Special Report

Most Popular Album Every Year Since 1960

Is rock and roll dead? Maybe…or perhaps it has evolved into something altogether incomparable to what it was in the 1960s. If popular albums can represent the voice of a generation, then taking a look at how musical tastes have evolved since the 60s reveals one striking trend: an ever-increasing diversity of voices. 

24/7 Tempo has compiled the most popular album every year since 1960, revealing that the age of rock and roll may be over. From the rise of the Beatles, who released six of the most popular albums from 1964 to 1973, to the domination of stadium rock bands-Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, AC/DC, and Queen-throughout the ‘70s and early ‘80s, rock and roll had its heyday. Here are little known fascinating facts about the Beatles.

In 1982, Michael Jackson’s Thriller brought post-disco, pop, and funk into the mix of most popular albums. Then Bob Marley’s Legend added reggae to the charts in 1984. In 2003, hip-hop duo Outkast brought an eclectic mix of funk, jazz, and avant-soul to the mainstream with their 2003 album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.

Garth Brooks, who has released three of the most popular albums since 1960, brought country music to the forefront in 1989 with his self-titled album. Here are the 40 most popular country music albums of all time. 

After decades of predominantly male voices, Whitney Houston’s soundtrack for “The Bodyguard” in 1992 marked the beginning of an era of distinguished female vocalists, followed by Celine Dion, Alanis Morissette, and country crossover Shania Twain in the ‘90s, and Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Adele in the 2000s and 2010s. Pop musician Taylor Swift has released four of the most popular albums since 1960.

With the most recent popular albums being rap and electro-pop, it may be safe to say that rock and roll is aging out of the spotlight.

Click here to see the most popular album every year since 1960

To identify the most popular album the year you were born, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the albums with the highest certification in each given year going back to 1960 from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Artist information and release date were also from the RIAA.

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