The 15 Best-Selling Records of All Time

Is your favorite on the list?

Profile picture of SiriusXM Editor
SiriusXM Editor
August 14, 2023

Vinyl is in.

With the help of superstars like Taylor Swift, Harry Styles, and Olivia Rodrigo releasing highly collectible and coveted vinyl records, the format is more popular than it has been in decades. Vinyl record sales even overtook CD sales this year for the first time since 1987.

And it’s not just new artists fueling the resurgence. Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, and The Beatles were three of the biggest vinyl sellers of 2022. We’re talking new pressings sold, not resales! Evidently, the demand for the classics is still there.

Let’s look back at some of the biggest and best-selling records of all time. Did your favorite make the list?

Listen to all the great classic rock of the ’60s and ’70s on Classic Vinyl (Ch. 26)

15. Whitney Houston — The Bodyguard: Original Soundtrack Album (18 million)

Not only is this the most successful soundtrack album ever, but it also spawned one of the most iconic songs of all time: Whitney Houston’s incredible cover of “I Will Always Love You.” Though it debuted at No. 2, it hit No. 1 the following week and spent 20 non-consecutive weeks in the top spot. Ever since, Houston’s vocals have continued to wow, earning this soundtrack its place in history.

14. Guns N’ Roses — Appetite for Destruction (18 million)

Guns N’ Roses burst onto the scene with Appetite for Destruction back in 1987 and took us straight to “Paradise City.” With “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and “Welcome to the Jungle” also featured, this album is one of the band’s most beloved. It first hit No. 1 over a year after its initial release and went on to spend 147 weeks on the chart. That’s a pretty incredible turnaround!


13. Garth Brooks — No Fences (18 million)

Packed with many of Garth Brooks’ biggest songs, No Fences brings the thunder. Literally, “The Thunder Rolls” kicks off this particular album in spectacular fashion. Not only is this a record collection staple for country fans, but, spoiler alert: this won’t be the last you’ll see of Garth Brooks on this list!


12. Shania Twain — Come On Over (20 million)

Let’s go, girls! 1997’s Come On Over included hits that are still wildly popular today such as “You’re Still the One,” “That Don’t Impress Me Much,” and “Man! I Feel Like a Woman.” That does impress us much! As the most commercially successful album by a solo female artist, Come On Over definitely belongs in your record collection.

11. Hootie & the Blowfish — Cracked Rear View (21 million)

Hootie & the Blowfish’s debut album is also their most successful release. It hit No. 1 on the album charts five times in 1995 and became the best-selling album of the year. Who knew, after all this time, that it’d remain one of the best-selling records?


10. Garth Brooks — Double Live (21 million)

Garth Brooks has an incredible accolade under his belt thanks to this record. Double Live is the best-selling live album in the US. It debuted at No. 1 and stayed atop the album charts for five weeks, marking an impressive start to its legacy. If you’re a fan of live music, this one’s for you.


9. Fleetwood Mac — Rumours (21 million)

Fleetwood Mac’s eleventh and most impactful album, Rumours continues to gain new fans as time goes on. Though it was first released in 1977, it was the fifth highest-selling vinyl of 2022, moving 243,000 new pressings. Even after all this time, the legendary band is still inspiring us to go our own way!

8. Pink Floyd — The Wall (23 million)

Sitting atop the US album charts for a staggering 15 weeks upon its release, The Wall was an instant classic. This rock opera concept album inspired the public in more ways than one — we all know someone who got the “obligatory Hendrix perm” back in the day, don’t we?


7. Billy Joel — Greatest Hits – Volume I & Volume II (23 million)

Spanning his biggest tracks from 1973 to 1985, this compilation album is brimming with plenty of Billy Joel’s most iconic songs. From “Uptown Girl” to “Piano Man,” Joel knows how to get people to sing along, so it’s no wonder this has remained his best-selling record. It’s a beloved fixture in collections across the country.


6. The Beatles — The Beatles (24 million)

Often referred to as the White Album due to its instantly recognizable minimalist cover, it’s surely no surprise to see The Beatles pop up on this list. This particular record is also the focus of a pretty intriguing art project by Rutherford Chang, whose extensive record collection/faux record shop solely consists of numbered editions of the White Album. He also once played 100 copies of the vinyl at once, creating quite the cacophony!

5. Led Zeppelin — Led Zeppelin IV (24 million)

Led Zeppelin had so much faith in this album that they didn’t even name it — and it turns out they were right to believe in themselves! The titleless album has gone on to be one of the biggest commercial successes of all time, all while being identified solely by its four mysterious symbols. Whether you call it Led Zeppelin IV, Four Symbols, or ZoSo, there’s one thing we can all agree on: it rocks.

4. AC/DC — Back in Black (25 million)

Off the back of the success of Highway To Hell, there was a lot of pressure on AC/DC to deliver a solid follow-up… and they knocked it out of the park. An unprecedented hit, Back in Black is widely lauded — but funnily enough, it never hit No. 1 on the charts. It’s the best-selling record to have never quite reached the dizzy heights of the top spot. Really, doesn’t that just make it even cooler?

3. Eagles — Hotel California (26 million)

Eagles’ fifth studio album, Hotel California has become a true classic over time. Though it lost the Album of the Year GRAMMY to Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, it found greater commercial success in the long run and ultimately holds a higher position on the best-selling records chart. Just remember — you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave…

2. Michael Jackson — Thriller (34 million)

In a way, Thriller deserves to take the top spot when it comes to best-selling records — but there’s a caveat to that. It’s the best-selling non-compilation album, which perhaps gives you a clue about the No. 1 record on this list. In the wake of Michael Jackson’s death, increased sales of Thriller pushed it even further up the rankings. It held the title of the best-selling album of the 20th century for a spell from 2009 but was eventually overtaken by our No. 1 entry in 2018.

1. Eagles — Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) (38 million)

The highest-certified album by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), Eagles’ greatest hits really are the greatest in that regard! A must-have for lovers of classic rock and vinyl collectors alike, the US best-selling record of the 20th century delivers on the hits. The original vinyls feature messages on the dead wax that reference the band’s producers as a fun Easter egg — “Happy New Year, Glyn” and “With Love from Bill” for Glyn Johns and Bill Szymczyk respectively.