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5:47 pm - 02/16/2012

The 50 Best Selling Music Artists of All Time




The sales figures within the provided sources include sales of albums, singles, compilation-albums, music videos as well as downloads of singles and full-length albums. The artists are listed with both their claimed and certified sales figures and are ranked in descending order, with the highest claimed sales at the top. Artists with the same claimed sales are then ranked by certified units.



100 Million Claimed Sales
50. The Who, 23.2 million Total Certified Units
49. Depeche Mode, 23.2 million Total Certified Units
48. Kiss, 26.7 million Total Certified Units
47. Tina Turner, 31.4 million Total Certified Units
46. Cher, 34.2 million Total Certified Units
45. Olivia Newton-John, 34.9 million Total Certified Units
44. Lionel Richie, 35.2 million Total Certified Units
43. Bryan Adams, 39.5 million Total Certified Units
42. The Carpenters, 40.8 million Total Certified Units
41. George Michael, 41.4 million Total Certified Units
40. Janet Jackson, 48.1 million Total Certified Units





100 Million Claimed Sales
39. Julio Iglesias, 48.2 million Total Certified Units
38. Kenny Rogers, 57.7 million Total Certified Units
37. Guns N' Roses, 61.7 million Total Certified Units
36. Britney Spears, 64.9 million Total Certified Units
35. Rod Stewart, 67.4 million Total Certified Units
34. Fleetwood Mac, 70.3 million Total Certified Units
33. Metallica, 81.2 million Total Certified Units

115-120 Million Claimed Sales
32. Neil Diamond, 63.2 million Total Certified Units

120 Million Claimed Sales
31. Dire Straits, 42.7 million Total Certified Units
30. Bruce Springsteen, 92.2 million Total Certified Units
29. Eagles, 127.5 million Total Certified Units

122-128 Million Claimed Sales
28. Chicago, 47.6 million Total Certified Units
27. Garth Brooks, 165.4 million Total Certified Units

130 Million Claimed Sales
26. Bon Jovi, 63.9 million Total Certified Units
25. Backstreet Boys, 65.8 million Total Certified Units

140 Million Claimed Sales
24. David Bowie, 22.6 million Total Certified Units
23. Barbra Streisand, 93 million Total Certified Units

150 Million Claimed Sales
22. Stevie Wonder, 29.5 million Total Certified Units
21. Frank Sinatra, 35.4 million Total Certified Units
20. Genesis, 38.6 million Total Certified Units
19. Aerosmith, 79.2 million Total Certified Units
18. Phil Collins, 82.4 million Total Certified Units
17. Billy Joel, 97.6 million Total Certified Units
16. U2, 99.2 million Total Certified Units

170 Million Claimed Sales
15. Whitney Houston, 95.5 million Total Certified Units

200 Million Claimed Sales
14. Bee Gees, 63.2 million Total Certified Units
13. The Rolling Stones, 89.5 million Total Certified Units
12. AC/DC, 99.3 million Total Certified Units
11. Pink Floyd, 110.2 million Total Certified Units



10 - Celine Dion

111.4 Million Total Available Certified Units
200 Million Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

Céline Marie Claudette Dion (born March 30, 1968), is a Canadian singer. Born to a large family from Charlemagne, Quebec, Dion emerged as a teen star in the French-speaking world after her manager and future husband René Angélil mortgaged his home to finance her first record. In 1990, she released the English-language album Unison, establishing herself as a viable pop artist in North America and other English-speaking areas of the world.

Dion's music has been influenced by genres ranging from rock and R&B to gospel and classical. While her releases have often received mixed critical reception, she is renowned for her technically skilled and powerful vocals. Dion is the best-selling Canadian artist of all time, is the second best-selling female artist in the US during the Nielsen SoundScan era, and is the only female artist to have two singles sell more than a million copies in the UK. In addition, her 1995 album D'eux, is the best-selling French-language album of all time. In 2004, after surpassing 175 million in album sales worldwide, she was presented with the Chopard Diamond Award at the World Music Awards for becoming the best-selling female artist of all time. According to Sony Music Entertainment, Dion has sold over 200 million albums worldwide.




9 - Mariah Carey

118.2 Million Total Available Certified Units
200 Million Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

Mariah Carey (born March 27, 1970) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, and actress. She made her recording debut in 1990 under the guidance of Columbia Records executive Tommy Mottola, and released her self-titled debut studio album, Mariah Carey. The album went multi-platinum and spawned four consecutive number one singles, on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. A series of hit records, including Emotions (1991), Music Box (1993) and Merry Christmas (1994), established her position as Columbia's highest-selling act. Daydream (1995), made music history when the second single, "One Sweet Day" a duet with Boyz II Men, spent a record sixteen weeks on top of the Billboard Hot 100, and remains the longest running number one song in US chart history. During the recording of the album Carey began to deviate from her pop background, and slowly traversed into R&B and Hip-hop.

