Top 10 Best-selling Albums of All Time

The difference between merely liking a song by a certain artist and being a fan of the artist itself can be best depicted in the popularity of music albums. The greatest music artists all sold millions of albums to their millions of fans worldwide. Even nowadays, where music streaming made it possible for listeners to pick certain songs instead of downloading whole albums, they still remain popular. That being said, the best-selling Top 10 albums in history do not feature any albums from the 21st Century. One of the greatest 20th Century artists, on the other hand, managed to be listed even twice in the Top 10 ranking.

Note: For the all-time Top 10 best-selling songs ranking, click here.

The Top 10 Best-selling Albums in History


1. “Thriller”

michael jackson thriller best-selling album in history

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album is the best-selling album in music history. Jackson, who is also the second best-selling solo music artist of all time, has sold around 67 million copies of the hit album. “Thriller” was released in 1982 and it was Michael Jackson’s sixth album in total. The album produced a total of seven singles, including hits like “Thriller” (the single), “Beat It”, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin” and “Billie Jean”, which became Jackson’s best-selling single altogether.


2. “Black in Black”

2nd of the top 10 albums by record sales

“Back in Black” is the second best-selling album of all time. It was the seventh album by the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. The album, released in July 1980, sold around 51 million times globally. The album marked the first one after the tragic death of the band’s lead vocalist Ronald Scott (known as “Bon Scott”), who drank himself to death, dying at only 33 years of alcohol poisoning in February 1980. Scott was replaced by Brian Johnson, who joined the band in April of the same year as the new lead vocalist. Back in Black was recorded in only 2 months and was meant as a homage to Scott.


3. “The Dark Side of the Moon”

dark side of the moon cover - top 10 alumbs 3rd

Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” comes third among the best-selling albums in history. It was the English rock band’s eight album in total and by far their most successful one. It sold around 46 million times all around the world. The album is not only known for its music, but also for its iconic cover. The somewhat mysterious artwork cover still belongs to the best known album covers in the world. Not the only reason The Dark Side of the Moon is now the oldest album still in the best-selling Top 10 albums of all time.


4. “The Bodyguard”

best-selling soundtrack album in the world

The official soundtrack album to the 1992 movie “The Bodyguard” is the fourth best-selling album in history. This makes the album also the most successful soundtrack album ever. It sold around 45 million copies worldwide, The album mainly features American singer Whitney Houston, who also played a leading role in the movie. But some other artists such as English singers Joe Cocker or Lisa Stansfield, also contributed to the album. The album is, however, best known for the hit single “I Will Always Love You”. A song originally written by American country singer Dolly Parton, which sung by Whitney Houston became one of the most popular songs in history.


5. “Bad”

top 5 music album

There he is again. Michael Jackson a.k.a. “The King of Pop” is the only artist who has made two albums that still belong to the best-selling Top 10 albums in history. In fact, Jackson’s “Bad” album even made the Top 5 with more than 44 million copies sold worldwide. The album was released in 1987 as the long-awaited seventh album of Michael Jackson, directly following Thriller. Jackson took approximately 3 and a half years to record the Bad album.


6. “Bat Out of Hell”


7. “Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975)”


8. “Come on Over”


9. “Saturday Night Fever”

saturday night fever - top albums in the world


10. “Rumours”


The Top 10 Best-selling Albums in History
(at a glance)

(as of January 2020)

Top 10 Best-Selling Albums of All Time:
1. “THRILLER”
by Michael Jackson
~ 67.0 million copies sold
2. “BACK IN BLACK”
by AC/DC
~ 51.2 million copies sold
3. “THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON”
by Pink Floyd
~ 46.1 million copies sold
4. “THE BODYGUARD”
by Whitney Houston (featuring various other artists)
~ 45.3 million copies sold
5. “BAD”
by Michael Jackson
~ 44.4 million copies sold
6. “BAT OUT OF HELL”
by Meat Loaf
~ 43.0 million copies sold
7. “THEIR GREATEST HITS (1971-1975)”
by Eagles
~ 42.4 million copies sold
8. “COME ON OVER”
by Shania Twain
~ 41.1 million copies sold
9. “SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER”
by Bee Gees (featuring various other artists)
~ 40.3 million copies sold
10. “RUMOURS”
by Fleetwood Mac
~ 40.1 million copies sold

The 10 Best-selling albums in music history by worldwide sales.

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