When it comes to music, it’s hard to predict which song is going to be the next big hit. When it comes to albums, it’s even harder to know which artists people are going to love enough to buy copies of their work to keep in their homes, play on their stereos or loop on their phones.
Luckily for us, the Recording Industry Association of America has been keeping track of what sells and how much, so we know which musicians are still a favorite of millions to hear, even if it might have been years after their album released.
These best-selling albums are proof that good artists have a long-lasting legacy.
Here are some of the best-selling albums in history:
Eagles – Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975)
Topping the list at 38 million units, Eagles have made news by overtaking King of Pop, Michael Jackson, to have their compilation album the best-selling one in U.S.
Containing songs from the highest points of their career, the album may have recently soared back in popularity due to the band being on tour.
Michael Jackson – Thriller
It’s no surprise that Michael Jackson’s album holds a place in this list.
He was a worldwide icon who defined what music – and moving to music – meant for a whole generation.
With tracks like Beat It, Billie Jean and of course Thriller, the album is a masterpiece and it received several awards to prove it, including eight Grammys.
Jackson’s album may be second now in the States, but it still remains the highest selling album worldwide.
Eagles – Hotel California
Eagles are the only artist to currently hold two spots of the top ranks of the ‘best-selling albums of all time’ list.
While critics remain divided on what to make of their music still, the band continues to have a loyal audience who won’t shy away from playing the titular track on repeat.
Billy Joel – Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II
This compilation album first came out in 1985, and it has sold 23 million copies since then. The Piano Man has had a prolific career and this album contains some of his best work.
He still draws in big crowds with his performances so there’s no wonder his album is popular too.
Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin IV
Led Zeppelin’s untitled fourth album’s popularity is certainly in part due to their hit song Stairway to Heaven.
While it may or may not have contained hidden messages, the album’s success is quite clear and its sales numbers have only strengthened the position of the band as one of the most loved rock bands ever.
Pink Floyd – The Wall
Fans of the band will tell you that Pink Floyd’s The Wall is more than an album, it’s an experience.
This concept album is even hailed by some to be one of the best albums of all time, and it was its raw passion that evoked something in its listeners that made millions relate to it and buy it in hordes.
AC/DC – Back in Black
Released at the height of the rock band’s popularity, Back in Black was their seventh album and the first one to be released after lead singer Bon Scott’s death with Brian Johnson taking his place after the band decided not to disband.
With the album’s immensely positive reception from critics and fans, there’s no doubt their decision paid off.