Music is a large part of our lives and has the ability to drastically improve our mood.
Through every generation we’ve listened to a new style that comes and goes, which eventually influences the next. Whatever music-era you have grown up in, we’re pretty sure we’ve all heard of some universal album everyone knows about.
The following list will distinguish the top selling albums of all time which had the ability to amass a great following. We therefore highly recommend that if you’re a music enthusiast, you should add these to your library, and see why many have reigned supreme on the sale charts for decades. If you want to up your trick with entertainment, consider wireless outdoor speakers, check out outeraudio.com to see more.
10. Millennium ft The Backstreet Boys (1999) – 40 million pieces sold
At the turn of the age, the Backstreet Boys released the ‘Millennium’ album which sold almost half a million units on the first day of its release in the United States. Recorded by Jive Records, and Produced by Max Martin and Christian London it was a massive hit being the top selling album of 1999 with 11 million copies sold in one year. It was also nominated for five Grammy Awards and has 4 top 40 hits included on the album. Millennium encompasses genres of early pop music, teen pop, rhythm and blue, and dance-pop.
9. Saturday Night Fever OST ft The Bee Gees & Others (1977) – 40 million pieces sold
Most of us, if not everyone has heard about Saturday Night Fever starring John Travolta, which included the very successful album under the same name by the Bee Gees. It is one of the bestselling albums of all time amassing 40 million units sold worldwide and certified 16x platinum. It was recorded between 1975 and 1977, and was awarded two Grammy Awards and an American Music Award for Favourite Album Soul/R&B. Saturday Night Fever was released at the height of the disco era and the album reflects the dance scene of the time.
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8. Rumours ft Fleetwood Mac (1977) – 40 million pieces sold
Rumours by British-American rock band Fleetwood Mac was their 11th studio album released in 1977 by Warner Bros Records. Having won the Grammy Award for Album of the year in 1978, Rumours sold over forty million units worldwide, and received diamond certification in several countries. The album was intended to be a ‘pop album’, but featured soft rock and pop rock characterized by highlighted rhythms and electric keyboards such as the Hammond B3 organ and the Fender Rhodes.
In 2018 the album was deemed “culturally, historically, or artistically significant” by the Library Congress having been selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry.
7. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack album by various artists (1987) – 42 million pieces sold
The Dirty Dancing soundtrack album comprises of various artists. Unlike most albums listed here there isn’t a primary artists, but many who contributed to the hug commercial success the album had. Being the original soundtrack of the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, the album went on to sell 42 million copies worldwide and spent 18 weeks at the number 1 spot on the Billboard 200 in the United States.
The album contains every song from the movie in order, and recently receieved a vinyl issue in 2017, alongside a Blu-ray remaster with 5.1 surround sound and unreleased material. The 1987 original edition featured 12 songs encompassing:
i) “I’ve Had) The Time of My Life” by Bill Medley, Jennifer Warnes
ii) “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes
iii) “She’s Like the Wind” by Patrick Swayze
iv) “Hungry Eyes” by Eric Carmen
v) “Stay” by Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs
vi) “Yes” by Merry Clayton
vii) “You Don’t Own Me” by Blow Monkeys
viii) “Hey! Baby” by Bruce Channel
ix) “Overload” by Alfie Zappacosta
x) “Love Is Strange” by Mickey & Sylvia
xi) “Where Are You Tonight?” by Tom Johnston
xii) “In the Still of the Night” by The Five Satins
6. Their Greatest Hits 1971 to 1975 ft the Eagles (1976) – 42 million pieces sold
Their Greatest Hits is a compilation album by the Eagles containing a selection of their songs from their first four albums released during 1971 to 1975. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 and has spent a total of 239 weeks on the chart as of August 2018.
Their Greatest Hits stays true to the eagles soft rock and rock sounds, which accumulated 42 million copies sold as of 2011, making it the bestselling ‘greatest-hits album’, and also one of the five best-selling albums of all time. “One of These Nights” and “Best of My Love” both topped the Billboard Hot 100 with an album of 10 songs only.
5. Bat Out of Hell ft Meat Loaf (1977) – 43 million pieces sold
Bat Out of Hell was the debut album by American rock singer Meat Loaf released on October 21, 1977 on behalf of Cleveland International and Epic Records. Bat Out of Hell musical style is influenced by composer Jim Steinman’s appreciation of Bruce Springsteen, Phil Spector, The Who and Richard Wagner. It is one of the bestselling albums of all time having sold 43 million units worldwide and being certified 14x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America. Bat Out of Hell was ranked 343 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time remaining classic rock staples.
As of June 2019, the album has spent 522 weeks in the UK Album Chart, making it the second longest chart run by a studio album. In later years, Bat Out of Hell spawned two sequel albums: ‘Back into Hell and The Monster Is Loose.’
4. Dark Side of the Moon ft Pink Floyd (1973) – 43 million pieces sold
The Dark Side of the Moon displays an album cover that is almost universal to everyone. If you don’t know the name Pink Floyd, you’re bound to recognise the triangle and rainbow spectrum. The Dark Side of the Moon is the eighth studio album by English rock band Pink Floyd and was released in 1973 by Harvest Records. The album builds on Pink Floyd’s earlier recordings and has themes of greed, death, conflict, time and mental illness.
Interestingly the group used techniques such as tape loops, multitrack recordings and analogue synthesisers while recording. Having received critical acclaim upon release, it has been hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time. The album reached number one on the Billboard 200 and has charted for over 900 weeks. Dark Side of the Moon propelled Pink Floyd into international fame, bringing recognition and wealth to all four of the bandmates.
3. The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album by Whitney Houston and various artists (1992) – 45 million pieces sold
The Bodyguard soundtrack album, which also featured in the film under the same name was released in 1992 by Arista Records. In its original LP and cassettes formats, the first side of the album featured songs recorded by Whitney Houston who also starred in the film, while the other side featured work from various artists. Selling 45 million copies worldwide the Bodyguard is the bestselling soundtrack album of all time, and was the first album verified by the Nielsen SoundScan computerized sales system to have sold more than 1 million units within a week.
The album also went on to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year and was certified 18x platinum making it the 15th bestselling album in the United States. Featuring classics such as “I will always love you”, the Bodyguard is a must have for 1990s era music.
2. Back in Black ft AC/DC (1980) – 49 million pieces sold
Back in Black was released in 1980 by Atlantic Records and is the seventh studio album by Australian rock band AC/DC. It was also the band’s first album to feature Brian Johnson, following the death of their previous vocalist Bon Scott. After their commercial breakthrough 1979 album ‘Highway to Hell’, much was expected from their new released Back in Black.
Composed by Malcom Young and Johnson Angus over seven weeks, with producer Robert Lange who had worked on their previous album, Back in Black was a success having sold an estimated 50 million copies worldwide. It was therefore the second bestselling album of all time and on the 9th of December 2019, the album was certified 25x Platinum.
1. Thriller ft Michael Jackson (1982) – 110 million pieces sold
We couldn’t make this list without mentioning the king of pop. Michael Jacksons ‘Thriller’ “every song was a killer” album reached number one on the Billboard 200. Seven singles reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, setting a record for the most top 10 singles from an album. Thriller also featured only a single guest appearance being Paul McCartney becoming the first artist to ever feature on a Jackson album.
The Album explored genres of pop, rock, funk and post-disco. Thriller is the bestselling album of all time with sales of approximately 110 units and was the first album to reach 30x platinum or 3 x diamond. The album also won eight Grammy Awards including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for “Beat it.” Rolling stone wrote, “It’s hard to imagine the present-day musical landscape without Thriller, which changed the game both sonically and marketwise.”