The Quick 10: The 10 Best-Selling LPs of All Time


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As of yesterday, LPs (long-playing records) have been around for 61 years. It was June 21, 1948 that Columbia Records first unveiled a record that would hold at least 20 minutes per side. The first 10" LP ever released was a reissue of The Voice of Frank Sinatra. Since then, of course, millions of records have been released - but only a select few can be considered the best-selling records of all time. Here they are, with a disclaimer: they might be slightly out of order, as different reports have sales varying by a couple of million here and there.

'Cause this is THRILLER!!
'Cause this is THRILLER!! /

3. Bat out of Hell, Meat Loaf, 43 million copies. The third-best selling album in the world was almost never made because Meat and songwriter Jim Steinman couldn't find a record company to sign them. Their manager later joked that people were forming record companies just so they could reject the Meat Loaf project. Clive Davis was particularly mean to the duo, asking if they had ever even heard pop music before. Todd Rundgren finally got behind the album, but even so, the album wasn't an immediate smash hit. It has only been through steady sales over time that Bat out of Hell has reached the #3 spot.

4. Their Greatest Hits, Eagles, 42 million copies. It's #4 in the world but #1 in the U.S., edging out even Thriller. Nine of the 10 songs on the album made the Top 40, the exception being "Tequila Sunrise."

5. The Bodyguard, Whitney Houston and various artists, 42 million copies. I had this one, too, and I'm in good company since this is the best-selling soundtrack of all time. Two of the songs - "Run to You" and "I Have Nothing" were nominated for the Best Original Song Academy Award but lost out to "A Whole New World" from Aladdin.

6. Dirty Dancing, various artists, 42 million copies. After the movie's 1987 release, the soundtrack took off. I, for one, am guilty of loving this soundtrack. The album, which included "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" and song sung by Patrick Swayze ("She's Like the Wind"), is so popular overseas that it still re-enters the Irish pop charts from time to time.

7. The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber, 40 million copies. That this album is the only soundtrack to a musical on the list is a testament to its popularity. It was the first album to ever enter the UK Albums chart at #1.
8. Millennium, Backstreet Boys, 40 million copies. If you were in junior high or high school when this album was released, no doubt you're familiar with its hits: "I Want It That Way" and "Larger Than Life." When it was first released, it set the record for the most albums sold worldwide in one week - 2.2. million copies.
9. Saturday Night Fever, the BeeGees and various artists, 40 million copies. Although artists like Kool & the Gang and KC and the Sunshine Band played on this album, no doubt most people associate this album with the falsetto-singing band. It's credited with reviving disco, which had been on its way out before Travolta and Co. made it cool again.

10. Rumours,, Fleetwood Mac, 40 million copies. The band members have acknowledged that the album was almost entirely about their struggles and affairs with one another, because at the time, Mick Fleetwood split from his wife, Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had just ended their relationship, and John and Christine McVie had separated as well. To deal with the stress of having to hang out with one another to finish this album, they all wrote songs about one another. The personalization panned out pretty well for the group, who won Album of the Year at the 1978 Grammies and spent 31 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts.

11. The Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd, 40 million copies. I've talked about Dark Side before, but I didn't want to leave it off the list since it's tied with the others at 40 million copies.

Any surprises? I'm surprised the Beatles don't chart higher - they come in at 32 million for Sgt. Pepper, right behind Shania Twain's Come on Over,, Led Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin IV, and Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill (I literally wore that CD out). Share your shockers in the comments.