Any number of worldwide sales figures is an estimate, as there's really no way to know how many copies of Thriller were bought in Ghana in the '80s. And this being the record industry, figures were often inflated for promotional purposes. Based on a consensus of industry sources, including Billboard's sales figures, here is our list of the world's top selling albums as of October, 2010.
10. Come On Over - Shania Twain (1997)
With help from her then-husband Mutt Lange, Shania crossed over to the pop world with the best selling country music album of all time.
9. Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack (1997)
The original soundtrack of the movie Saturday Night Fever, starring the former Sweathog John Travolta, was written by The Bee Gees, whose falsetto vocals helped them rule the disco landscape. The movie is an excellent coming of age story dressed in polyester.
8. Millenium - Backstreet Boys (1999)
The only Boy Band on this list, the Backstreet Boys might be the last artist to ever make the all-time top 10. Once the real millenium got going, digital song downloads started biting into album sales, making it a lot harder to sell a full-length LP.
7. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack (1987)
Starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, this endearing movie was a massive box office success, helping the soundtrack spend 18 weeks on top of the US album charts. We talked to one of the guys who wrote this stuff - get more Dirty Dancing Indulgence.
6. Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) - Eagles (1976)
For a while, this was the best selling album of all time in the United States, where it had amassed about 3/4 of its sales. It benefited from those record clubs that would let you pick a bunch of albums for a penny, as it was a very popular selection.
5. Bat Out Of Hell - Meat Loaf (1977)
With songs written by the brilliant Jim Steinman, Bat Out Of Hell is what it's like to be young and restless and occasionally in love. The album spawned 2 sequels and has sold at least 200,000 copies each year since its release in 1977.
4. The Bodyguard Soundtrack (1992)
Thanks to a soaring rendition of a Dolly Parton song performed by Whitney Houston in her prime, this mediocre movie starring Kevin Costner as Whitney's protector remains the best selling soundtrack of all time.
3. Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd (1973)
Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon is the best selling album by an English band! The album has the record of longevity in the famous Billboard charts, where it found a cozy home in the Top 200 for 741 weeks from 1973 to 1988.
2. Back In Black - AC/DC (1980)
A tribute to their fallen lead singer Bon Scott, AC/DC's 7th studio album was a raging success with global appeal. The group didn't need a reality show to find their next lead singer Brian Johnson, who has filled in beyond expectations. They didn't need no stinking ballads either.
1. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
Yeah, it's not even close. Out of the 9 songs on the album, 7 are available as singles and every one of them was a US Top-10 hit. The album set a new record when it earned 8 Grammy Awards in 1984.
Thanks to Bertrand - Paris, France for putting this together.