Sep 29, 2020
Here are the 10 best-selling albums of all time, works that have made more than one generation thrill, dance and fall in love with.
1) Thriller – Michael Jackson (1982, 66 million)
Thriller is Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album, released in late 1982. It has sold 66 million copies. Seven hits were extracted from this album, from Billie Jean to Beat It, up to the homonymous Thriller.
Billie Jean is the most famous song of Jackson’s career. Even the videos that accompany the songs on the disc are works of art capable of changing the concept of video clips known until then. Part of the album’s success is also due to the performance at Motown’s 25th anniversary, where Michael Jackson launched the moonwalk, the crazy backward-walking dance. Artists such as Paul McCartney, Toto and Eddie Van Halen collaborated on the disc.
2) Back in Black – Ac / Dc (1980, 52 million)
This is the seventh album by Ac / Dc, a historic heavy metal band. The record has sold over 52 million copies worldwide. Released on July 25, 1980, Back in Black is the first Ac / Dc album recorded without Bon Scott, the vocalist who died suddenly on February 19, 1980 at the age of 33 and was replaced by Brian Johnson.
The album is dedicated to Scott’s memory: it begins with the tolling of a death knell, on which the band plays the first piece of the album (Hells Bells). The record also contains other famous songs by Ac / Dc: Shoot to Thrill, You Shook Me All Night Long, and the title track Back in Black, with a granite riff.
3) The Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd (1973, 50 million)
A true masterpiece. (The) Dark Side of the Moon is a concept album, the eighth studio album by the British musical group Pink Floyd, released in 1973 and sold in approximately 50 million copies. The work, considered one of the best albums of all time, was born after numerous musical experiments that the group studied during various live shows and recordings.
Pink Floyd used multitrack recording and loops and on many tracks also analog synthesizers and, in the background, a series of interviews with the band and the technical staff in the form of philosophical aphorisms.
4) Bat Out of Hell – Meat Loaf (1977, 43 million)
Bat Out of Hell is the title of the second album released in 1977 by the Meat Loaf hard rock band. It was composed by Jim Steinman and produced by Todd Rundgren. The style of the opera is influenced by Steinman’s musical influences, that is sound themes taken up by Wagner but also by Phil Spector and Bruce Springsteen.
Steinman produced a sequel in 1993 called Bat Out of Hell II: Back into Hell, which includes the hit single I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That). The album was not an immediate success: sales grew little by little over time. Bat Out of Hell still sells around 200,000 copies a year and is estimated to have sold around 43 million copies worldwide.
5) Millennium – Backstreet Boys (1999, 40 million)
Millennium is the most important album of the American boyband. Preceded by the single I Want It That Way, the Backstreet Boys’ record immediately entered the Billboard 200 at number 1, where it remained for 10 consecutive weeks. It sold 1,134,000 copies in the usual first week. The pop album has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide.
6) Bad – Michael Jackson (1987, 40 million)
Bad is Michael Jackson’s seventh album released in 1987, the latest produced in collaboration with Quincy Jones. It sold around 40 million copies. With this record the singer set a new record with 5 singles topped the Billboard Hot 100: I Just Can’t Stop Loving You, Bad, The Way You Make Me Feel, Man in the Mirror and Dirty Diana. In Bad Jackson he collaborated with great artists such as Stevie Wonder (Just Good Friends) and with the great director Martin Scorsese for the video for the single Bad.
7) Come on Over – Shania Twain (1997, 39 million)
Come on Over is the third studio album by Canadian singer Shania Twain, released in 1997. The record has achieved many records: it is the best-selling album by a female singer and it is the best-selling country record in the history of music. Although the album failed to make it to # 1 in America, it remained in the Top 100 for 151 weeks, being certified 20 platinum in the US and selling 39 million copies worldwide.
Among the most famous songs, the hits Man! I feel like a Woman and That don’t impress me much, as well as You’ve got a way, the soundtrack of the film Notting Hill.
Come on Over is an alternation between soft music, love songs, aggressive ballads, powerful and rhythmic pieces.
8) Led Zeppelin IV – Led Zeppelin (1971, 37 million)
The fourth Led Zeppelin album, released on November 8, 1971, sold over 37 million copies. The disc has no official title. The cover is still considered today one of the most sophisticated ever created by the group: to explain the idea of the natural circle of life (with the past representing the lost days and the vision of a destructive present), the band imposed very specific images . The detail of a time-worn wall with wallpaper falling apart was chosen: in the foreground, an old frame with a photograph of a farmer bent under the weight of a large bundle of wood.
The most important track on the album is Stairway to Heaven, a piece that includes all the elements of the style of Led Zeppelin, seamlessly combining acoustic and romantic parts with hard rock passages, with a spectacular ending, on drums, by John Bonham.
9) Appetite for Destruction – Guns N ‘Roses (1987, 36 million)
Appetite for Destruction is the first studio album of the US rock band, released on July 21, 1987. It is considered one of the most important albums in rock history and one of the best-selling albums of all time with 36 million copies. Guns N ‘Roses decided to record their parts separately, with Slash playing mostly in the afternoons and evenings, and Axl Rose singing late into the night.
Some of the songs on the album reflect the group’s reaction to the debauchery of life in the slums of Los Angeles, such as Welcome to the Jungle, the lyrics of which were written by Rose after she met a bum near the Manhattan highways in 1980, shortly thereafter. the arrival from Indiana.
10) Daydream – Mariah Carey (1995, 35 million copies)
This is Mariah Carey’s fifth studio album, released in 1995.
A contemporary hip hop and r & b inspired record that is definitely different from the American star’s previous works. With Daydream the singer begins her musical and vocal transformation, a change that became more evident in 1997 with Butterfly. Even the lyrics of his 12 songs (above all those of One Sweet Day and Fantasy) are more mature and have been praised several times by critics. The album was successful around the world, debuting at number one in more than eight different countries, and in the top 5 in almost every market. Aside from US success, Daydream became the third best-selling album in Japan by a non-Asian artist, with over 2.1 million copies sold. In total, it has sold over 35 million copies.
Fun fact: aren’t the Beatles and Queen in the top 10?
How is it possible that the Fab Four of Liverpool are not in the top 10 of the best-selling albums in the history of music? The answer is very simple: the Beatles are actually one of the bands that have sold the most copies of records ever (183 million albums), but each work by John Lennon and associates, taken individually, does not fall into the top ten positions more successful.
It is also curious to discover that even Queen are not part of this ranking, despite having released 40 albums and sold, overall, even 300 million copies.
A clarification: this ranking does not include compilations, greatest hits, collections and original soundtracks. Among the best-selling albums of all time, in fact, there are also: Various artists / Whitney Houston The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album (1995), 43 million copies sold; The Eagles Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) 43 million; Various Artists Dirty Dancing (1987) 42 million; Various Artists / Bee Gees Saturday Night Fever (1977) 41 million.