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What are the all-time best-selling albums in Canada? Let’s take a look.

Earlier this week, there was a story about how The Eagles Greatest Hits: 1971-1975 was once again certified as the best-selling album in the US. The Recording Industry Association of America did an accounting of sales–the first time it looked at this particular album–and determined that it has sold 38 million units. That vaulted The Eagles back into first place over Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which officially sits at 33 million. (Just wait, though. Once the RIAA gets around to looking at MJ’s sales, Thriller will be back in on top.)

That’s fine, but what about the all-time best-selling album in Canada?

As I pointed out in the Eagles article, determining overall album sales is fraught with all kinds of issues. While SoundScan–the point-of-sale counting system that’s more accurate than the old easily-corruptible methods of estimates and guesses that it replaced–rolled out in the US in 1991, we didn’t get it until 1995. That means the numbers of any album released in Canada before 1995 should be taken with a grain of salt.

David Farrell goes through these issues and more at (read it; it’s good). The article starts with eleven albums we can be assured of having sold more than 2 million copies in Canada (known as “double diamond”) but that’s as accurate as we can get. Note that they’re not ranked by overall sales by the year in which they received their double diamond certification.

  1. Shania Twain – Up (2004)
  2. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (2003)
  3. Shania Twain – Come On Over (2000)
  4. Shania Twain – The Woman In Me (1999)
  5. Alanis Morissette – Jagged Little Pill (1996)
  6. Pink Floyd – The Wall (1995)
  7. Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell (1995)
  8. Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin 1V (1995)
  9. Fleetwood Mac – Rumors (1995)
  10. Eagles – Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (1987)
  11. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1984)

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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2 thoughts on “What are the all-time best-selling albums in Canada? Let’s take a look.

  • Imagine the list if Columbia House introductory picks were included (and BMG to a lesser).
    Pretty sure Simon & Garfunkle GH, Nazareth GH, Blood Sweat & Tears GH, Santana Abraxas …

    Dark Side Of The Moon should have an asterix- there’s no way anybody bought that album anywhere near list price. Career 2.99- 4.99 front sale rack special.

  • Determining Canada’s best-selling albums by Double Diamond certifications is not accurate, because an album being certified Double Diamond doesn’t mean it sold 2 million copies. For example, Shania Twain’s 2002 album “Up” was certified Double Diamond, but according to the 2014 Nielsen Music Canada Report it has only sold 1.1 million copies.


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