Special Report

Prince's Top-Charting Studio Albums, Ranked

Also known as His Royal Badness, the Purple One, and the High Priest of Pop, Prince was an icon of culture who shattered records in the music world. His vast body of work earned him 38 Grammy nominations and seven wins as well as an Oscar and a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

Born Prince Rogers Nelson, the son of a social worker and a musician, he Prince released his first album, “For You,” at the age of 19 – playing every instrument himself. In addition to his chart-topping albums, Prince directed and appeared in several films, opened a nightclub, and started the creative studio complex “Paisley Park” in his home state of Minnesota. (These are the most famous musicians or bands from every state.)   

To identify this musical phenomenon’s best-selling studio albums, 24/7 Tempo reviewed performance data on the Billboard 200 album charts. Albums were ranked based on an inverse score wherein a week at No. 1 is worth 200 points, a week at No. 2 worth 199 points, and so on, up to a week at No. 200 worth one point. Only studio albums were considered. Billboard data is current through the week of August 20, 2022.

Click here to see all Prince’s top-charting studio albums, ranked

Ten of Prince’s top-charting albums won him Grammy nominations, either for the entire album or for songs featured on it. The albums “Purple Rain” (No. 2 in our ranking) and “Musicology” (No. 10) each got two Grammys. Seven of Prince’s top-charting albums went multi-platinum, meaning more than two million copies of the album sold, and 16 of them made the Billboard top 10. (These are the best-selling pop albums of all time.)

One of these, “Purple Rain,” held the highest position for the longest amount of time, remaining at #1 for 24 weeks. It also spent the longest amount of time of any Prince album on the Billboard 200 – 166 weeks in total.  

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