Special Report

100 Best Albums of All Time

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10. Nevermind (1991)
> Artist: Nirvana
> Copies sold in U.S.: 10 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

With the release of their second album “Nevermind” in 1991, Nirvana showed the world that loud guitars could be the face of pop music. Despite the album’s far reaching impact, it debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at No. 144 and only ascended to No. 1 after “Smells Like Teen Spirit” caught fire.

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9. Back in Black (1980)
> Artist: AC/DC
> Copies sold in U.S.: 22 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 4

“Back in Black” was AC/DC’s seventh studio release but became their most successful, thanks to classic tracks including “Hells Bells,” “Shoot to Thrill,” “You Shook Me All Night Long” and the title track. The album is considered a foundational example of modern heavy music and helped pave the way for metal bands to follow.

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8. Rumours (1977)
> Artist: Fleetwood Mac
> Copies sold in U.S.: 20 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” is one of the best selling albums of all time, moving over 45 million copies worldwide. The album was a runaway hit in the late 70s as well, landing the Grammy for Album of the Year in 1977 and scoring four top-ten hits on Billboard Hot 100 chart.

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7. Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers (1984)
> Artist: Bob Marley and the Wailers
> Copies sold in U.S.: 15 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 5

“Legend: The Best of Bob Marley and the Wailers” is the best selling reggae release of all time, moving over 15 million copies in the U.S, according to the RIAA. In 2017, the album earned its 500th non-consecutive week on the Billboard 200 chart, making it the second-longest charting album ever.

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6. The White Album (1968)
> Artist: The Beatles
> Copies sold in U.S.: 19 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

“The White Album” came at a time of internal turmoil for the Beatles that resulted in longtime engineer Geoff Emerick quitting midway though the sessions. Though the band didn’t release any singles from the album in the U.S. or Britain, it went on to top the Billboard 200 chart on December 28, 1968.

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5. Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
> Artist: Led Zeppelin
> Copies sold in U.S.: 23 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 2

In 2002, author Chuck Klosterman called “Led Zeppelin IV” the “most famous hard-rock album ever recorded.” Classic Rock Magazine has also been a fan, handing the album the top spot on its “100 Greatest Rock Albums Ever” and “100 Greatest British Rock Albums Ever” lists.

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4. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
> Artist: The Beatles
> Copies sold in U.S.: 11 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

With “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” the Beatles not only shattered perceptions of what pop music could be, they also legitimized the idea of counterculture in the 1960s. The album has maintained its cultural significance, with the editors of Rolling Stone calling it “the most important rock and roll album ever made.”

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3. Abbey Road (1969)
> Artist: The Beatles
> Copies sold in U.S.: 12 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

“Abbey Road” was the last album that the Beatles all recorded together. Considered by some critics to be the Beatles finest work, the album has been certified 12-times platinum by the RIAA and has sold over 30 million copies worldwide.

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2. Thriller (1982)
> Artist: Michael Jackson
> Copies sold in U.S.: 33 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

“Thriller” was Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album as a solo artist and is the best-selling album of all time at over 66 million copies worldwide. The sound recording was added to the National Recording Registry in 2007 and the title track’s iconic video was added to the National Film Registry in 2009.

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1. The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
> Artist: Pink Floyd
> Copies sold in U.S.: 15 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

Despite Pink Floyd’s considerable success on their previous seven albums, “The Dark Side of the Moon” was their first to break the top 40 in Billboard 200 chart. It hit No. 1 on April 28, 1973, and has since gone on to sell more than 45 million copies worldwide.