Top 10 Best-Selling Country Albums of All Time
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
When you think of best-selling country albums, you tend to think of artists who have achieved gold or platinum status. Nowadays, albums that debut at the top of the country charts are lucky to see 50,000 copies sold that first week, and then sales dwindle from there. The albums on this list are mega-selling albums. Each has sold at least 10 million copies, and these artists are among music icons like The Beatles, Billy Joel, and Whitney Houston when it comes to record sales.
Notes: I am not including greatest hits albums on this list. So, while “Kenny Rogers’ Greatest Hits” has sold more 12 million copies and Patsy Cline’s “Greatest Hits” has sold 10 million, they’re not listed here.
Where there are ties in platinum status according to RIAA, the higher rank has been given to the album certified longest ago, with the presumption that most recent certification is the closest to its present quantity shipped. The longer it’s been since it’s been recertified, the more it could have sold since.
Also keep in mind that RIAA counts units shipped, not sold, and double albums count as two items shipped, whereas Billboard‘s charts actually count items purchased, no matter how many pieces are inside.
*Garth Brooks: ‘Double Live’
Garth Brooks’ “Double Live,” is his best-selling album, certified at 21 times platinum.
*Of course, there are two CDs counted for RIAA certification in each sale, so that would make 10.5 million sets sold and would put this closer to the bottom of the list instead. And if we could somehow quantify all the units sold of the same album to the same person every time he changed the album cover (a new-cover-with-every-million-pressed cash-grab scheme to inflate sales and try and top the Beatles)—well, maybe we should just skip to the record with 20 million in actual sales.
Shania Twain: ‘Come on Over’
If we discount the double album at the top of the list, Shania Twain has the record hands down at more than 20 times platinum with “Come on Over.” Billboard also ranks it at the top of its list of all-time greatest country albums. Twain is among the biggest selling female artists of all time in any genre of music. Interestingly, the album did not debut at the top of the Billboard‘s Country Albums chart but came in at No. 2, selling 172,000 copies the first week. Eleven of its songs charted on country radio in the top 30, including three No. 1s: “Love Gets Me Every Time,” “You’re Still the One,” and “Honey I’m Home.”
Garth Brooks: ‘Ropin’ the Wind’
Garth Brooks’ “Ropin’ the Wind” has sold 14 million copies and even hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart—that’s the mainstream pop chart, folks—and resided there for 18 weeks. Atop the country chart, it was stuck for 33 weeks. The years 1990 and 1991 were very good to Garth Brooks.
Shania Twain: ‘The Woman in Me’
Coming in at 12 times platinum, Shania Twain’s “The Woman in Me” sat atop the Top Country Albums chart for 29 weeks and made it to No. 5 on the pop 200 on the strength of hits “Any Man of Mine” (No. 1 for two weeks on Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts, No. 33 Hot 100), “If You’re Not in It for Love” (No. 1 two weeks, Hot Country), “You Win My Love” (No. 1 two weeks, Hot Country), “No One Needs to Know” (No. 1 one week, Hot Country). The title track peaked at “only” No. 14.
Shania Twain: ‘Up!’
Up, up, up Shania Twain’s album went. Not satisfied with sitting atop the country albums chart for six weeks, the 11-million seller hit No. 1 on the 200 pop albums chart, hanging out there for five weeks too.
Dixie Chicks: ‘Fly’
The Dixie Chicks’ sophomore release, “Fly,” was a huge seller, coming in at 10 times platinum. It debuted at No. 1 on both the Billboard Country Albums chart and the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. Seven of the tracks were released as singles, providing the group with four more Top 5 singles, including two more No. 1 songs: “Cowboy Take Me Away” and “Without You.” The Dixie Chicks also won two more Grammy Awards for Country Album and Best Country Performance by a Group or Duo for “Ready To Run,” which was also part of the “Runaway Bride” soundtrack.
Garth Brooks: ‘Sevens’
Ten million copies of “Sevens” were certified as shipped by RIAA. The first 777,777 copies had a gold sticker calling them first editions. Two Country No. 1s came off that record, in “Two Pina Coladas” and “Longneck Bottle,” as well as the No. 3 “You Move Me.”
Garth Brooks: ‘Garth Brooks’
Garth Brooks’ self-titled debut album barely made Billboard‘s Country Albums chart, as it debuted at No. 71 on the May 20, 1989, chart. It eventually peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and No. 13 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. It has since sold 10 million copies, tied with “Sevens” (both most recently certified on the same day in 2006). He released four singles from the album: “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” “If Tomorrow Never Comes,” “Not Counting You,” and “The Dance.” “Much Too Young” peaked at No. 8, but the second single became his first No. 1. “The Dance” hit No. 1 the following summer.