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Top 10 Best Selling Albums In The World

Published May 8, 2012
Here is a list of the best selling albums of all time. The list includes six studio albums from the greatest artists of our time, but also three soundtrack albums and one greatest hits collection. Which album that has sold the most copies in no bigger surprise. The artist that has recorded the best album in the world is one of the biggest stars of the 20th century, maybe even the biggest ever. So who is he? Read below about the best-selling albums in the world and you will find the answer.

Please note that the exact number of sold copies is hard to know and that some of the albums on the list should in fact switch places. However, it is fairly certain that these ten albums are the ten best selling albums in the world of all time.
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10. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac, 1977

Copies sold: at least 40 million
The British band Fleetwood Mac was formed in 1967 and played mostly blues in the beginning. After changing band members and developing a more radio-friendly sound the band released the 1977 album Rumours. The album became a best-seller and distinguished itself from other albums especially thanks to the band's three singers, who together created the exquisite vocal harmonies in the songs. The album contains the liberating superhit "Go Your Own Way" and the melancholic "Dreams", two songs many probably recognizes.

9. Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack, 1977

Copies sold: at least 40 million
The movie Saturday Night Fever with John Travolta in the lead role was released in the end of the 70s when disco was at its peak. The soundtrack of the movie contained several immortal disco songs and sold incredibly well all around the world. Six of the album's seventeen tracks were performed by the Bee Gees, such as the classics "Stayin' Alive", "How Deep Is Your Love" and "Night Fever". The Gibb brothers of the Bee Gees also wrote one of the other disco hits on the album - "If I Can't Have You" with Yvonne Elliman. Needless to say, the album was a big success for the Bee Gees.
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8. Come On Over - Shania Twain, 1997

Copies sold: at least 40 million
The Canadian singer-songwriter Shania Twain got her breakthrough in the United States in 1995 with the album The Woman In Me. She released Come On Over two years later and became a big sensation all around the world. Some of the songs on this hit-filled record are "You're Still the One", "From This Moment on", "That Don't Impress Me Much" and "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!". Shania Twain wrote all tracks on the album together with her then husband, the producer Robert John "Mutt" Lange. Come On Over is the best selling country album of all time and the best selling studio album of all time by a female artist.

7. Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) - Eagles, 1976

Copies sold: at least 42 million
The American band the Eagles are best known for their song "Hotel California" from 1976. This superhit is however not present on their greatest hits album Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) released that same year. As the name implies the record contains their top hits between 1971 and 1975. The album might be one of this list's surprises, but the Eagles are incredibly big in the United States and has sold 85 % of their records there. Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) and the number one album on this list has an equal number of copies sold in the United States.

6. Dirty Dancing Soundtrack, 1987

Copies sold: at least 42 million
When the eternal classic Dirty Dancing premiered in movie theaters in 1987 it wasn't just a sweaty Patrick Swayze and an innocent Jennifer Gray (photo) that caught the audience's interest. The movie score also became immensely popular and the soundtrack became the top selling album in the United States during 18 weeks. The album contains, besides some classics from the 60s, the duet "(I've Had) The Time Of My Life" with Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes as well as "Hungry Eyes" with Eric Carmen.

5. Bat Out Of Hell - Meat Loaf, 1977

Copies sold: at least 43 million
The year 1977 was a year of many top selling records. Meat Loaf's debut album Bat Out Of Hell was no immediate success, but thanks to persistent touring and an increasing interest the sales numbers eventually took off. The album has now been sold in over 43 million copies. The years before the album, Meat Loaf had starred in several musicals and had became world famous in the screen adaption of the musical The Rocky Horror Show. The songs on Bat Out Of Hell were written by Jim Steinman and were first planned to be material for a musical. Steinberg has by the way also written Bonnie Tyler's "Total Eclipse Of The Heart".

4. The Bodyguard Soundtrack, 1992

Copies sold: at least 44 million
The love story The Bodyguard starring Whitney Houston and her bodyguard Kevin Costner hit movie theaters before Christmas 1992. The soundtrack album sold like hotcakes during the holidays and eventually became the best selling soundtrack album in the world. Most famous became Whistney Huoston's version of Dolly Partons "I Will Always Love You", which topped the single charts in almost all Western countries. The soundtrack is very much Whitney Huoston's album since she sings on six of the tracks. Other hits from the soundtrack are Houston's "I Have Nothing", "I'm Every Woman" and "Run To You".

3. Back In Black - AC/DC, 1980

Copies sold: at least 49 million
The Australian rock band AC/DC got their big break in 1979 when they released the album Highway To Hell. That same year, singer Bon Scott followed died after a night of heavy drinking which lead to him suffocating on his own vomit. He was replaced by Brian Johnson (on the left in the photo, beside Angus Young) and the band recorded Back In Black in 1980. The album was dedicated to Bon Scott and became an immediate success and their greatest album. Back In Black is one of those classic hard rock albums and contains timeless rock anthems like "You Shook Me All Night Long" and the title track "Back In Black".

2. The Dark Side Of The Moon - Pink Floyd, 1973

Copies sold: at least 50 million
The record The Dark Side of the Moon was released in 1973 and became the big breakthrough for British band Pink Floyd. The album contains the band's characteristic experimental and progressive rock music, but was more mainstream than their previous works. It is a concept album that deals with subjects that can drive people mad, such as conflicts, greed, the passage of time and mental illness. The Dark Side of the Moon is the album that has topped the Billboard chart over the 200 best selling albums for the longest time (more than 14 years, between 1973 and 1988). The hit "Money" is probably the most famous song composed in 7/8 time, compared to the common 4/4 time.

1. Thriller - Michael Jackson, 1982

Copies sold: 65 - 110 million
When Michael Jackson was going to record his second solo album he set the goal to make every track a hit song. Thriller became a worldwide phenomenon which besides soft songs like "Human Nature" och "Baby Be Mine" also contained tracks with Michael Jackson's new tougher style. The fact that the album would become the best selling album of all time was largely due to Michael Jackson's ability to create something that felt brand new. The 14-minute-long music video for the title track "Thriller" had elaborate effects and spectacular dance moves and was something the MTV audience had never seen before. When Jackson performed his first moonwalk to "Billie Jean" at a Motown gala 47 million people watched. The sales figures hit the roof and seven tracks from the album made it to top ten in Billboard's singles chart, of which three ("Thriller", "Beat It" and "Billie Jean") made it to number one. Four of the album's nine songs are entirely written by Michael Jackson himself - "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'","The Girl Is Mine", "Beat It" and "Billie Jean". The album was produced by Quincy Jones and contains collaborations with Paul McCartney and Eddie Van Halen among others. Thriller is without a doubt the all-time best selling album in the world, although the exact number of copies sold varies much between different sources. According to The Guinness Book of Records, the album has sold more than 104 million copies.
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