A look at the best-selling albums of all time can provide a nostalgic trip down memory lane. It’s a list that includes artists old and new, across a wide variety of genres.
There are 10 albums with a claimed 40 million copies or more in sales. Those albums include:
- Michael Jackson, Thriller (70 million copies)
- AC/DC, Back in Black (50 million copies)
- Whitney Houston and Various Artists, The Bodyguard Soundtrack (45 million copies)
- Meat Loaf, Bat out of Hell (44 million copies)
- The Eagles, Greatest Hits (44 million copies)
- Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon (44 million copies)
- The Eagles, Hotel California (42 million copies)
- Bee Gees and Various Artists, Saturday Night Fever (40 million copies)
- Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (40 million copies)
- Shania Twain, Come on Over (40 million copies)
This list from Wikipedia claims to come from all reliable sources. However, the sale of some of these albums can appear to be the stuff of legend. For example, from more unreliable sources, the numbers for the sale of Michael Jackson’s Thriller have been estimated as high as 120 million copies worldwide. For reference, there are 352 million people living in the US alone.
Some Observations About the Top 10 Best Selling Albums
The classic rock genre is heavily represented in this top 10, with AC/DC, Meat Loaf, the Eagles, Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac all taking up spots (and the Eagles have 2 in the top 10). Jackson’s Thriller sold 20 million more than its next closest competitor. The oldest album on the list is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, made in 1973. The most current album on the list is the Bodyguard soundtrack.
In case you’re wondering, the Beatles crack the list at the number 16 spot with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.