (1977)
The most remembered song from this movie musical starring John Travolta is Stayin’ Alive, a hit by the Bee Gees that accompanied other songs by Yvonne Elliman or Kool & The Gang.
In total, about 40 million copies sold .
- More soundtracks: The 10 best movie soundtracks of all time.
6. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (1977)
Another great album from the 70s, a prodigious decade for the world of music. The catchiest singles were Go Your Own Way, You Make Loving Fun and Don’t Stop. Praised thanks to the production quality and the harmonies of its 3 vocalists .
It has more than 40 million copies sold .
5. Eagles – Their Greatest Hits (1976)
The only compilation of greatest hits that sneaks into the list of best-selling records and albums, thanks to excellent distribution and promotion work by the label. It includes his best-known songs, such as Take it Easy or Tequila Sunrise (his success Hotel California is later).
The Eagles CompilationIt has been sold some 42 million times .
4. Whitney Houston and other artists – The Bodyguard (1992)
One of the most prodigious voices of all time, as is clear in her interpretation of I Will Always Love You, the most recognized theme of the movie The Bodyguard . Artists of the stature of Kenny G. or Lisa Stansfield also participate in the soundtrack.
This piece of soundtrack ranks fourth with more than 42 million copies .
3. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
Many believe that Pink Floyd’s best-selling album is The Wall (and many others confuse the covers of these two albums), but The Dark Side of the Moon opens the podium of best sellers.42 minutes of magic in the form of progressive rock including hits like Money or Us and Them.
Pink Floyd has distributed, in total, more than 42 million copies of this album.
2. AC/DC – Back in Black (1980)
The best rock album of all time despite whoever weighs it, and that is that 45 million people can’t be wrong. Brian Johnson’s first album after the tragic death of vocalist Bon Scott , with hits like You sock me all night long or Back in black. It is because of this album and many others that rock will never die.
This great album by the Australian band has sold between 45 and 50 million copies .
1. Michael Jackson-Thriller (1982)
The best-selling album in history could not be other than the mythical Thriller by Michael Jackson, who even after his death continues with the label of “King of Pop”.
Thriller is not only an excellent music album that includes anthological songs like Billie Jean, Beat It or Thriller, but a mass phenomenon that continues to this day . An album that changed music forever. Who does not remember the video clip of the song that gives the album its name? It
tops the list with 50 million copies sold . A real madness.
The 30 million club
Many albums have been left on the verge of entering this list, although they are worthy of mention. This is the case of some best sellers like Nirvana’s Nevermind (my favourite), Madonna’s The Immaculate Collection or the debut of the Backstreet Boys, the most important boy band of all time.
- You can also read: The 20 best rock bands in history.