A catchy tune might be more than just a fun song. Sometimes a musician will capture listeners' ears in unforgettable ways … leading to unimaginable sales. How much do you know about the certified best-selling albums of all time?
Album sales numbers -- particularly in the pre-digital age -- vary wildly depending on the source (and a record label's propensity for exaggeration). So while the numbers aren't exact, they'll still show you just how incredibly popular these albums really were.
"Back in Black" was made as a tribute to the band's first lead singer, Bon Scott, who died from alcohol poisoning. The album has sold more than 26 million certified copies.
The King of Pop is still the all-time king of the charts. Michael Jackson's "Thriller" has sold more certified copies than any other album.
Jackson's "Thriller" has sold around 46 million certified copies since its release in 1982. Some sources claim as many as 65 million copies. No other album since has even approached those kinds of sales figures.
Anchored by Whitney Houston's mega-hit "I Will Always Love You," the soundtrack for "The Bodyguard" has sold around 27 million copies. "Grease" fans (and related business interests) sometimes argue that their film's album actually sold more copies.
Released squarely in the middle of the 90s, Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" became an alt-rock icon. It was nominated for nine Grammy Awards and sold more than 20 million copies.
All seven singles from "Thriller" cracked Billboard's Top 10. The album won eight Grammy Awards en route to its landmark sales.
"The Dark Side of the Moon" was Pink Floyd's biggest commercial success. Released in 1973, it was the band's eighth album.
Only eight albums in music history have reached the rarified air of 40 million in sales or more. "Thriller," of course, tops the list.
"Metallica" is often simply called The Black Album and it was released in 1991. Anchored by singles such as "Enter Sandman" and "Nothing Else Matters," it went all the way to No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
"The Immaculate Collection," a compilation album, is Madonna's all-time best seller. It's sold around 20 million copies.
"Thriller" was the seventh and final single released from this album. The first single was "The Girl is Mine," which Jackson recorded with Paul McCartney.
Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" was a huge hit in the late 70s -- it sold roughly 28 million copies, more than "Nevermind" and "21."
"Dark Side" was one of the most impressive chart performers ever -- it was on the Billboard chart from 1973 to 1988, a run of 741 weeks.
For Jackson, 1987's "Bad" was nothing but good news -- it was his second best-selling album, closely followed by 1991's "Dangerous."
In 1985, Dire Straits released "Brothers in Arms," which became the No. 1 album the world over. It featured hits such as "Walk of Life" and "Money for Nothing."
The Eagles had their best sales with a compilation album called "Their Greatest Hits," which was released in 1976. The album featured songs from the band's first four studio recordings.
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" blew the minds of critics and audiences around the world. It topped music charts in the United Kingdom for 27 weeks.
For 15 weeks -- more than three months -- the charts in the United States revolved around "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Many critics hail it as one of the best albums of all time.
Meatloaf's "Bat Out of Hell" sold by the millions but it didn't win any Grammys. Grammy Awards, of course, do not always result in amazing sales figures.
"Dreamlover" was the first music from "Music Box." The album actually received lukewarm reviews but it's still her best-selling record.
"Hey Jude" was released the year after "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," which featured all sorts of experimental arrangements that changed the course of pop history.
"Bat Out of Hell" was Meatloaf's second studio album. The album was rejected by multiple record companies before he found one willing to gamble on him.
Led Zeppelin's fourth (untitled) album was released in 1971. It featured "Stairway to Heaven," and is regarded as one of the best albums in rock history.
The Bee Gees performed most of the popular songs for the "Saturday Night Fever" soundtrack. The opening track was "Stayin' Alive."
Celine Dion released "Falling into You" in 1996. The opening track was "It's All Coming Back to Me Now," written by Jim Steinman, of "Bat Out of Hell" fame.
Shania Twain's "Come On Over" was released in 1997 and set about selling like butter-smeared Southern hotcakes. It was on Billboard's Country Music Top Ten for 151 weeks.
"The Dark Side of the Moon" produced two singles, "Money," and "Us and Them." All of the lyrics on the album were written by Roger Waters.
"Hotel California" is one of the band's most enduring singles, but it hadn't been recorded when "Their Greatest Hits" was released. The compilation album opened with "Take It Easy."
"You're Still The One" was inescapable in the late 1990s, but it ran out of steam at No. 2 on the charts. Regardless, this B-side song propelled Twain's album to nearly 30 million certified sales.