Top 10 Greatest Selling Albums in Music History

Sunday, 5 September 2010

In order to gain a spot on the list of
the Top 10 greatest selling albums in history a band needs to be
internationally recognized and extremely popular all

over they world. Here are the 10 most financially successful albums in musical history.

10. Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack - Bee Gees

Worldwide Sales - 40 Million Copies +

The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was released in November of 1977. The

record helped to revive the phenomenon of disco in the U.S. and started a

national trend. It is composed and performed primarily by The Bee Gees and

features numerous hit singles, including Stayin’ Alive, Night Fever, and How

Deep is Your Love. The record went on to win the Grammy Award for Album

of the Year. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack has become the third

highest selling soundtrack of all time.

9. Backstreet Boys - Millennium

Worldwide Sales - 40 Million Copies +

Millennium is the second studio album by The Backstreet Boys. It was released

on May 18, 1999 and was the group’s first record to be released in both the

U.S. and internationally at the same time. The album holds the U.S. record for

yearly shipments, selling 11 million units in 1999. It spawned four hit singles,

including I Want it That Way, Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely, and

Larger Than Life. Millennium set records for the most albums sold in its debut

week and also most records sold internationally in one week with 2.2 million.

It was certified platinum in over 45 different countries.

8. Andrew Lloyd Webber - The Phantom of the Opera

Worldwide Sales - 40 Million Copies +

The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the

French novel Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by Gaston Leroux. The music was

composed by Webber, with lyrics by Charles Hart and additional lyrics by

Richard Stilgoe. The musical focuses on a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé,

who becomes the obsession of a mysterious and disfigured musical

mastermind, known as The Phantom of the Opera. The show opened in

London's West End in 1986. It is the second longest running musical in

England’s West End and the longest-running Broadway musical. According to

sales numbers The Phantom of the Opera is the most successful entertainment

project in history, amassing an incredible $5 billion dollars worldwide.

7. The Bodyguard Soundtrack - Whitney Houston

Worldwide Sales - 42 Million Copies +

The Bodyguard soundtrack was released on November 17, 1992 and

featured six songs from Whitney Houston, as well as tracks from various

recording artists. Whitney Houston’s cover of I Will Always Love You was an

instant #1 single. Some other artists featured on the record include Kenny G,

Lisa Stransfield, and Joe Cocker. It became the first album to sell more than a

million copies in a single week. It also received the Grammy Award for Album

of the Year.

6. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack

Worldwide Sales - 42 Million Copies +

The Dirty Dancing soundtrack was released on August 21, 1987. The album

had many hit singles including Hungry Eyes by Eric Carmen, Be My Baby by

The Ronettes, and The Time of My Life by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes. It

spent 18 weeks on the top of U.S. charts and inspired a follow-up album

entitled More Dirty Dancing. The album still re-enters the Irish charts on

occasion. It has spent over 230 weeks in the Top 30 in Ireland.

5. Eagles - Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)

Worldwide Sales - 42 Million Copies + 

Their Greatest Hits is the fifth album by the rock band the Eagles. It includes a

compilation of singles and was released February 17, 1976. The years in the

album's title, 1971 to 1975, refer to the existence of the band itself, not the

release dates of the tracks. It includes ten classic hits, including Take it Easy,

Lyin’ Eyes, Already Gone, Desperado, and Peaceful Easy Feeling. The

Eagles music greatly influenced the genre of country-rock and paved the way

for numerous bands in the 1970’s. Their Greatest Hits has sold 29 million

copies in the United States, making it the best-selling album of all time in the


4. Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon

Worldwide Sales - 43 Million Copies +

The Dark Side of the Moon is the 6th studio album by English rock group Pink

Floyd. It was released in March of 1973. The record was an instant success

and spawned the singles, Money and Time. The refracting prism cover art is

one of the most recognizable in rock music history. Pink Floyd used some of

the most advanced recording techniques of the time, including multitrack

recording and tape loops. Analogue synthesizers were also given prominence

in many tracks. Founding member Syd Barrett had left the band in 1968, but is

credited as the author of the entire album's lyrics.

3. Meat Loaf - Bat out of Hell

Worldwide Sales - 43 Million Copies +

Bat out of Hell is the 2nd studio album released by Meat Loaf. It was dropped

on October 21, 1977. The main writer on the records production was Jim

Steinman. It was developed from a musical, Neverland, which was a sci-fi

update of Peter Pan, which Steinman wrote for a workshop performed at the

Kennedy Center Music Theatre Lab in 1977. Response to the album was

slow. Australia and England were the first to gain an enthusiastic response

after some popular music video were releases. Ultimately, the record stayed

on the United Kingdom charts for 474 weeks. It continues to sell around

200,000 units each year. The original release only had seven tracks on it,

including classics Bat out of Hell, All Revved Up with No Place to Go, and Two

out of Three Ain’t Bad.

2. AC/DC - Back in Black

Worldwide Sales - 49 Million Copies +

Back in Black is the 7th studio album by Australian hard rock band AC/DC. It

was released on July 25, 1980. Back in Black was the first AC/DC album

recorded without former lead singer Bon Scott, who had died at the age of 33.

It is the best-selling album ever released by a band and has sold 22 million

units in the U.S. alone. The album includes some of the group’s biggest hits

including Hells Bells, You Shook Me All Night Long, and the title track Back in

Black. According to lead guitarist Angus Young the album's all-black cover was

a sign of mourning for Scott. This record is widely considered the best hard

rock album ever created.

1. Michael Jackson - Thriller

Worldwide Sales - 110 Million Copies +

Thriller was Michael’s sixth studio album and was released on November 30,

1982 by Epic Records. The production budget for the record was $750,000

and Jackson wrote four of the tracks on the album. At its peak, the album was

selling a million copies a week worldwide. Seven of the album's nine songs

were released as singles, and all reached the top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The album won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984. With Michael

Jackson’s death this year Thriller has sold millions more copies around the


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