The 10 best selling albums of the 90s
The 90s was a fantastic time for music, with countless classic albums from now legendary artists. OK Computer, Parklife, Nevermind: the list goes on.
So surely the biggest selling 90s albums in the UK is a pretty epic list, right? Erm…not quite. Prepare yourself for a shock as we delve into the weird and not-that-wonderful music taste of Britain circa-1990s…
10: Falling Into You – Celine Dion
Total sold: 2,130,000
In at number 10 is everyone’s favourite Canadian chanteuse Celine Dion with Falling Into You, released in 1996.
Even though the general public’s opinion of Ms. Dion has shifted quite dramatically in the past 2 decades, Falling Into You was highly regarded in the 90s. It won Album of the Year at the Grammys, won three World Music Awards and is the 13th highest selling album of all time.
Of course, the height of Dion’s 90s fame actually came a year later, when she contributed a song to a certain film about a sinking ship…
9: Gold: Greatest Hits – ABBA
Total sold: 2,420,000
Despite breaking up in 1982, ABBA still managed to release one of the biggest selling albums of the 90s. Never underestimate the power of chirpy Swedish pop.
Gold also has the distinct honour of topping the UK charts on 4 different occasions in the 90s: once when it was released in 1992, and 3 more times when it re-released in 1999. It’s the only 90s album to top the charts in the 2000s too, hitting #1 yet again thanks to Mamma Mia.
8: Urban Hymns – The Verve
Total sold: 2,480,000
There’s no denying the quality of Urban Hymns, The Verve’s 1997 commercial breakthrough. It won countless awards, spawned two timeless singles (Bittersweet Symphony and The Drugs Don’t Work) and sold a ridiculous amount of copies.
Unfortunately, the success of the album proved too much for the band to handle, and they split up in April 1999 after some troubled tour and festival appearances. Oh, what could have been!
7: The Immaculate Collection – Madonna
Total sold: 2,500,000
Oh look, another greatest hits collection! Unlike ABBA Gold, though, this one at least contains a couple of songs recorded in the 90s (albeit at the very, very start).
Still, you can’t really fault this collection of the Queen of Pop’s best singles. Especially when you see what’s coming up next…
6: Robson and Jerome – Robson and Jerome
Total sold: 2,530,000
Robson Green and Jerome Flynn were a pair of actors who appeared on a programme called Soldier Soldier. In one episode, they sang Unchained Melody and some fans called ITV asking where they could buy it. The sound of cash registers ringing eventually attracted the attention of a certain Simon Cowell.
The result was this, an album consisting entirely of covers including Amazing Grace, Daydream Believer and cover album standard Danny Boy. Q Magazine later named it the 22nd worst album of all time.
So, in summary, an album which featured the bloke off Extreme Fishing outsold The Bends, Definitely Maybe, Nevermind and countless other classic albums. The 90s, eh?
5: Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morrissette
Total sold: 2,570,000
The queen of alt-rock angst managed to shift over 2 million copies of Jagged Little Pill, despite the confusion surrounding lead single Ironic (which contains no examples of irony whatsoever…ironically).
The album performed even better in the States, selling well over 7 million copies. Globally, it’s the 12th bestselling album of all time, outselling every single Beatles album (St Pepper’s is the nearest in 14th).
4: Talk on Corners – The Corrs
Total sold: 2,600,000
Ask anyone under the age of 21 if they like The Corrs and you’re pretty much guaranteed to get the same response as asking a caveman to describe an iPad.
In the late 90s, though, they were everyone’s favourite Celtic rock quartet. Talk On Corners was their breakthrough and is still the biggest selling album by an Irish band in the UK. It was the highest selling album of 1998 and the 9th best of 1999.
3: Spice – Spice Girls
Total sold: 3,020,000
You knew this was coming, didn’t you? The biggest girl band of all time were a bona fide cultural phenomenon in the 90s, although their debut album remains their bestseller. And why wouldn’t it be, with bangers like Wanna Be and Who Do You Think You Are?
The success of Spice led to global tours, the girl power manifesto and a movie that most people, including the Spice Girls themselves, probably want to forget about.
So, who could have possibly sold more albums than the Spice Girls? The answer lies in Manchester…
2: Stars – Simply Red
Total sold: 3,290,000
…it’s Mick Hucknall! What, were you expecting someone else?
The 4th album by Simply Red has gone platinum 12 times and was the best selling album of 1991 and 1992. The early 90s belonged to Mick Hucknall, basically, and his reign was only broken by another bunch of Mancs…
1: (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? – Oasis
Total sold: 4,160,000
Well, they had to appear somewhere. Oasis’ second album is the biggest selling album of the 90s by a long way and, unlike some of the albums on this list, is still regarded as an absolute classic (sorry Robson and Jerome).
Producer Owen Morris claims the album was recorded in just 15 days, with roughly one song completed per day. It has since sold over 20 million copies, which isn’t a bad result for just over two weeks work.
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