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Best-Selling Musical Acts in the United States

Name the bands and artists with the highest all-time album sales in the United States.
Genres loosely defined
No one buys albums any more so these are mostly older acts
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Quiz by Quizmaster
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First submittedJuly 30, 2012
Last updatedSeptember 20, 2018
Times taken31,337
Rating3.93
7:00
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Keep scrolling down for answers and more stats ...
Sales
Genre
Musical Act
178 mil
Rock
The Beatles
148 mil
Country
Garth Brooks
147 mil
Rock
Elvis Presley
112 mil
Rock
Led Zeppelin
101 mil
Rock
Eagles
83 mil
Pop
Billy Joel
81 mil
Pop
Michael Jackson
78 mil
Pop
Elton John
75 mil
Rock
Pink Floyd
72 mil
Rock
AC/DC
69 mil
Country
George Strait
69 mil
Broadway
Barbra Streisand
67 mil
Rock
Aerosmith
67 mil
Rock
The Rolling Stones
66 mil
Rock
Bruce Springsteen
65 mil
Pop
Madonna
64 mil
Pop
Mariah Carey
63 mil
Rock
Metallica
59 mil
Pop
Whitney Houston
57 mil
Rock
Van Halen
52 mil
Rock
U2
50 mil
Pop
Celine Dion
50 mil
Rock
Fleetwood Mac
50 mil
Pop
Neil Diamond
48 mil
Country
Shania Twain
48 mil
Smooth Jazz
Kenny G
48 mil
Rock
Journey
Sales
Genre
Musical Act
48 mil
Country
Kenny Rogers
47 mil
Rock
Alabama
45 mil
Rock
Guns N' Roses
45 mil
Rock
Bob Seger
45 mil
Rap
Eminem
44 mil
Country
Alan Jackson
44 mil
Rock
Santana
42 mil
Country/Pop
Taylor Swift
41 mil
Country
Reba McEntire
40 mil
Rock
Eric Clapton
39 mil
Rock
Chicago
39 mil
Pop
Simon and Garfunkel
38 mil
Rock
Rod Stewart
38 mil
Country
Tim McGraw
38 mil
Rock
Foreigner
37 mil
Pop
Backstreet Boys
37 mil
Rap
Tupac Shakur
36 mil
Folk
Bob Dylan
36 mil
Country
Willie Nelson
35 mil
Rock
Def Leppard
35 mil
Rock
Queen
35 mil
Rock
Bon Jovi
35 mil
Pop
Britney Spears
34 mil
Pop
Phil Collins
34 mil
Rock
Dave Matthews Band
34 mil
Pop
John Denver
+1
level 27
Aug 23, 2012
Whoooo 100 percent on my first go, I love music :) x
+1
level 67
Nov 11, 2016
Go outdoors and smell the roses.
+1
level 70
Dec 14, 2018
And take some good smelling tunes with you.
+1
level 32
Aug 27, 2012
I'm so happy that this douche Frank Sinatra isn't on the list!
+1
level 76
Apr 29, 2014
Whoa...
+1
level 70
Dec 14, 2018
Touche.
+1
level 76
Jan 10, 2013
I think this is the first time that I scored both below the average but above 50th percentile.
+1
level 56
Jun 24, 2014
Whaaaat ?!?!? No Menudo ?
+2
level 73
Sep 18, 2014
Please accept "Reba." In the world of country music she is as much a one-name celebrity as Madonna
+1
level 70
Dec 14, 2018
Seeing as everyone knows Reba McEntire's last name but Madonna's is virtually unknown.
+1
level 68
Nov 6, 2014
I'm calling BS on these sales figures. The Beatles have sold at least twice what triple what's listed, likewise with Elvis. Doubtless it's true a bunch of others on the list too.
+6
level 79
Nov 25, 2014
"Based on US album sales".
+1
level 68
Jan 5, 2015
I am talking about US album sales. Unless an authoritative source is posted for the figures used, I dispute the accuracy of this quiz.
+2
level ∞
Mar 23, 2015
https://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinum.php?content_selector=top-selling-artists
+3
level 79
Mar 15, 2017
Authoritative enough for you?
+1
level 70
Dec 14, 2018
That was a burn like Pyromania.
