10 Top Selling Music Artists Of All Time
One of the greatest debates in the music world among listeners and even between record companies revolves around the highly controversial topic of who’s the best-selling artist of all time. From time to time many record companies and music artists have claimed global sales that can’t be accurately stated by any logical standard, which only adds to the confusion.
10 Celine Dion –125 Million
Celine Dion is the only female artist to have two singles to sell more than a million copies in the UK and her 1995 album D’eux is the best-selling French-language album of all time to date. Not bad for a girl who started her music career because of a cheesy Eurovision Song Contest. In 2004, she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards for becoming the best-selling female artist of all time, an award that was highly disputed for its accuracy.
Nonetheless, Dion undoubtedly remains one of the best-selling female artists of all time with certified sales of over 125 million copies while her record company makes claims of over 200 million albums sold worldwide.
9 Mariah Carey – 130 Million
Let’s take a deep breath and start with Mariah’s commercial achievements: her duet with Boyz II Men, “One Sweet Day,” spent a record sixteen weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, and remains the longest-running number one song in US chart history; she was the best-selling recording artist of the 1990s; she has eighteen number one singles in the US, which makes her the female artist with the most number one singles in history, and to top it all off, she has a five-octave vocal range and her signature use of the whistle register made her famous worldwide. Want more?
8 Eagles – 130 Million
Despite what Aerosmith might claim, according to the official numbers the Eagles are the biggest-selling American band of all time, with an estimated total of over 150 million records worldwide, which seems to be realistic if one takes into account that their certified album sales are over 130 million with a little more than 100 million of those in the US alone. Their Greatest Hits (1971–1975) shares the top spot with Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the best-selling album ever in the US with 29 million copies sold and is one of the highest-selling albums globally with 45 million copies sold worldwide.
7 Led Zeppelin – 140 Million
According to various sources, Led Zeppelin’s official record sales are supposed to be somewhere between 200 and 300 million units worldwide. With RIAA-certified sales of 111.5 million, they are the second best-selling band in the United States behind the Beatles and one of the most commercially successful music acts in history.
6 Garth Brooks – 145 Million
Garth Brooks is statistically the biggest-selling music artist in US history and overall third behind the Beatles and Elvis Presley. He’s the solo artist with the most diamond albums in RIAA’s history, with six of his albums achieving sales of over 10 million copies. As of now his albums continue to break records and according to Nielsen Soundscan, his albums sales up to 2014 are about 70 million, which makes him the best-selling artist in the United States since the advent of the SoundScan era (1991 to the present). Simply put, Garth is Country’s absolute king.
5 Elton John – 162 Million
Elton John ruled the pop and rock airwaves throughout the ‘70s, allowing him to attain superstar status around the world by the time he was thirty. The 1997 version of “Candle in the Wind,” which was rewritten to celebrate the life of Princess Diana, sold over 33 million copies worldwide and is considered to be the best-selling single of all time. With estimated sales of more than 250 million records worldwide, Elton John is the biggest-selling British solo artist ever, and the second best-selling British musical act of all time, surpassed only by the Beatles.
4 Madonna – 166 Million
Madonna is one of the very few artists in history who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility. Her record company claims that the phenomenal artist has sold more than 300 million records worldwide. She has also been recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guinness Book of World Records and knowing Madonna’s global impact in the music world we have no reason to doubt any of these facts. However, her certified sales via the available official markets hardly reach 170 million.
3 Michael Jackson – 175 Million
Despite Michael Jackson and his record labels always exaggerating to a great extent about their sales and achievements, there’s no doubt that the “King of Pop” set numerous records during the course of his epic career including the best-selling album of all time (Thriller), the best-selling music video of all time, and winning more music awards than any other musician or band in history. However, his claim of 750 million records sold is inaccurate and his certified sales don’t surpass 175 million at the moment, while his fans make claims of estimated total sales of about 350–400 million globally.
2 Elvis Presley – 210 Million
“The King” is the only solo artist in history who has broken the 200 million barrier, and the scariest part is that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) first began tracking sales of Elvis Presley’s music in 1958, which means that they don’t include many of the successful recordings he released before that year. Even under these circumstances, Elvis has more gold (90), platinum (52) and multi-platinum (25) album awards than any artist and is the best-selling solo artist of all time in the US. However, RCA’s claims that Elvis has sold more than one billion records are ridiculous and it’s believed that Elvis hasn’t sold more than 600 million records worldwide.
1 The Beatles – 265 Million
The Beatles hold pretty much every music record there is and that’s not an exaggeration whatsoever: They have the most number one albums on the US charts with 19; the most number one singles in the US with 20; the most number one albums on the British charts, and have sold more singles in the UK than any other act. According to the RIAA, the Beatles are the best-selling music act in the United States, with 178 million certified units sold and they hold the same honor in the UK, Germany, and the rest of Europe as well.
Despite all the records they have broken and being the most famous music band of the twentieth-century, their claims of 1.5 billion records worldwide has proved to be false even though it seems very possible for them to become the first music act to soon break the 300 million barrier of certified sales if their albums continue to sell as well as they have for the past two decades.
One of the greatest debates in the music world among listeners and even between record companies revolves around the highly controversial topic of who’s the best-selling artist of all time. From time to time many record companies and music artists have claimed global
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