In a world reverberating with an ever-growing array of music formats, the allure of vinyl records endures, entrancing aficionados and new listeners alike. For many, it’s the warm, full sound that vinyl delivers, a sensory delight that beckons them to the golden era of music. Others relish the tactile joy of holding and playing a physical record, a ritual that embodies the essence of music appreciation. The nostalgic charm of spinning vinyl, an experience akin to stepping back in time, holds a distinct appeal. Moreover, for collectors, owning a piece of history, especially when it’s the best-selling vinyl of all time, amplifies the joy manifold, making each record a prized possession that transcends generations. Whatever the individual reasons may be, one thing remains unswayed: the profound and perennial popularity of vinyl records among music enthusiasts worldwide.
What are the most selling vinyl records?
Several different factors can affect which vinyl records are the most selling. It can include things like the artist’s popularity, the music’s quality, and even the packaging. However, a few records seem to top the charts when it comes to sales continuously. Here is a look at some of the most sold vinyl of all time:
Here is a look at some of the most selling vinyl records of all time:
Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon
The LP was released in 1973 and is the eighth studio album by the band. It was a commercial and critical success, spending 741 weeks on the UK charts and 733 weeks on the US charts. Actually, this is one of the top-selling vinyl records of all time, with estimated sales of over 45 million copies worldwide.
The album’s concept is based on the observation that life is absurd and unpredictable and explores the mental states of alienation, anxiety, and insanity.
It was recorded in 1972 at Abbey Road Studios in London and produced by the band’s guitarist, David Gilmour. The album was engineered by Alan Parsons, who also worked on the band’s previous album, Meddle.
There are some of the band’s most popular tracks, including “Money,” “Us and Them,” and “Brain Damage.” “Money” is one of the band’s most famous songs and was a Top 10 hit in the UK and US. “Us and Them” is a seven-minute track that features a distinctive saxophone solo by Dick Parry. Finally, “Brain Damage” is a slower, more atmospheric track that culminates in the famous lyric, “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”
In 2012, this vinyl was ranked number 334 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. In 2013, it was ranked number 4 on Classic Rock’s 100 Greatest Albums of All Time list.
Michael Jackson – Thriller
Unveiled to the world on November 30, 1982, through the aegis of Epic Records, Thriller not only established itself as a milestone in the music industry but emerged as one of the top-selling vinyl records, boasting global sales exceeding 33 million copies.
This remarkable record garnered numerous accolades, including Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance, alongside American Music Awards recognizing it as the Favorite Pop/Rock and Soul/R&B Album. Further solidifying its legendary status, Rolling Stone heralded Thriller as the 20th entry in their roundup of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003.
Constructed in the span between April and November of 1982 at the Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, the creation of Thriller was a monumental effort, marshaling a budget of $750,000. Jackson, the creative force behind the masterpiece, penned four of its nine tracks, while the talented duo of Rod Temperton and Steve Porcaro enriched the album with iconic contributions such as “Thriller,” “Beat It,” and “Human Nature.”
Under the proficient guidance of Quincy Jones in the producer’s chair and the technical brilliance of Bruce Swedien as the engineer and mixer, the album transformed into a magnum opus. Its richness was further amplified with collaborations featuring eminent artists, including an appearance by Paul McCartney gracing the album’s front cover.
In Thriller, Jackson masterfully wove together a tapestry of diverse musical genres, encapsulating pop, post-disco, rock and roll, electro, and funk, creating a groundbreaking soundscape that propelled him to grace the cover of Time magazine in March 1984.
The Beatles – Abbey Road
The Beatles’ Abbey Road is one of the most popular and influential vinyls of all time, and its iconic cover art is instantly recognizable. The album was released in 1969, and the cover features the four members of the band walking across a zebra crossing in London. Abbey Road was the last LP recorded by the Beatles before their breakup, and it is considered by many to be their greatest work.
The cover art for Abbey Road has been parodied and imitated countless times, becoming one of the most iconic images in pop culture.
In 1969, the Beatles congregated at EMI’s Abbey Road studios in North London, marking their final collaborative venture. The sessions, predominantly in June and July, culminated in August with the recording of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “The End”. Since its release in 1969, the album has sold more than 31 million copies worldwide.
Paul McCartney wanted to create a return to the group’s earlier, lighter pop sound, and he mostly used his songs as the basis for the album. John Lennon brought fewer new songs to the album and only wrote three of fourteen tracks, and George Harrison contributed to “Here Comes the Sun,” while Ringo Starr sang the lead vocal on “Octopus’s Garden.”
The record succeeded commercially, reaching number one on the UK charts and two on the US Billboard 200 chart. Abbey Road was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 1970 but lost to Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge over Troubled Water.
Nirvana – Nevermind vinyl record
Released on September 24, 1991, Nirvana’s “Nevermind” marked the band’s second studio venture, catalyzing grunge music’s ascent to mainstream prominence. It boasts over 30 million global sales, featuring iconic tracks like “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” “In Bloom,” and “Come As You Are.”