+1
level 53
Feb 19, 2015
This needs an update I think
+1
level ∞
Mar 23, 2015
I updated it just now. Only one new artist entered the list (Dave Matthews Band). No one buys albums anymore.
+1
level 70
May 22, 2015
A couple of more minutes would be very helpful.
+2
level 75
May 22, 2015
Alabama is a country band, although they have elements of southern rock, bluegrass, and gospel. Their original name was Young Country and then Wildcountry. They were awarded vocal group of the year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. They also won Grammies for best country performance by a vocal group, and Billboard named them Country Artist of the '80s. Randy Owen said, "We're country first, and crossover second." Sorry, they just aren't a rock band, no matter how loosely you define the genres.
+2
level 49
Mar 26, 2017
Although the disclaimer says 'genres loosely based', I agree that Alabama is listed entirely incorrectly.
+1
level 50
May 22, 2015
Beach Boys? Beyoncé? Aguilera? The Who? Taylor Swift? Shocked these aren't on here
+1
level 50
May 22, 2015
https://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinum.php?content_selector=top-selling-artists Quizmaster: Beyoncé or Christina aren't even on this list anywhere, which is just ludicrous. Tom Petty is listed 3 separate times. I realize you're just using the data from this website, but it's clearly flawed
+1
level 79
Mar 15, 2017
^^^ This. People just don't buy albums anymore.

They download the songs they like and stream, etc. It's not like it was prior to 2000 where there were a few "must have" albums every year.
+1
level ∞
Jun 17, 2018
Hey Taylor Swift is on the list now. I also predict that Adele will crack the top 50 at some point. But the list will not change a lot year to year.
+2
level 35
May 22, 2015
I had never ever heard of Garth Brooks...
+2
level 70
Dec 14, 2018
I don't know a single thing he's ever done except wear a cowboy hat indoors all the time like a buffoon.
+1
level 76
Dec 15, 2018
He grew a soul patch and pretended to be a bad rock musician for a while.
+1
level 75
Feb 23, 2019
Absolutely unbelievable. He's one of the greatest country singers ever, and has one of the most iconic voices. Friends in Low Places, Unanswered Prayers, The Dance...nobody can listen to Callin' Baton Rouge without their feet just gettin' up and dancin' even if the rest of them stays in the chair. Sheesh, people!
+1
level 57
Mar 25, 2017
The Backdoor Boys sold 37 million records!?! Somebody kill me now.
+1
level 58
Jul 3, 2017
this is a very different list to international sales. maybe the quizzes should not just be centred on America a little more, as people from other countries are disadvantaged in the quiz.
+1
level ∞
Jun 17, 2018
There is no reliable data for international albums sales.
+1
level 58
Aug 30, 2018
Wikipedia does but I can see your point of view as acts such as Diana Ross, Gloria Estefan, Shakira, Black Sabbath and Bing Cosby are not included because of some technicality with units.
+1
level 70
Sep 19, 2017
What?! No Slim Whitman?!!!
+1
level 70
Dec 14, 2018
What?! No Boxcar Willie?!!!
+1
level 58
Apr 29, 2018
Why is it only U.S. sales? The list is very different on international sales.
+1
level 69
May 9, 2018
Country isn't as big outside the US as at is inside. As a European I almost knew none of the country artists (with exception of Brooks and Twain)
+1
level 67
Aug 16, 2018
I'm honestly surprised Alan Jackson isn't guessed more often, if only because he's a freebie if you guess Michael Jackson by his last name.
+1
level 57
Dec 14, 2018
I had never heard this artist. Maybe, everybody isn't american?
+2
level 60
Dec 15, 2018
I think Marlowe's point was that if you just type in "Jackson" (which most people seem likely to do, as Michael Jackson is the most obvious answer to choose), you should get Alan Jackson too, even if you don't know who he is.
+1
level 61
Dec 14, 2018
Would have done better, but I spent way too much time trying to figure out if I was just spelling Prince wrong.
+1
level 48
Feb 23, 2019
One of the top five is the Bee Gees who are just behind the Beatles, Elvis, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. Not sure how they aren't on this list.
+1
level 63
Sep 9, 2019
This might be an unpopular opinion to state out loud, but I don't really miss buying albums. Most artists just didn't have enough quality material and they were actually pretty expensive for what they were. Those margins were ridiculous.
+1
level 34
Sep 9, 2019
IDK how only 40 got Rolling Stones.