When searching for the Best Selling Debut Albums of all Time I was a bit surprised at how difficult it was to find a definitive list. There were plenty of lists of opinion as to what were the best debut albums of all time, but I was purely interested in the numbers for sales alone, not if the albums were good or not. So I went to Wikipedia to see what in fact where the best selling albums worldwide, and then looked at which of those albums were debuts.
The Best Selling Debut Albums of All Time
I restricted my top ranking to new artists. So that means that even though George Michael’s debut solo album ‘Faith’ sold 25 million copies, is not in my opinion a debut album for him as an artist. Also not included are movie sound tracks, some of which did extremely well. The movie soundtrack for Dirty Dancing sold 32 million copies.
The number one selling debut album in history is Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf. Released in 1977 it took many years to achieve the status of best selling debut. The first notable debut album in the 70’s to quickly become a best seller was Boston, released in 1976. So with the understand that some albums are fast sellers and others slowly build in sales over time as new audiences discover them, here are the top selling debut’s.
All sales numbers below are ‘claimed’ sales worldwide.
- Bat out of Hell by Meat Loaf (50 million).
- Appetite for Destruction by Guns N’ Roses (30 million).
- Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park (27 million).
- … Baby One more Time by Britney Spears (25 million).
- Spice by Spice Girls and Happy Nation/The Sign by Ace of Base (tied at 23 million)
- Whitney Houston by Whitney Houston (22 million)
- Boston by Boston and Tracy Chapman by Tracy Chapman (tied at 20 million).
As mentioned, this list is taken from Wikipedia’s list of all time best selling albums, which have been ranked by claimed sales as referenced and not certified sales.