In a career spanning over two decades, Carey has sold more than 200 million records worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. In 1998, she was honored as the world's best-selling recording artist of the 1990s at the World Music Awards. Carey was also named the best-selling female artist of the millennium in 2000. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the third best-selling female artist in the United States, with 63 million certified albums. With the release of "Touch My Body" (2008), Carey gained her eighteenth number one single in the United States, more than any other solo artist. Aside from her commercial accomplishments, Carey has won five Grammy Awards, and is famed for her five-octave vocal range, power, melismatic style and signature use of the whistle register.




8 - ABBA

54.4 Million Total Available Certified Units
300 Million Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

ABBA was a Swedish pop group formed in Stockholm in 1972, comprising Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. ABBA has sold over 200 million records worldwide and still sell millions of records a year, which makes them one of the best-selling music artists. ABBA was the first pop group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries.

After ABBA broke up in early 1983, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued individual solo careers with mixed success. ABBA's music declined in popularity until several films, notably Muriel's Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, revived interest in the group, spawning several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA's music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name released in 2008 became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010.




7 - Queen

88.2 Million Total Available Certified Units
300 Million Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury (lead vocals, piano), Brian May (guitar, vocals), John Deacon (bass guitar, guitars, vocals), and Roger Taylor (drums, vocals). Queen's earliest works were influenced by progressive rock, but the band gradually ventured into more conventional and radio-friendly works, incorporating more diverse and innovative styles in their music.

The band has released a total of 18 number one albums, 18 number one singles, and 10 number one DVDs worldwide, making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. Queen have sold over 150 million albums, with some estimates in excess of 300 million albums worldwide, including 32.5 million in the United States alone as of 2004. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001, the band is also the only group in which every member has composed more than one chart-topping single, and all four members of Queen were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2003. In 2009, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" were inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.




6 - Led Zeppelin

133.4 Million Total Available Certified Units
300 Million Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

Led Zeppelin were an English rock band, active in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. Formed as the New Yardbirds in 1968, the band consisted of guitarist Jimmy Page, singer Robert Plant, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham. The band are widely considered to be one of the most successful, innovative and influential groups in the history of music.

Led Zeppelin are one of the best-selling music artists—various sources estimate the group's sales at more than 200 or 300 million albums worldwide. Their 111.5 million certified units in the United States rank them as the second-best-selling band in the US. Each of their nine studio albums reached the top 10 of the Billboard album chart in the US, with six reaching the number-one spot. Rolling Stone magazine described them as "the heaviest band of all time", "the biggest band of the '70s" and "unquestionably one of the most enduring bands in rock history". Similarly, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stated that in the 1970s the band were "as influential in that decade as The Beatles were in the prior one".





5 - Elton John

153 Million Total Available Certified Units
300 Million Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

Sir Elton Hercules John, (born Reginald Kenneth Dwight on 25 March 1947) is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor. He has worked with lyricist Bernie Taupin as his songwriter partner since 1967; they have collaborated on more than 30 albums to date. In his four-decade career John has sold more than 250 million records, making him one of the most successful artists of all time. His single "Candle in the Wind 1997" has sold over 33 million copies worldwide, and is the best selling single in Billboard history. He has more than 50 Top 40 hits, including seven consecutive No. 1 US albums, 56 Top 40 singles, 16 Top 10, four No. 2 hits, and nine No. 1 hits. He has won six Grammy Awards, four Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award and a Tony Award. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him Number 49 on its list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.

John was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Having been named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1996, John received a knighthood from HM Queen Elizabeth II for "services to music and charitable services" in 1998. He has been heavily involved in the fight against AIDS since the late 1980s. In 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation and a year later began hosting the annual Academy Award Party, which has since become one of the most high-profile Oscar parties in the Hollywood film industry. Since its inception, the foundation has raised over $200 million. John entered into a civil partnership with David Furnish on 21 December 2005 and continues to be a champion for LGBT social movements. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked him as the most successful male solo artist on "The Billboard Hot 100 Top All-Time Artists" (third overall, behind only The Beatles and Madonna).




4 - Madonna

157.8 Million Total Available Certified Units
300 Million Claimed Sales


For a full list of awards, click here

Madonna (born Madonna Louise Ciccone, August 16, 1958) is an American singer, songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983. She followed it with a series of albums that attained immense popularity by pushing the boundaries of lyrical content in mainstream popular music and imagery in her music videos, which became a fixture on MTV. Throughout her career, many of her songs have hit number one on the record charts, including "Like a Virgin", "Papa Don't Preach", "Like a Prayer", "Vogue", "Frozen", "Music", "Hung Up", and "4 Minutes". Critics have praised Madonna for her diverse musical productions while at the same time serving as a lightning rod for religious controversy.

