Special Report

100 Best Albums of All Time

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80. Abraxas (1970)
> Artist: Santana
> Copies sold in U.S.: 5 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

“Black Magic Woman” and “Oye Como Va” are two of Carlos Santana’s most iconic tracks and both are featured on “Abraxas.” The latter was penned by Tito Puente, who generously credits Santana for popularizing the song on his 1999 release “Mambo Birdland.”

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79. Dookie (1994)
> Artist: Green Day
> Copies sold in U.S.: 10 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 2

“Dookie” was a breakout smash for Green Day, but it wasn’t an immediate success. The album was released in February of 1994 but sold a mere 9,000 copies in its first week. It wasn’t until the following year that the album found chart success and eventually peaked at No. 2 in America.

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78. Help! (1965)
> Artist: The Beatles
> Copies sold in U.S.: 3 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

The Beatles were nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammys in 1965 for “Help!” Despite the album’s success, John Lennon admitted the title song was a literal “cry for help” from the excesses of fame and fortune.

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77. Like a Virgin (1984)
> Artist: Madonna
> Copies sold in U.S.: 10 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

“Like a Virgin” launched Madonna into super stardom not only as a recording artist, but also a live act. She jumped from playing local New York City dives to stadiums. “The Virgin Tour” grossed somewhere between $3.3 million and $5 million.

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76. Nick of Time (1989)
> Artist: Bonnie Raitt
> Copies sold in U.S.: 5 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

Bonnie Raitt struggled with depression and alcoholism before recording “Nick of Time.” After suffering a debilitating skiing accident, the singer decided to quit drinking and entered the studio with a newfound musical clarity. “Nick of Time” peaked at No. 1.

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75. Off the Wall (1979)
> Artist: Michael Jackson
> Copies sold in U.S.: 8 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 3

“Off the Wall” spent 193 weeks on the Billboard 200 chart, peaking at No. 3 on Feb. 16, 1980. Michael Jackson had signed with Epic Records just before the release, and label heads initially objected to the singer working with his new producer Quincy Jones. They were proved wrong.

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74. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
> Artist: Lauryn Hill
> Copies sold in U.S.: 8 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

Lauryn Hill broke out as a solo artist with 1998’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” She won four Grammys for the release that year — in addition to the award for Best New Artist. The album was added the Library of Congress for historic preservation in 2015.

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73. Electric Ladyland (1968)
> Artist: The Jimi Hendrix Experience
> Copies sold in U.S.: 2 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

“Electric Ladyland” was the final release for The Jimi Hendrix Experience before the guitar god moved on to his Band of Gypsies project. It was also their only No. 1 hit, topping the Billboard 200 chart on Nov. 16, 1968.

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72. Speak Now (2010)
> Artist: Taylor Swift
> Copies sold in U.S.: 6 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 1

Taylor Swift’s “Speak Now” has been a huge commercial success since its release, moving more than 6 million copies. It has also earned critical acclaim, landing at No. 66 on Billboard’s list of the 200 All Time Greatest Albums by Women.

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71. An Innocent Man (1983)
> Artist: Billy Joel
> Copies sold in U.S.: 7 million
> Billboard 200 peak position: 4

“An Innocent Man” is Billy Joel’s ninth studio release. The album scored a number of award nominations for Joel, including two American Music Awards and Grammy nominations for Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance for “Uptown Girl.”