According to the RIAA(Recording Industry Association of America) these are the twenty best selling hard rock and heavy metal albums in America. I’ve also included sales totals.

Interesting tidbits: Every one of these albums has sold at least 10 Million copies….I only included original studio albums…no greatest hits…no live…no unplugged…and they have to be considered hard rock or heavy metal by the vast majority of folks.

Amazingly….FIVE! Yes Five Led Zeppelin albums make the list….that means FIVE, yes Five Zep albums have sold more than 10 million! WOWZERS!

The only other band with more than one album in the Top 20 is, unsurprisingly, Def Leppard.

Another surprise to me wasn’t so much that Green Day was in the Top 20 but that it was with an album other than American Idiot. Dookie makes it in at Number 15 with over ten million sold!

Best album cover of these 20? My pick….MeatLoaf- Bat Out of Hell….yours?

Only album on the list released in the new millenium…Linkin Park’s Hybrid Theory. Another WOW. Does that mean it may be the last truly great hard rock/heavy metal album or is it the change in how we consume our music now? I’d lean toward the latter.

20. LED ZEPPELIN – LED ZEPPELIN (TEN MILLION SOLD) Led Zeppelin 1

19. VAN HALEN – 1984 (TEN MILLION SOLD) 1984

18. LINKIN PARK – HYBRID THEORY (TEN MILLION SOLD) Hybrid Theory

17. ZZ TOP – ELIMINATOR (TEN MILLION SOLD) Eliminator

16. DEF LEPPARD – PYROMANIA (TEN MILLION SOLD) Pyromania

15. GREEN DAY – DOOKIE (TEN MILLION SOLD) Product Details

14. NIRVANA – NEVERMIND (TEN MILLION SOLD) Nevermind

13. LED ZEPPELIN – HOUSES OF THE HOLY (ELEVEN MILLION SOLD) Houses of the Holy

12. CREED – HUMAN CLAY (ELEVEN MILLION SOLD) Human Clay

11. KID ROCK – DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE (ELEVEN MILLION SOLD) Devil Without a Cause

10. DEF LEPPARD – HYSTERIA (TWELVE MILLION SOLD) Hysteria

9. BON JOVI – SLIPPERY WHEN WET (TWELVE MILLION SOLD) Slippery When Wet

8. LED ZEPPELIN II (TWELVE MILLION SOLD) Led Zeppelin II

7. PEARL JAM – TEN (THIRTEEN MILLION SOLD) Ten

6. MEAT LOAF – BAT OUT OF HELL (FOURTEEN MILLION SOLD) Bat Out of Hell

5. METALLICA – METALLICA (FIFTEEN MILLION SOLD)  Metallica

4. LED ZEPPELIN – PHYSICAL GRAFFITTI (SIXTEEN MILLION SOLD)  Physical Graffiti

3. GUNS ‘N’ ROSES – APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION (EIGHTEEN MILLION SOLD) Appetite for Destruction

2. AC/DC – BACK IN BLACK (TWENTY-TWO MILLION SOLD) Back in Black

1. LED ZEPPELIN – IV (TWENTY-THREE MILLION SOLD) Led Zeppelin IV (aka ZOSO)

6 Comments

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  3. List is now outdated….see (http://www.riaa.com/goldandplatinum.php?content_selector=top-100-albums)

    For those that can’t be bothered…. (in the order as they appear @ http://www.riaa.com)

    01. 23M LED ZEPPELIN IV – LED ZEPPELIN
    02. 22M BACK IN BLACK – AC/DC
    03. 18M APPETITE FOR DESTRUCTION – GUNS N’ ROSES
    04. 16M METALLICA – METALLICA
    05. 16M PHYSICAL GRAFFITI – LED ZEPPELIN
    06. 14M BAT OUT OF HELL – MEAT LOAF
    07. 13M TEN – PEARL JAM
    08. 12M SLIPPERY WHEN WET – BON JOVI
    09. 12M LED ZEPPELIN II – LED ZEPPELIN
    10. 12M HYSTERIA – DEF LEPPARD
    11. 11M HUMAN CLAY – CREED
    12. 11M DEVIL WITHOUT A CAUSE – KID ROCK
    13. 11M HOUSES OF THE HOLY – LED ZEPPELIN
    14. 10M 1984 – VAN HALEN
    15. 10M NEVERMIND – NIRVANA
    16. 10M PYROMANIA – DEF LEPPARD
    17. 10M ELIMINATOR – ZZ TOP
    18. 10M HYBRID THEORY – LINKIN PARK
    19. 10M LED ZEPPELIN – LED ZEPPELIN
    20. 10M VAN HALEN – VAN HALEN

    Summary: Led Zeppelin = 5, Def Leppard = 2, Van Halen = 2
    Cheers.

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