Best Rock Bands of All Time (Certified Sales)

by on August 23rd, 2013
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This article ranks the best rock bands of all time based on certified sales data maintained by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The top 25 rock bands of all time have collectively sold nearly 1.5 billion units. Units comprise key formats such as record albums, cassettes, CDs, and MP3s.

The rankings that follow include each rock band’s active period, top selling album, and certified unit sales. Rock musicians who are typically viewed as solo acts are not included in this list: Elvis Presley, Billy Joel, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Prince, Bob Dylan, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, and Ozzy Osbourne.

After reading “Best Rock Bands of All Time,” return to these links to read “Top Selling Music Artists of All Time,” “Best Albums of All Time (Certified Sales),” “Best_Hip_Hop_Albums_of_All_Time_(Certified_Sales),” “Best Country Albums of All Time (Certified Sales),” “Best Rock Albums of All Time (Certified Sales),” “Best R&B Albums of All Time (Certified Sales),” and “Best Soundtracks of All Time (Certified Sales).”

1. Best Rock Bands of All Time – The Beatles

Active Period: 1960-1970
Top selling album: The Beatles (The White Album)
Certified Unit Sales: 177 million

2. Best Rock Bands of All Time – Led Zeppelin

Active Period: 1968-1980
Top selling album: Led Zeppelin IV
Certified Unit Sales: 111.5 million

3. Best Rock Bands of All Time – Eagles

Active Period: 1971-1980; 1994-present
Top selling album: Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975
Certified Unit Sales: 100 million

4. Best Rock Bands of All Time – Pink Floyd

Active Period: 1965-1996
Top selling album: The Wall
Certified Unit Sales: 74.5 million

5. Best Rock Bands of All Time – AC/DC

Active Period: 1973-present
Top selling album: Back in Black
Certified Unit Sales: 71 million

6. Best Rock Bands of All Time – Aerosmith

Active Period: 1970-present
Top selling album: Toys in the Attic
Certified Unit Sales: 66.5 million

7. Best Rock Bands of All Time – The Rolling Stones

Active Period: 1962-present
Top selling album: Hot Rocks
Certified Unit Sales: 66 million

8. Best Rock Bands of All Time – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Active Period: 1972-present
Top selling album: Born in the U.S.A.
Certified Unit Sales: 64 million

9. Best Rock Bands of All Time – Metallica

Active Period: 1981-present
Top selling album: Metallica
Certified Unit Sales: 60 million

10. Best Rock Bands of All Time – Van Halen

Active Period: 1972-present
Top selling album: 1984
Certified Unit Sales: 56.5 million

Honorable Mention (Certified Unit Sales): U2 (51.5 million); Fleetwood Mac (48.5 million); Journey (47 million); Guns ‘N Roses (44.5 million); Santana (43.5 million); Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band (41 million); Chicago (38.5 milion); Foreigner (37.5 million); Def Leopard (35 million); Bon Jovi (35 million); The Doors (32.5 million); Queen (32.5 million); Dave Matthews Band (32 million); Pearl Jam (31.5 million); Boston (31 million); Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (28.5 million); Lynyrd Skynyrd (28 million).

Source(s):

“Top Selling Artists,” Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)


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