Special Report

These Are the 40 Best Pop Albums Ever Made

Source: David Redfern / Getty Images

10. 1 (2000)
> Artist: The Beatles
> Albums sold: 11 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 410

The album title tells it all — it includes every Beatles song that topped the Billboard chart, from “Love Me Do” to “The Long And Winding Road.” “1” inhabited the Billboard 200 for 410 weeks. With the Beatles, you are never short of superlatives, and “1” supplied one more. As the album reached No. 1 atop the Billboard 200, the Beatles have become the only performers who had an album climb to the top position in the U.S. in four decades –1960s, 1970s, 1990s, and 2000s.

Source: Evening Standard / Getty Images

9. Led Zeppelin IV (1971)
> Artist: Led Zeppelin
> Albums sold: 23 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 281

British hard rockers Led Zeppelin have sold the fifth-most albums in history, almost 112 million in the U.S., based on data from the Recording Industry Association of America. “Led Zeppelin IV” was their greatest success, selling 23 million records. It contains classic songs such as “Black Dog,” “Misty Mountain Hop,” “Going to California,” and one of rock’s icons, “Stairway to Heaven.”

Source: P.B. Rage / Wikimedia Commons

8. Nevermind (1991)
> Artist: Nirvana
> Albums sold: 10 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 463

The grunge rockers from Washington state, led by lead singer Kurt Cobain and featuring drummer Dave Grohl, have had eight albums go platinum. “Nevermind,” the band’s best-selling album with 10 million records sold, launched alternative rock into the mainstream. Among the songs on the album are the anthemic “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “Come As You Are.”

Source: Fin Costello / Getty Images

7. Back In Black (1980)
> Artist: AC/DC
> Albums sold: 25 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 401

“Back in Black” by the Australian rockers AC/DC is one of the biggest-selling rock albums of all time, certified 25x platinum. The album peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 in December 1980, one of nine Top 10 albums by AC/DC. Among the songs still heard on classic rock radio are the title song, “Hell’s Bells,” “You Shook Me All Night Long,” and “Shoot to Thrill.”

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

6. Journey’s Greatest Hits (1988)
> Artist: Journey
> Albums sold: 15 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 606

The San Francisco rockers rank at No. 6 on this list of best pop albums with their greatest hits collection, which has spent an eye-popping 605 weeks on the Billboard 200 and reached 15 million copies sold in April of 2008. Among the best-known songs of the collection are “Any Way You Want It,” “Separate Ways,” and the anthem “Don’t Stop Believin’,” whose popularity soared after it was played on the final episode of the hit crime show “The Sopranos.”

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

5. Rumours (1977)
> Artist: Fleetwood Mac
> Albums sold: 20 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 362

Fleetwood Mac’s blockbuster hit album about addiction and heartbreak went 20x platinum in 2014, 37 years after its release. It features the band’s only Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hit “Dreams” and includes such familiar Fleetwood Mac tunes as “Go Your Own Way,” “You Make Loving Fun,” and “Second Hand News.” “Rumours” is one of 18 albums on this list that spent at least 300 weeks on the Billboard 200.

Source: Kevin Winter / Getty Images

4. 21 (2011)
> Artist: Adele
> Albums sold: 14 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 455

Adele’s sophomore album turned the singer into an international superstar, with its lead track “Rolling In The Deep” topping the singles charts in 11 countries. The recording won Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 54th Grammy Awards.

Source: RB / Getty Images

3. Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (1976)
> Artist: Eagles
> Albums sold: 38 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 316

“Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975” album from the Eagles surged past Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” last August to become the best selling album of all time in the United States. The RIAA said the album, released in 1976, was certified 38x platinum, meaning sales and streams of the recording climbed to 38 million copies. Among the hits on the Eagles album are two of their Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 singles, “One of These Nights” and “Best of My Love.”

Source: Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

2. The Dark Side of the Moon (1973)
> Artist: Pink Floyd
> Albums sold: 15 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 949

Pink Floyd’s ethereal “The Dark Side of the Moon” has only grown in mystique since its original release in 1973. It was on the Billboard 200 album chart for an astounding 949 weeks, has sold 45 million records worldwide, and is certified 15x platinum by the RIAA. Among the prog rock album’s iconic songs are “Money,” “Us and Them,” “Time,” and “The Great Gig in the Sky.”

Source: Phil Walter / Getty Images

1. Thriller (1982)
> Artist: Michael Jackson
> Albums sold: 33 million
> Total weeks on Billboard 200: 408

Michael Jackson earned his title as “King of Pop” with his sixth solo album, “Thriller.” The album is packed with hits, seven of which made it to the Top 10, including “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” and “Human Nature.” It was the first of four albums to ever accomplish this feat. The album is the second best selling of all time in the U.S., behind only Eagles’ “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975.” However, it is reportedly the best-selling album worldwide, having sold an estimated 47 million copies.

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