The Global Top Selling Albums Of All Time

Bill Wyman, the rock critic not the retired Rolling Stones bassist, has a list of global sales of albums compiled by French music sales nerd Guillaume Vieira:

1. Michael Jackson, “Thriller”: 66,200,000

2. Soundtrack, “Grease”: 44,700,000

3. Pink Floyd, “The Dark Side of the Moon”: 44,200,000

4. Whitney Houston et al., “The Bodyguard”: 38,600,000

5. The Bee Gees at al., “Saturday Night Fever”: 37,200,000

6. The Eagles, “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975”: 36,900,000

7. Bob Marley, “Legend”: 36,800,000

8. Led Zeppelin, “IV”: 35,700,000

9. AC/DC, “Back in Black”: 35,700,000

10. Shania Twain, “Come on Over”: 35,400,000

11. Michael Jackson, “Bad”: 34,700,000

12. Soundtrack, “Dirty Dancing”: 33,300,000

13. Dire Straits, “Brothers in Arms”: 33,200,000

14. Alanis Morissette, “Jagged Little Pill”: 33,200,000

15. Fleetwood Mac, “Rumours”: 33,000,000

16. The Beatles, “1”: 32,400,000

17. Pink Floyd, “The Wall”: 31,900,000

18. ABBA, “Gold”: 31,400,000

19. Guns N’ Roses, “Appetite for Destruction”: 30,800,000

20. Simon & Garfunkel, “Greatest Hits”: 30,700,000

21. Queen, “Greatest Hits”: 30,600,000

22. Celine Dion, “Let’s Talk About Love”: 30,300,000

23. Michael Jackson, “Dangerous”: 30,200,000

24. Celine Dion, “Falling into You”: 30,200,000

25. The Eagles, “Hotel California”: 30,000,000

26. Bruce Springsteen, “Born in the U.S.A.”: 29,100,000

27. Metallica, “Metallica”: 28,900,000

28. Meat Loaf, “Bat Out of Hell”: 28,700,000

29. Soundtrack, “Titanic”: 28,500,000

30. The Beatles, “Abbey Road”: 28,300,000

Let`s see, I own the Bob Marley, the Dire Straits, the Beatle`s “1″, the Springsteen, and the Meat Loaf. There are lots of of stuff I wouldn`t mind owning such as the Eagles, Simon Garfunkel, Fleetwood Mac, Zep, and “Abbey Road.”

When I moved to Chicago in 1982, I sold some of my albums to a used record shop. Interestingly, the owner was very offended that I wasn`t keeping James Brown “Live at the Apollo” which he gave me a good price for. But he refused to buy or even take for free my Queen albums. He said his bins were full of Queen albums that nobody wanted. Obviously, much has changed in the view of Queen.

Every single album on the list is primarily in English, even the Celine Dion and ABBA stuff made by a French Canadian and Swedes. Wyman asks his source about a non-Anglosphere breakout:

What about China or India, I asked—could a Jackson-size phenom emerge from either country, each with a population far bigger than that of the United States? 

Definitely nothing crazy happening in China and India. Despite massive number of inhabitants their markets are pretty weak, similar to Australia or lower. 

In the golden age of the nineties, some local acts reached sales of three or four million in China, like their “local Michael Jackson” Jacky Cheung, with “The Goodbye Kiss” (arguably the best-selling album ever in continental Asia), and around two million in India, but those are the best-selling albums ever there.

The Anglosphere remains dominant in pop culture.