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The 50 best-selling music artists of all time

The BeatlesGetty ImagesThe Beatles.

England’s greatest rock band holds the top spot on the 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 US, as provided by the RIAA.

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

50. Dave Matthews Band -- 33.5 million units

Fergus McDonald/Getty

49. Phil Collins -- 33.5 million units

Ian Gavan/Getty

48. Britney Spears -- 34 million units

Kevin Winter/Getty

47. Bon Jovi -- 34.5 million units

Rob Harrison/Getty Images

46. Queen — 34.5 million units

Michael Montfort/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

45. Def Leppard -- 35 million units

Mark Mainz/Getty

44. Bob Dylan -- 36 million units

Getty Images

43. Tupac Shakur -- 36.5 million units

Columbia Pictures

42. Foreigner -- 37 million units

Mike Coppola/Getty

41. Backstreet Boys -- 37 million units

Getty

40. Eminem -- 37.5 million units

Kevork Djansezian/Getty

39. Tim McGraw -- 37.5 million units

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

38. Rod Stewart -- 38 million units

Kevin Winter/Getty

37. Simon & Garfunkel -- 38.5 million units

Adam Rountree/Getty

36. Chicago -- 38.5 million units

Scott Gries/Getty

35. Eric Clapton -- 40 million units

chris87 / Shutterstock.com

34. Reba McEntire -- 41 million units

Charley Gallay/Getty

33. Santana -- 43.5 million units

Kevin Winter/Getty

32. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band -- 43.5 million units

Jason Merritt/Getty

31. Alan Jackson -- 43.5 million units

Vince Bucci/Getty
Lady Gaga

30. Guns N' Roses -- 44.5 million units

Kevin Winter/Getty

29. Alabama -- 46.5 million units

Kevin Winter/Getty

28. Kenny Rogers -- 47.5 million units

Scott Gries/Getty

27. Shania Twain -- 48 million units

Al Bello/Getty

26. Kenny G -- 48 million units

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

25. Journey -- 48 million units

Wikimedia Commons

24. Neil Diamond -- 49.5 million units

Ethan Miller/Getty

23. Fleetwood Mac — 49.5 million units

Scott Dudelson/Getty Images

22. Celine Dion -- 50 million units

Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

21. U2 -- 52 million units

20. Van Halen — 56.5 million units

Daniel Knighton/Getty Images

19. Whitney Houston -- 57 million units

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

18. Metallica — 63 million units

David Wolff - Patrick/Redferns/Getty Images

17. Mariah Carey -- 64 million units

Frederick M. Brown/Getty

16. Madonna — 64.5 million units

Venturelli/Getty Images for LDC Foundation

15. Bruce Springsteen -- 65.5 million units

Matt Kent/Getty Images

14. Aerosmith -- 66.5 million units

Kevin Winter/ Getty Images

13. The Rolling Stones — 66.5 million units

Dave J Hogan/Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

12. Barbara Streisand — 68.5 million units

Tasos Katopodis/WireImage for BSB/Getty Images

11. George Strait -- 69 million units

Kevin Winter/Getty

10. AC/DC -- 72 million units

Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella

9. Pink Floyd — 75 million units

Erika Goldring/Getty Images

8. Elton John — 78 million units

Daniel Perez Garcia-Santos/Redferns/Getty Images

7. Michael Jackson -- 79 million units

6. Billy Joel -- 82.5 million units

Nicholas Hunt/Getty

5. Eagles -- 101 million units

Getty
The Eagles in concert.

4. Led Zeppelin — 111.5 million units

Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage/Getty Images

3. Elvis Presley -- 136 million units

Wikimedia Commons

2. Garth Brooks -- 136 million units

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

1. The Beatles -- 178 million units

Getty Images

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article ranked artists by “total certified units” of worldwide sales for albums, singles, and music videos. The information included was outdated and inaccurate, so we’ve updated with proper certified RIAA numbers.

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