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Top 5 Greatest Bands, Musicians and Singers of all Time

Updated on July 17, 2011

Best selling artists

The rock & roll highway is littered with bands who - for one reason or another - could not climb their way to the top of the charts. Some had mild success with a great hit or three, others were one-hit wonders and some were very prolific song writers/singers, but couldn't produce a hit to save their souls.

This is not about them. It's about the best. The greatest artists (record sales-wise) that we know of. There are many, many great groups and this article isn't a knock on any of them. But, hey, facts are facts and these are the facts.

I will say, however, that these numbers are US only. Sorry, guys.

So, who is your favorite group or band (doesn't have to be one of these)?

Greatest artists ever!

It's about those masters who, despite sometimes being short-lived, left a trail of hits in their wake that continue to sell even today. Some are still around, others are long-since gone, but their legacy lives on. They rose to the top and stayed there.

Few of these top names on this list are a surprise, especially to those who grew up listening to them. These are the greatest of the greats. The following list are the top selling artists as certified by the RIAA. They began keeping track in 1958, so anyone before that would not be on this list.

Being that this list is the certification of records produced, it may not reflect actual sales. All of that aside, here is the top 5 list.

#5 - The Eagles - 100 Million Records

The Eagles were one of the greatest bands. They effortlessly blended country with rock, producing their own, unique style. Take it Easy and Peaceful, Easy Feeling were two of my all-time favorite songs. Only John Denver's Take me Home, Country Roads can match the road-worthiness of those songs.

#4 - Led Zeppelin - 111.5 Million Records

Like country, I was never a fan of hard rock. Just not my taste. But Led Zeppelin built a Stairway to Heaven with their hits.

For those who may not know (like me), Led Zeppelin is an English Rock Band formed in 1968.

The band members were: Jimmy Page (guitar), Robert Plant (vocals, harmonica), John Bonham (drums, percussion) and John Paul Jones (bass, guitar, keyboards, mandolin).

Elvis Presley on Amazon

#3 - Elvis Presley - 121.5 Million Records

Raise your hand if you thought he was going to be #1? I know I did. But, he's not. Who knows if he would be if he were still alive?

Perhaps the most recognizable name in entertainment history, Elvis Presley had over 800 songs, many of them hits. He also had roles in 33 films, many of them going on to become big hits, such as Viva Las Vegas, Jailhouse Rock and Blue Hawaii just to name a few.

Garth Brooks on Amazon

#2 - Garth Brooks - 128 Million Records

Now this - to me - is a complete surprise. I'll admit that I'm not much of a country music fan, so maybe I am just clueless. Regardless, the fans have spoken, and this very likable fellow has taken country music where no one has since perhaps Kenny Rogers.

The Beatles on Amazon

#1 - The Beatles - 176 Million Records

This is not a surprise. The Beatles began their revolution with the meteoric rise of rock-n-roll in the states. Some of the things they were hated for (like long hair) is nothing to get excited about now.

Their songs have withstood the test of time and each new generation, no matter how many Justin Bieber's or Britney Spears' comes along, continues to find renewed interest in them.

The greatest legacy of The Beatles, in my opinion, is that they played every song as if it were their last.

Sadly, things turned south and the greatest band ever broke up too soon. Then again, that's part of their charm. We'll never know if they could have continued their success or not.

My money's on that they would have.


So, there you have it.

The top 5 best selling music artists of all time (1958+). I hope you enjoyed this little flight back in time.


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