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Best Selling Albums Worldwide
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)Come On Over
39 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

9. Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack (1997)SN Fever
40 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

8. Millenium - Backstreet Boys (1999)Millenium
40 Million

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.

Key Track:

7. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack (1987)Dirty Dancing
42 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

6. Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) - Eagles (1976)The Eagles
42 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

5. Bat Out Of Hell - Meat Loaf (1977)Meat Loaf
43 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

4. The Bodyguard Soundtrack (1992)The Bodyguard
44 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

3. Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd (1973)Dark Side
45 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

2. Back In Black - AC/DC (1980)Back In Black
50 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

1. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)Thriller
100 Million

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.

Key Tracks:

Thanks to Bertrand - Paris, France for putting this together.

Comments: 29

pages [ 01 ] 02 03 >

so what about songs that are most requested, or most played by radio (remember radio?) like Stairway To Heaven, is it possible some albums had less sales because we heard the songs more without the need to buy them? Maybe that would be a good article to research.
-Bill from pensacola, FL

As I am by no means an expert or audiophile , I can't argue with the ratings . BUT most of these albums are junk! I agree with the Fleetwood Mac response and I could list numerous albums which SHOULD have sold more than any of these. Many that were more artistic and mature , with true poets and lyricists could have replaced these, but most listeners are never going to grow
-Joseph Christopher from Dallas ,Texas

It's hard to wrap your brain around how big a record Thriller was. These days a record selling 150-200,000 records a week is considered good. Back in the day, Thriller at it's peak sold a million copies a week. And it was everywhere. It was on MTV, the radio and everyone had a copy of the album. I was a teenager when Thriller came out and it still blows my mind how big it was back then.

Actually The Bodyguard does not "remain the best selling soundtrack of all time", in fact it never was. Saturday Night Fever takes that crown. It has sold 47 million copies. The bee Gees themselves announced that figure back in 2000 and it's got to be even higher since then. Most of these lists are jokes...and where is the Beatles Sgt Pepper album? See what I mean. And Dirty Dancing isn't even in the bestselling lists, period.
-Jamie from Newcastle, UK

I want to know where does Appetite for Destruction fits on this list.
-Jordan from San José, Costa Rica

Thriller sits at 110 million now. Dangerous from Michael Jackson has 40 million worldwide and Bad from MJ has 33 million. :)

Growing up in the 70's and 80's I agree with many of the comments posted. I also agree with many who made the list. I just can't understand how Fleetwood Mac's Rumors didn't make it. The album sells to date are through the roof and the record is pure magic. Being a true FM fan I also love the Dance, the live album recorded in 1996 I think, that accompanied the fantastic DVD. So we all have our Favs, and we will all agree and disagree, lets just get over it.
-Kelly from Hendersonville, TN

I have nothing against The Backstreet Boys but even if every teenage girl bought an album when it came out, I don't see how it sold that many. (And they don't have the gay following many people believe.) I think I'd better buy a copy of Carol King's "Tapestry" right now. (P.S. Jeff from TX: excellent comment. I was thinking the same thing; some people must check their brains at the door before going online.)
-Xav from Chicago, IL

hey what about gnr's appetite for destruction
-josie from ohio

woot...I always thought metallica´s black album already sold more copies than micheal jackson´s thriller. Someone is terribly wrong.

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