The 50 best-selling music artists of all time

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The Beatles.
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Getty Images

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

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49. Phil Collins — 33.5 million units

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48. Britney Spears — 34 million units

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47. Bon Jovi — 34.5 million units

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46. Queen — 34.5 million units


45. Def Leppard — 35 million units

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44. Bob Dylan — 36 million units

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43. Tupac Shakur — 36.5 million units

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41. Backstreet Boys — 37 million units

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39. Tim McGraw — 37.5 million units

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42. Foreigner — 37.5 million units

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38. Rod Stewart — 38 million units

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37. Simon & Garfunkel — 38.5 million units

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36. Chicago — 38.5 million units

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35. Eric Clapton — 40 million units

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34. Reba McEntire — 41 million units

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33. Santana — 43.5 million units

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31. Alan Jackson — 43.5 million units

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Lady Gaga
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40. Eminem — 44.5 million units

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30. Guns N’ Roses — 44.5 million units

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32. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band — 44.5 million units

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29. Alabama — 46.5 million units

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28. Kenny Rogers — 47.5 million units

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27. Shania Twain — 48 million units

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26. Kenny G — 48 million units

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25. Journey — 48 million units

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24. Neil Diamond — 49.5 million units

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23. Fleetwood Mac — 49.5 million units

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22. Celine Dion — 50 million units

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21. U2 — 52 million units

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20. Van Halen — 56.5 million units

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19. Whitney Houston — 57 million units

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18. Metallica — 63 million units

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17. Mariah Carey — 64 million units

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16. Madonna — 64.5 million units

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15. Bruce Springsteen — 65.5 million units

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14. Aerosmith — 66.5 million units

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13. The Rolling Stones — 66.5 million units

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12. Barbara Streisand — 68.5 million units


11. George Strait — 69 million units

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10. AC/DC — 72 million units

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9. Pink Floyd — 75 million units

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8. Elton John — 78 million units

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7. Michael Jackson — 81 million units

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6. Billy Joel — 82.5 million units

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5. Eagles — 101 million units

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The Eagles in concert.
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4. Led Zeppelin — 111.5 million units


3. Elvis Presley — 136 million units

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2. Garth Brooks — 148 million units

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1. The Beatles — 178 million units

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