There’s nothing wrong with a musical guilty pleasure every now and then.
But sometimes guilty pleasures can spill out of control and become national waves of embarrassment.
We picked through the RIAA’s database to find the most unlikely — and in some cases, most shameful — all-time best-selling albums in the U.S.
Popular culture in America was never exactly high brow.
But we didn’t think it could get this low.
11) “Some Gave All” by Billy Ray Cyrus
9x platinum. The Wikipedia entry on this says it all: “Thanks to the video of [‘Achy Breaky Heart’], there was an explosion of line dancing into the mainstream, becoming a craze.” Thank God we survived.
10) “Hi Infidelity” by R.E.O. Speedwagon
9x platinum. Arguably the worst band of the ’70s, Speedwagon squeezed six songs from this one album onto the charts.
9) “Hybrid Theory” by Linkin Park
10x platinum. If teens drive record sales, then there appears to have been a massive undiagnosed wave of male youth psychosis and depression at the beginning of the 2000s.
8) “Please Don’t Hurt ‘Em” by Hammer
10x platinum. MC Hammer was the biggest thing on the planet at one point…that planet has since been vaporized by an asteroid.
7) “Human Clay” by Creed
11x platinum. Creed may have pulled the trigger in the death of rock n’ roll, but America was apparently a co-conspirator.
6) “Forrest Gump Official Soundtrack” by Various Artists
12x platinum. This album is basically a baby boomer’s list of greatest hits. “The Big Chill” soundtrack already tried this but apparently Gump did it better.
4) “Yourself or Someone Like You” by Matchbox 20
12x platinum. Alright, we get it: remember the ’90s? AND IS THERE A SOME SORT OF PILL OUT THERE TO FORGET THEM???
3) “Bat Out Of Hell” by Meat Loaf
14x. To paraphrase Norm MacDonald, this proves the improbable theory that PEOPLE LOVE MEATLOAF. Just not anyone we know.
2) “Supernatural” by Santana
15x platinum. We knew this album was everywhere in 1999…but this everywhere???
1) “Come On Over” by Shania Twain
20x platinum. It would take too long and cause too much heartache to say how many more people bought this album than others, but let’s just say it sold more copies than The Beatles’ “White Album.”
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