5 Highest Selling Pop Albums Of All Time, Ranked
17th April 2021

Our concept of pop music has changed drastically over the past several decades. Pop music originated as a spin-off of 1950’s rock and roll that catered specifically to youth, according to Slide Share.  The term is essentially short for ‘popular music;, making it quite difficult to define the limits of the genre. Generally, pop music is upbeat and happy, though there re plenty of melodic and sappy love pop songs, too! Some of the most notable early pop artists included The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, and Abba. Today, the genre is dominated by the likes of Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, and Beyoncé. Through the decades, some pop records have become iconic, selling millions of copies. These are the all time top-sellers in the genre.

Related: 5 Richest Pop Stars Under 30, Ranked By Net Worth

5 ABBA- Gold: Greatest Hits

ABBA are an iconic Swedish pop group who dominated the airwaves in the mid to late 70’s. Their unique sound and poppy melodies are still very much adored today. Their 1992 compilation album, Gold: Greatest Hits, was released in 1992, and quickly became one of the top-selling albums of all time. With 30 million copies sold, it became ABBA’s most successful release, and gave fans a heavy dose of their classics. The original 1992 release included 19 of their hits, though the record was later re-released to include an additional second disc, with 11 more tracks. Classic pop listening, this album is definitely one of the greatest pop records of all time.

4 Madonna- The Immaculate Collection

Madonna is one of the most notorious and influential musical artists of our time. Respectfully coined the ‘Queen of Pop’, Madonna’s career has spanned over 5 decades, and has included the release of 14 full length albums. Her rebellious nature and shock value was part of her appeal, especially in the late 80’s and early 90’s, when women in pop culture were starting to experiment more with nonconformity. In 1990, a compilation of some of her best hits, called The Immaculate Collection, was released. The album received rave reviews, and is considered as a required pop album for any collector. With over 30 millions copies sold, it became Madonna’s best-selling album, according to Music Fandom, and is one of the most iconic albums of the late 20th Century.

3 Adele- 21

Adele came onto the music scene in 2008, when her debut album, 19, was released. Her strong vocals and deep lyrics gained her a mass following of fans, and she quickly became a household name in the pop music world. Her follow up album, 21, was released in 2011, and reached 14 times Platinum in the United States. The concept album is filled with emotional lyrics and difficult themes; the album was inspired by a breakup, and her powerful break-up ballads quickly became anthems for anyone who has suffered through a broken heart. Will sales of over 31 million copies, 21, became one of the fastest-selling pop records of all time. The fact that Adele was only 21 years old when this record was recorded and released only adds to the immensity of the accomplishment!

2 Michael Jackson- Bad

No one has quite been able to make pop music the way that iconic legend, Michael Jackson, did. He is notably one of the best musicians to have ever lived, and leaves behind a huge legacy. The King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson released 10 studio albums before his tragic death, in 2009. His best-selling album, Bad, was released in 1987, and became the soundtrack to late 80’s life for teens around the world. Selling over 35 million copies worldwide, it became one of the top selling albums of all time. Some of his biggest hits, like ‘Smooth Criminal’, ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’, and the title track, ‘Bad’ appeared on this album.

1 Michael Jackson -Thriller

The top-selling pop album of all time goes to Michael Jackson’s 1982 album, Thriller. With an incredible 66 million copies sold worldwide, and reaching Platinum status 33 times in the United States, the album is not only the top-selling pop album, but the top-selling album across all genres…ever. Recorded at the Westlake Recording Studios in Los Angeles, the album was produced by legendary music mogul, Quincy Jones. Michael blended disco, pop, rock, and funk sounds to make this masterpiece of an album. From start to finish, it is loaded with nonstop energy and grooves that just make you want to dance. This is an absolute must for any pop music collection. Almost 40 years later, it’s still the best!

Read Next: What Made Kanye West A Pop Culture Icon

Sources: Slide Share, Wikipedia, Music Fandom

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