Madonna has sold more than 300 million records worldwide and is recognized as the world's top-selling female recording artist of all time by the Guinness World Records. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), she is the best-selling female rock artist of the 20th century and the second top-selling female artist in the United States, behind Barbra Streisand, with 64 million certified albums. In 2008, Billboard magazine ranked Madonna at number two, behind only The Beatles, on the Billboard Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists, making her the most successful solo artist in the history of the Billboard charts. She was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the same year. Considered to be one of the "25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century" by Time for being an influential figure in contemporary music, Madonna is known for continuously reinventing both her music and image, and for retaining a standard of autonomy within the recording industry.




3 - Michael Jackson

155.8 Million Total Available Certified Units
750 Million Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) was an American recording artist, entertainer, and businessman. Often referred to as the King of Pop, or by his initials MJ, Jackson is recognized as the most successful entertainer of all time by Guinness World Records. His contribution to music, dance, and fashion, along with a much-publicized personal life, made him a global figure in popular culture for over four decades. The seventh child of the Jackson family, he debuted on the professional music scene along with his brothers as a member of The Jackson 5, then the Jacksons in 1964, and began his solo career in 1971.

Jackson's 1982 album Thriller is the best-selling album of all time. His other records, including Off the Wall (1979), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991), and HIStory (1995), also rank among the world's best-selling. Jackson is one of the few artists to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. He was also inducted into the Dance Hall of Fame as the first (and currently only) dancer from the world of pop and rock 'n' roll. Some of his other achievements include multiple Guinness World Records; 13 Grammy Awards (as well as the Grammy Legend Award and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award); 26 American Music Awards (more than any other artist, including the "Artist of the Century"); 13 number-one singles in the United States in his solo career (more than any other male artist in the Hot 100 era); and the estimated sale of over 750 million records worldwide. Jackson won hundreds of awards, which have made him the most-awarded recording artist in the history of popular music.




2 - Elvis Presley

201.2 Million Total Available Certified Units
1 Billion Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

Elvis Aaron Presleya (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977) was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

Conscripted into military service in 1958, Presley relaunched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work. He staged few concerts however, and guided by Parker, proceeded to devote much of the 1960s to making Hollywood movies and soundtrack albums, most of them critically derided. In 1968, after seven years away from the stage, he returned to live performance in a celebrated comeback television special that led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of profitable tours. In 1973 Presley staged the first concert broadcast globally via satellite, Aloha from Hawaii, seen by approximately 1.5 billion viewers. Prescription drug abuse severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at the age of 42.

Presley is regarded as one of the most important figures of 20th-century popular culture. He had a versatile voice and unusually wide success encompassing many genres, including country, pop ballads, gospel, and blues. He is the best-selling solo artist in the history of popular music. Nominated for 14 competitive Grammys, he won three, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.




1 - The Beatles

248.8 Million Total Available Certified Units
1 Billion Claimed Sales


For a list of awards, click here

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960, and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. The group's most well-known lineup consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals). Rooted in skiffle and 1950s rock and roll, the group later worked in many genres ranging from pop ballads to psychedelic rock, often incorporating classical and other elements in innovative ways. Their enormous popularity first emerged as "Beatlemania"; as their songwriting grew in sophistication by the late 1960s, they came to be perceived by many fans and cultural observers as an embodiment of the ideals shared by the era's sociocultural revolutions.

Initially a five-piece lineup of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe (bass) and Pete Best (drums), they built their reputation playing clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg over a three-year period from 1960. Sutcliffe left the group in 1961, and Best was replaced by Starr the following year. Moulded into a professional act by manager Brian Epstein, their musical potential was enhanced by the creativity of producer George Martin. They gained popularity in the United Kingdom after their first single, "Love Me Do", became a modest hit in late 1962, and they acquired the nickname the "Fab Four" as Beatlemania grew in Britain over the following year. By early 1964 they had become international stars, leading the "British Invasion" of the United States pop market. The band toured extensively around the world until August 1966, when they performed their final commercial concert. From 1966 they produced what many critics consider to be some of their finest material, including the innovative and widely influential albums Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), The Beatles (1968) and Abbey Road (1969). After their break-up in 1970, the ex-Beatles each found success in individual musical careers. Lennon was murdered in 1980, and Harrison died of cancer in 2001. McCartney and Starr remain active.

The Beatles are the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 1 billion units. They have had more number-one albums on the UK charts and have held the top spot longer than any other musical act. According to the RIAA, they have sold more albums in the US than any other artist, and in 2008 they topped Billboard magazine's list of all-time Hot 100 artists. They have received 7 Grammy Awards from the American National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences and 15 Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. They were collectively included in Time magazine's compilation of the 20th century's 100 most influential people.



source: wiki & aceshowbiz
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