Although it didn’t initially skyrocket in popularity, the record eventually garnered significant traction, ascending to the pinnacle of the Billboard 200, largely propelled by the widespread acclaim for “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” a generational anthem for Generation X. Celebrated by many publications as a groundbreaking release, it stands as one of Nirvana’s most revered and influential works.
David Bowie – The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars
The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, a seminal creation in the rock genre, remains a critical acquisition for any David Bowie enthusiast or rock aficionado. Released on June 16, 1972, this David Bowie masterpiece, crafted in concert with American producer Tony Visconti, showcases the talents of English musicians Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder, and Woody Woodmansey.
Enjoying commercial success, it clinched the fifth spot on the UK charts and 17th in the US, with critics lauding its innovative sonic landscape. Often heralded as one of Bowie’s crowning achievements, it secured the 262nd position on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums in 2003. With over 20 million copies sold globally, it received Platinum certification from the RIAA.
In 2016, to commemorate its 45th anniversary, a reissue graced the market featuring a remastered version, bonus tracks, and a live rendition of the titular song “Ziggy Stardust” from the BBC Radio 1’s In Concert show.
Fleetwood Mac – Rumours
In 1977, Fleetwood Mac gifted the world Rumours, a rich tapestry of melodies that encapsulated the raw and real stories behind the band members’ intertwined relationships. Winning the Album of the Year at the 1978 Grammy Awards, it is a repository of classics, including hits like “Dreams” and “Go Your Own Way.” The genius of this album lies not just in its melodious grace but also in the heartfelt narratives that breathe through each song. The emotionally charged lyrics hint at love triangles and personal upheavals, giving listeners an intimate peek into their lives.
Interestingly, the album was almost a musical diary, charting the highs and lows of their personal experiences during its creation. Today, it stands as a timeless emblem of resilience and artistic harmony, continually enchanting vinyl enthusiasts with its deep-rooted authenticity and musical brilliance.
AC/DC – Back in Black
When 1980 rolled in, AC/DC heralded a powerful era of rock music with Back in Black, an album that served as a vibrant tribute to their late lead singer Bon Scott. Marking a revival that echoed resilience, it housed anthems such as “Hells Bells” and “Shoot to Thrill.” The black album cover, symbolizing a period of mourning, adds a layer of depth and respect, making it a heartfelt homage. Furthermore, it became a cornerstone in rock history, with its pulsating rhythms and electrifying guitar riffs, which were nothing short of a musical revolution at the time.
Its commercial success is marked by multi-platinum status, and it remains a go-to record for fans seeking a dose of classic rock dynamism. Its sustained popularity underlines AC/DC’s monumental presence in the rock music scene, forever echoing with energy and spirit.
The Eagles – Hotel California
1976 introduced music aficionados to “Hotel California”, a work of art by The Eagles that merged rock with a touch of new-age jazz. This album, boasting of the Grammy-winning title track, unfolds like a narrative, offering listeners a lush, auditory journey through the decadent lifestyle of 70s California. The complex guitar arrangements and harmonious vocals have often been highlighted as its unique selling points. Fans might be intrigued to know that the album cover intricately portrays the Beverly Hills Hotel, a place synonymous with the glamorous yet often hollow lifestyle depicted in the lyrics.
Its success story is adorned with multiple awards and critical acclaim, firmly establishing it as a classic that beautifully marries narrative depth with musical innovation. The Eagles, through this album, created a world that encapsulated the dreams and disillusionments of a generation.
Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston
In 1985, the music industry witnessed a phenomenon named Whitney Houston through her debut album that bears her name. This record, laden with hits like “Greatest Love of All” and “How Will I Know,” became a beacon of vocal prowess and musical excellence. Not only did it bring her a Grammy, but it also set a precedent for aspiring female artists. Whitney’s range and emotional depth in her singing transformed simple melodies into monumental musical experiences.
A cornerstone in pop music history, this album saw Houston become the first female artist to secure three #1 singles, showcasing her significant influence and dominance in the industry. With its blend of pop and R&B, it captured the hearts of millions, representing Whitney’s legendary status and her irreplaceable place in the pantheon of music icons.
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Legend
1984 was graced with “Legend,” a compilation album by Bob Marley & The Wailers that continues to resonate as a magnum opus in the reggae genre. This album is not just a collection of songs but a rich tapestry of stories and messages advocating love, unity, and social justice. It brought global attention to reggae, with melodious hits like “Is This Love” and “Jamming.” A noteworthy fact about this collection is the inclusion of “No Woman, No Cry,” a live recording from a 1975 performance in London, offering listeners a raw and energized essence of Marley’s spirit.
Today, it is a beacon of Marley’s philosophy, uniting people across borders with its infectious rhythms and poetic narratives. Its unyielding popularity underscores Marley’s everlasting influence in the music world, etching him as a true legend in the annals of musical history.