The 50 best-selling music artists of all time

AppleThe Beatles.

England’s greatest rock band holds the top spot on this all-time ranking of best-selling artists by album sales, and it looks untouchable on a bizarre list filled with a number of surprising appearances.

It’s somewhat shocking to find out, for instance, that smooth-jazz saxophonist Kenny G has sold more albums than Eminem, and that Garth Brooks has sold more than Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson.

We compiled this list by ranking the most successful acts in music history according to their total certified album units sold in the U.S. (including streaming figures), as provided by the RIAA.

Check out the 50 best-selling music artists of all time by album sales:


50. Phil Collins — 33.5 million units

Getty

49. Bon Jovi — 34.5 million units

Getty

48. Britney Spears — 34.5 million units

Getty

47. Queen — 34.5 million units

Getty

46. Def Leppard — 35 million units

Getty

45. Bob Dylan — 36 million units

Getty

44. Tupac Shakur — 36.5 million units


43. Prince — 36.5 million units

Getty

42. Backstreet Boys — 37 million units

Getty

41. Tim McGraw — 37.5 million units

Getty

40. Foreigner — 37.5 million units

Getty

39. Rod Stewart — 38 million units

Getty

38. Simon & Garfunkel — 38.5 million units

Getty

37. Chicago — 38.5 million units

Getty

36. Eric Clapton — 40 million units

Getty

35. Reba McEntire — 41 million units

Getty

34. Santana — 43.5 million units

Getty

33. Alan Jackson — 43.5 million units

Getty

32. Eminem — 44.5 million units

Getty

31. Guns N’ Roses — 44.5 million units

Getty

30. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band —  44.5 million units

Getty

29. Alabama —  46.5 million units

Getty

28. Kenny Rogers — 47.5 million units

Getty

27. Shania Twain — 48 million units

Getty

26. Kenny G — 48 million units

Getty

25. Journey — 48 million units

Getty

24. Neil Diamond — 49.5 million units

Getty

23. Fleetwood Mac — 49.5 million units

Getty

22. Celine Dion — 50 million units

Getty

21. U2 — 52 million units

Getty

20. Van Halen — 56.5 million units

Getty

19. Whitney Houston — 58.5 million units

Getty

18. Metallica — 63 million units

Getty

17. Mariah Carey — 64 million units

Getty

16. Madonna — 64.5 million units

Getty

15. Bruce Springsteen — 65.5 million units

Getty

14. Aerosmith — 66.5 million units

Getty

13. The Rolling Stones — 66.5 million units

Getty

12. Barbra Streisand — 68.5 million units

Getty

11. George Strait — 69 million units

Getty

10. AC/DC — 72 million units

Getty

9. Pink Floyd — 75 million units

Getty

8. Elton John — 78 million units

Getty

7. Michael Jackson — 81 million units

Getty

6. Billy Joel — 82.5 million units

Getty

5. Eagles — 101 million units

Getty

4. Led Zeppelin — 111.5 million units

Getty

3. Elvis Presley — 146.5 million units

Getty

2. Garth Brooks — 148 million units

Getty

1. The Beatles — 178 million units

Getty

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.