Top-selling Rock Bands Of All Time: Groups That Redefined The Rock ‘N Roll Scene
By Bluei Fausto
From Beatles, Rolling Stones, to U2, there comes a broad range of rock bands that have helped shaped and redefine the musical mainstream of the last decades.
To date, although the classic rock fever of the 1950s have long piped down, it remains undeniable that many rock bands have managed to not just secure chart-topping singles but also astronomical fortune as well.
To let you know who among these groups shone the brightest and scored the highest during their prime, we have prepared a list of the 10 top-selling rock bands of all time.
Units sold: 85.6 million
Taking pride in a total of 25 gold albums, 18 platinum albums, and 12 multi-platinum albums, Aerosmith had proven themselves to be one of the biggest faces in the ‘rock n roll’ scene. Consisting of guitarist Brad Whitford, bassist Tom Hamilton, drummer Joey Kramer, singer/songwriter Steven Tyler, and lead guitarist/songwriter Joe Perry, this iconic American rock band is the team behind the popular album tracks “Dream On” and “Sweet Emotion.”
Formed in 1970 with the name Jam Band, Aerosmith, as we know them today, has managed to sell a whopping 85.6 million certified units worldwide, making them one of the top-selling rock bands of all time.
9. Rolling Stones
Units sold: 99.3 million
While the Beatles were quick to gain the “good boy” band vibe during the peak of their career, the Rolling Stones secured the exact opposite, with images of sex, drugs, and wildness attached to their names.
Consisting of guitarist Ron Wood, singer/songwriter Mick Jagger, drummer Charlie Watts, singer/guitarist/songwriter Keith Richards, and bassist Bill Wyman, this English rock band has been rocking the roll since 1962, making them the longest-performing rock band of all time.
From the classic raven long hair and mod-style suits to their wild and seductive musical attitude, no other rock band has managed to shape the rock ‘n roll culture as much as the Stones. Overall, this group of brash punks secured a total of 99.3 million units sold.
Units sold: 108 million
Most known for their chart-topping hits like “Nothing Else Matters” and “Enter Sandman,” Metallica has proven themselves to be king in the heavy metal band league.
Consisting of the drummer Lars Ulrich, the guitarist/songwriter/singer James Hetfield, the guitarist/songwriter Kirk Hammett, and the bassist Jason Newsted, this group of musicians has, no doubt, managed to redefine what it means to live a ‘metal’ life.
With nine Grammy Awards and over 101.7 million certified units sold worldwide, Metallica remains to be one of the top-selling rock bands of all time.
Units sold: 109.7 million
No rock band list could ever be complete with the mention of the Irish rock band U2.
Formed in 1976, the group, which includes Bono, the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr., first entered the US Top 40 with “Pride in the Name of Love” in 1984. About three years later, they skipped a few positions and impressively landed straight into the top hits with their iconic “With or Without You.”
Today, with 22 Grammy Awards and over 109.7 million certified units sold, U2 remains to be a colossal figure in the rock band realm.
Units sold: 115.7 million
From Highway to Hell” to “Thunderstruck,” AC/DC offers a broad range of songs that have made their mark on the industry.
Although many dubbed their songs as hard rock, blues rock, and heavy metal, the band remained to call their songs simply “rock and roll.” To date, the group remains to hold the title as Australia’s greatest band, with two UK Music Video Awards, four Classic Rock Roll of Honour Awards, and one Grammy.
Overall, AC/DC is said to have sold over 115.7 million certified units, making them the sixth top-selling rock band of all time.
5. Pink Floyd
Units sold: 120.7 million
Formed in 1965, this British rock band is the team behind the masterpiece albums “The Dark Side of the Moon,” “Wish You Were Here” and “The Wall.”
Most known for their psychedelic and progressive rock music, Pink Floyd has managed to engrave their names in the music industry with their iconic sonic experimentation and philosophical lyrics.
To date, the group is widely considered to be one of the most commercially successful and influential rock bands of all time, with two Grammy wins and 120.7 million units sold worldwide.
4. Led Zeppelin
Units sold: 140.1 million
Ah, of course, who could forget about this legendary group? Formed in 1968, Led Zeppelin has stood to be one of the most influential figures in the history of rock music, with vocalist Robert Plant, guitarist Jimmy Page, bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, and drummer John Bonham.
Most known for their hit songs “Whole Lotta Love,” “Black Dog,” and the epic anthem “Stairway to Heaven,” the group has a lengthy list of awards, including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
Overall, Led Zeppelin has managed to score a total of 140.1 million units during the length of their career.
Units sold: 141.6 million
Recognized to be one of the biggest stadium rock bands in the world, Queen has made countless marks on history with their timeless masterpieces including “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions,” “I Want to Break Free,” and many more.
Consisting of the famous frontman Freddie Mercury, guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor, and bass guitarist John Deacon, this British rock band has unquestionably rocked the world as they courageously experimented with a variety of musical genres.
Given their undeniable popularity, it is no wonder that Queen has managed to bag a total of 141.6 million units during their career, making them the third top-selling rock band of all time.
Units sold: 149.6 million
Formed in 1971, this American rock band hit its commercial peak in late 1976 with the launch of the legendary anthem “Hotel California.” However, aside from this epic masterpiece, the Eagles also offer a range of other iconic songs, including “Best Of My Love”, “Tequila Sunrise” and “Witchy Woman.”
In fact, the band has been so popular that they were the only music icons to have secured two of the three best-selling albums in U.S. history. Their greatest hits compilation sold more albums in the US than any other album, except for Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
Overall, the Eagles sold over 149.6 million certified units.
1. The Beatles
Units sold: 278 million
Who else would claim the title of the top-selling rock band of all time other than The Beatles? Regarded as the foremost and most influential band in popular music history, this English rock band, consisting of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, is the team behind the popular songs “Come Together,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Hey Jude,” “Yesterday,” “Let It Be,” and many more.
To date, although the Beatles have long exited the music scene, their influence remains as colossal as ever.
As a matter of fact, despite being active for only a decade, the legendary English rock band has managed to sell over 278 million certified units, making them, unsurprisingly, the top rock band on our list.
From growing up with their songs and seeing their posters to hearing their names and unconsciously memorizing their lyrics, there is no denying that these rock bands remain to be the most influential and legendary names in the music industry.
With these impressive credentials, it is no wonder that many fans all over the globe are willing to spend big money just to see them and hear them perform live.
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