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What Rock Bands Have Had the Bestselling Albums of the Last 21 Years?

By December 2, 2012

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Rock fans don't need to be reminded that their preferred musical style isn't nearly as popular as hip-hop or pop. (A look at the Billboard charts on any given week will prove that.) But in honor of Adele's 21 recently hitting the 10-million sales mark in the U.S., Billboard decided to put together a chart of the 21 albums that have managed that feat since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking album sales in 1991. (The chart's first No. 1 of the SoundScan era? Skid Row's Slave to the Grind.) Lots of non-rock albums have sold 10 million copies or more, but, perhaps surprisingly, the bestselling album comes from a rock band.

To build the suspense a little more, let's first take a look at the other rock (or, at least, sorta rock-like) albums to hit 10 million. At No. 20 is Linkin Park with their debut record, Hybrid Theory. (They've sold 10.03 million copies.) Then you've got Hootie & the Blowfish at No. 15 for selling 10.28 million copies of their debut, Cracked Rear View. At No. 8 is Human Clay from Creed -- 11.62 million copies -- which is just behind Santana's Supernatural with 11.73 million. The Beatles' greatest-hits collection 1 landed at No. 5 with 12.11 million copies, and Alanis Morissette checked in at No. 3 with Jagged Little Pill (14.80 million).

But No. 1? That's Metallica's self-titled 1991 disc, which has moved 15.83 copies, barely edging out Shania Twain's Come On Over and its 15.52 million sales. If you had asked me, I don't think I would have ever guessed Metallica, but suddenly it makes even more sense why the metal veterans are so happy to have control of all their masters again.

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Photo: James Minchin.


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