Best selling recording artists – not the best, nor the most influential, nor the ones you like. Here are the best sellers, ever. The oldies had a smaller fan base, less PR, but a longer time to rack up sales. The newies had more people counting but much more competition. It’s more a top 5 than a top 10, with more than 20 artists fighting for the second half of the list.
#1. Elvis Presley, with over 1 billion record sales, and still selling strong. Between 1954 and 1977, Elvis recorded 77 albums, with all but nine of them reaching the Billboard Top of the Pop Albums chart.
#2. The Beatles. The Beatles are still one of the best selling bands, years after their last recording sessions. With close to one billion record sales, the Beatles are a strong #2, but only recorded 12 original albums together 1960-70.
#3. Michael Jackson. The gloved wonder sold more than 750 million records. Starting his recording career at the tender age of 7, Michael Jackson had one of the most successful recording careers ever, with only 11 records (including the biggest selling album of all time) 1967-84, but countless singles.
#4. Bing Crosby. For 20 years Bing was the most popular singer, film actor and radio personality in the world and his career lasted for more than 50 years, 1926-77. Estimates of his actual sales is difficult in the absence of certified records and is estimated as between 500 million and 1 billion.
#5. Frank Sinatra. Old blue eyes himself, the man has sold over 500 million records 1930-98. Frank was heavily influenced by Bing Crosby’s vocal techniques. He reinvented himself several times, going right to the top in several musical genres.
#6. ABBA. The numbers do not lie. With over 375 million record sales, ABBA has a strong showing in the international stage. ABBA played and recorded for over 10 years, 1972-82, and has had more than one revival.
#7. Led Zeppelin. Led Zeppelin have sold over 300 million records. Formed in 1968, Zep is considered the first ever heavy metal band. They had never released any singles in Europe. Preferring an album-oriented rock concept, Led Zeppelin is still ranked #1 in VH1’s all-time greatest artists of hard rock.
#8. Nana Mouskouri. Nana started her music career in 1958 and is still going strong today. She has accumulated over 300 million record sales with her unique voice, and has recorded in many different languages.
#9. Queen. Queen, fronted by the enigmatic Freddie Mercury, with Brian May and Roger Taylor (joined by John Deacon in their 2nd year together) has accumulated over 300 million record sales.
#10. Julio Iglesias. The singer has sold more than 250 million records since 1968. Julio Iglesias has 77 albums, and counting, and has performed over 5,000 concerts.
#11. All these artists have recording sales between 200 million and 500 million: AC/DC 1973 -present, A. R. Rahman 1992 -present, Alla Pugacheva 1965 -present, Bee Gees 1958 -2003, Bob Marley 1962 -1981, Celine Dion 1981 -present, Cliff Richard 1958 -present, The Drifters 1953 -present, Elton John 1964 -present, Herbert von Karajan 1938 -1989, Madonna 1982 -present, Mariah Carey 1990 -present, Pink Floyd 1964 -1994, The Rolling Stones 1962 -present, Tino Rossi 1929 -1982, Wei Wei 1986 -present.
How popular is your record collection? Or are you discriminating?
©2009 Original material copyright Phillip Kay. Images and other material courtesy Creative Commons. Please inform post author of any violation.