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What Is The Most Popular Vinyl Record Of All Time?

What Is The Most Popular Vinyl Record Of All Time?

Tom |

Michael Jackson's Thriller album is widely considered to be the best-selling vinyl record of all time, with estimated global sales figures exceeding 66 million units since its release in 1982. Overall popularity, however, can be pretty subjective as trends can change drastically through the years. 


In today's article, we'll take a closer look at some of the most popular and influential records of all time, from 7" singles to 12" albums - and the sorts of numbers that they were able to achieve… 

1 - 7" Singles

'Hound Dog' by Elvis Presley is considered to be one of the most popular singles of all time
  1. Elvis Presley - "Hound Dog" / "Don't Be Cruel": Released as a double-sided single in 1956, both songs became huge hits for Elvis and are considered classics in Rock 'n' Roll history.


  2. The Beatles - "Hey Jude" / "Revolution": This single, released in 1968, spent nine weeks at the top of the charts in the United States and remains one of The Beatles' most celebrated and commercially successful songs.


  3. Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody": This ground-breaking and influential single by Queen, released in 1975, achieved massive success and is often regarded as one of the greatest rock songs ever recorded.


  4. Michael Jackson - "Billie Jean": As one of Michael Jackson's signature songs, "Billie Jean," released in 1983, became a chart-topping success and remains an iconic hit in music history.


  5. The Rolling Stones - "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction": Released in 1965, this hit single by The Rolling Stones became a symbol of the rebellious spirit of rock 'n' roll and is highly regarded in music history.


  6. Bob Dylan - "Like a Rolling Stone": Considered one of Dylan's greatest compositions, this single, released in 1965, was a departure from traditional song structures and is often cited as a pivotal moment in popular music.


2 - EPs

The Beatles
The Beatles' Twist and Shout EP topped the UK EP chart for 21 consecutive weeks!
  1. Nirvana - "Blew": Released in 1989, this EP helped propel Nirvana to wider recognition before their groundbreaking album "Nevermind." It's highly regarded among fans and collectors.


  2. The Beatles - "Twist and Shout": This EP, released in 1963, featured the iconic song "Twist and Shout" and other tracks, further solidifying The Beatles' popularity during the early years of Beatlemania.


  3. The Smiths - "Hatful of Hollow": Although technically not an EP, "Hatful of Hollow" was a compilation album released in 1984 featuring various singles, B-sides, and alternate versions. It's often considered among the essential releases in The Smiths' discography.


  4. The Strokes - "The Modern Age": Released in 2001, this EP was a significant introduction to The Strokes' music and played a crucial role in their rise to prominence during the early 2000s indie rock scene.


  5. Radiohead - "My Iron Lung": Released in 1994, this EP featured the title track along with several other songs and served as a bridge between Radiohead's albums "Pablo Honey" and “The Bends”.


3 - 12" Singles

New Order
New Order's ‘Blue Monday’ has to date sold over one million copies in the UK alone! 
  1. New Order - "Blue Monday": Released in 1983, this iconic 12" single is one of the best-selling singles of all time. Its innovative electronic sound and distinctive sleeve design made it a landmark in dance and alternative music.


  2. Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five - "The Message": This influential hip-hop single, released in 1982, is often cited as one of the greatest rap songs ever. Its socially conscious lyrics and pioneering sound had a profound impact on the genre.


  3. Prince - "When Doves Cry": The 12" single release of this song, from Prince's album "Purple Rain" (1984), became a massive hit, showcasing Prince's musical prowess and unique style.


  4. Depeche Mode - "Enjoy the Silence": This 1990 12" single from the album "Violator" is one of Depeche Mode's most iconic songs and remains a staple in electronic music history.


  5. Daft Punk - "Around the World": Released in 1997, this 12" single by Daft Punk became a global dance anthem, contributing to the duo's rise as electronic music pioneers.


  6. Duran Duran - "Hungry Like the Wolf": The 12" single release of this song in 1982 helped solidify Duran Duran's success, blending new wave and pop elements to create a memorable hit.

Check out our post about the top 12" singles of all time.

5 - LPs

Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson's ‘Thriller' is a must-have for any collection!

Michael Jackson - “Thriller”: With over 66 million copies sold worldwide to date, Michael Jackson's Thriller (released in 1982) is widely considered to be the most successful album of all time!


The Eagles - “The Greatest Hits 1971 - 1975”: The only compilation album in the list - This Eagles release from 1976 has sold over 42 million units globally. 


AC/DC - “Back in Black”: Released in 1980, AC/DC's 7th studio album has sold more than 50 million copies to date.


Pink Floyd - “The Dark Side of The Moon”: Pink Floyd's eighth studio album was released in 1973, and has since sold more than 45 million units.


Meat Loaf - “Bat Out of Hell”: Inspired by a hypothetical Peter Pan rock musical, this iconic Meat Loaf release has accumulated worldwide sales of over 43 million copies.

Now, we understand that accurately claiming a record to be the ‘most popular’ isn't an exact science, as there are many different factors that can influence popularity in the music industry, things like current trends, marketing, an artist's persona and influence, as well as things like airtime and exposure at any given time. 


Was your favourite album or single featured on one of these lists? Let us know what your favourite release of all time is down below!

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1 comment

I found your compilations very interesting.


Noel Green BSc

Noel Green BSc ,

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