What are the number one best-selling discs of all time? OK, are we talking Rock, Country, Classical, Cultural, Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop, solo artist or group? Is it even a fair question when considering all the different contributions from the agglomeration of genres?
Let’s take a look at just a few popular areas. It would take a lineup of st louis tow trucks to haul in the huge numbers from all categories combined. Besides that, it would render the whole concept too mind boggling to calculate.
Jazz in the 50s
Back in the day when Jazz featured Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane and Bill Evans its sweet contribution to number one hits came with the birth of their album King of Blue. The year was 1959 and the style was as unique as the artists themselves. The results, the best-selling jazz disc of all time.
Popular sounds of the 60s
Let’s jump a decade. Now we are in the era of a musical revolution. Nothing like it before or since has been as influential as the sounds of the Beatles, Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Moody Blues – and dozens more.
The Beatles had the top two highest selling albums of the 1960s. No surprises there. In fact, the Beatles had five top-ranking albums throughout the decade. Remember who they were up against? The Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, The Who, Ray Charles to name just a few, but they still pulled it off with the buying public.
Moving into the 70s
Despite the disco era coming into its own with bands like the Bee Gees the overall sense of the 1970s started out with the audience still reeling from the Viet Nam war. The largest numbers within the listening audience remained somewhat introspective. Neil Young, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder and Fleetwood Mac gave us lyrics and tunes that kept us caught in the monkey mind of music and not necessarily out on the dance floor.
The highest ranking album of that decade was The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd in 1973. Pink Floyd also lays claim to the 2nd most ranked album in the ten year period two years later titled, Wish You Were Here.
Can’t forget the 80s
Michael Jackson’s Thiller album was a breakthrough for an audience that couldn’t get enough. However, the top- selling album of the decade was by the Pixies, entitled Doolittle. Prince, U2, R.E.M. and The Talking Heads made up the difference during a span of time that seemed to belong to a generation experimenting with new and different.
Oh the 90s
Never Mind by Nirvana, produced in 1991 ranks as the highest-selling and most sought after musical disc of the decade. Again, in 1993 Nirvana’s best-selling album, In Utero eclipsed their competition. It’s obvious that the new ears that these tunes fell on were of discriminating taste and know what they want.
The noughties (2000s)
The world’s reaction to the 2001 attacks in the US influenced the way we listened to music forever. We wanted to indulge in happier times. The best-selling album, In Rainbows by Radiohead, topped the charts in 2007. Pre-9/11 Radiohead found a large audience with their art-rock album of the year 2000, Kid A. Later in the decade, Wilco gave us Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Now into the next decade, we still have several years before we have an overall standout. Radiohead, The War On Drugs, along with Vampire Weekend are all showing strong right now. Who would you like to put in one of these decades as the highest ranking album of the time? Leave a comment below.