The 25 Best-Selling Albums of All Time

much disturbance was made this workweek by The Eagles ’ greatest hits compilation overtaking Michael Jackson ’ s Thriller as the best-selling album of all time. But that was fair in the United States, where the Eagles became the first band with a 38x Platinum Album. Worldwide, Thriller is still the best-selling album of all time with a whopping 47 million certifiable copies sold, six million ahead of Their Greatest Hits. We ’ ve compiled the acme 25 best-selling albums global, but it ’ sulfur worth noting that there are many ways to count album sales .
The RIAA counts sales of double albums like Billy Joel ’ s Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II or Led Zeppelin ’ s Physical Graffiti as two copies, basically double-counting every sale. For our purposes we ’ ve ignored that. We ’ ve besides ignored “ claimed sales ” from criminal record labels and relied on data coming immediately from the Recording Industry Association of America in the U.S. and its counterparts around the world. That means, these figures include the equivalent in on-line sales since RIAA started incorporating those numbers in 2016. This is a accurate as we could count as of Aug. 21, 2018, merely after the latest RIAA report period .

While the U.S. is by far the biggest market for album sales, respective of the LPs achieved their rank here without a distribute of avail from american audiences, most notably ABBA, who sold about adenine many copies of “ Gold: Greatest Hits in the U.K. as they did in the States. only one nation album made the tilt, Shania Twain ’ s crossing smash, Come on Over. Four acts had more than one best-seller on the list : Michael Jackson, The Eagles, The Beatles and Pink Floyd. And six unlike nations are represented : the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, Jamaica and Sweden.

sgt-pepper.jpg
Year: 1967
Label: Parlophone/Capitol
Total sales: 18 million ( 32 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 11 million
In a ten defined by sweeping cultural paradigm shifts, The Beatles ’ music helped the earth ’ s youths make sense of the changing times around them. The Fab Four ’ s fortunate years took place from approximately 1965-1969, during which they transformed themselves and continually progressed on the fantastic of scales. As John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr went from delightful hand-holding mop-tops to psychedelic luminaries, they offered a way for the world to understand the complex and radical transfer of the guard. While it could be said that The Rolling Stones were the purest rockers, The Beach Boys were the more advanced group or that Dylan was the lyrical visionary of his era, no other band had defined their generation like The Beatles. No record, however, quite encapsulates The Beatles and what they represented the direction that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band does. Falling in the middle of their fruitful, mid- ’ 60s operate, The Beatles continued Revolver ’ s experimental production techniques, sprinkled in lyrics that ranged from casual life to drug use, and combined genres including infectious pop, traditional indian music and square rock ‘n’ roll ’ n ’ roll. Like the album ’ s iconic artwork, the group ’ second music offers a bright and spontaneous sonic odds and ends, cohesively sew together and perfectly soundtracking the changing times of the 1960s. — Max Blau

pink-floyd-the-wall-cd-cover-19812.jpeg
Year: 1979
Label: Columbia
Total certified sales: 18 million ( 30 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 11 million
The bequest of Pink Floyd was not cemented with equitable The Dark Side of the Moon. The Wall is one of the greatest concept albums of all time. It tells the narrative of Pink, a disturb young man raised by an overprotective mother, who is trying to break down the wall in his mind that has been constructed by the authoritative figures in his life. It ’ s a irritating report that most can relate to or at least grok, not only because so many have suffered similar pains in life, but because it comes from the fib of a veridical person. moderate singer, bassist and establish member of the band Roger Waters wrote the album based on experiences in his own life. The themes that present themselves throughout the album stitch the floor together, making a cohesive 26-track album. The enlistment that followed the album ’ second acquittance took it to newly heights, turning it into a rock opera. The psychedelic music that Pink Floyd so heavily influenced is give throughout the entire album. Pink Floyd and The Wall not alone changed a writing style of music, but music itself.— Clint Alwahab

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Year: 1987
Label: Epic/CBS
Total certified sales: 19 million ( 35 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 10 million
It ’ mho bizarre to consider that the entirely album with five consecutive number one singles, which would go on to reach Diamond Album status in the U.S. with 10 million copies sold could always have been a commercial disappointment. But that ’ s how high the expectations were when Michael Jackson finally followed up Thriller after five years. Planned duets with Prince, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and Barbra Streisand didn ’ t come to fruition, and the end product was a profoundly personal album, with Jackson writing nine of the 11 tracks. Marred by the creepy ( and blatantly misogynous ) track “ Dirty Diana ” and its sometimes excessively legato production, the album didn ’ t quite reach the stratospheric highs of its predecessors Off the Wall and Thriller. But there were enough gems on Bad to consider it the concluding chapter in the King of Pop ’ s top out years. — Josh Jackson

celine-dion-lets-talk.jpg
Year: 1997
Label: Columbia/Epic
Total certified sales: 19 million ( 31 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 10 million
There ’ randomness nothing minor or subtle about Let’s Talk About Love, from Celine Dion ’ south vocals to the ambition of her collaborations. Barbra Streisand, Luciano Pavarotti, the Bee Gees and Diane King perform on versatile tracks. Carole King, Corey Hart and Bryan Adams wrote songs for the album. And no fewer than six Grammy-winning producers were involved, including the legendary George Martin. The album included the love-theme from Titanic, whose soundtrack barely missed making this list with just 100,000 fewer copies sold than Sgt. Pepper’s. Love her or hate her, Let’s Talk About Love made Celine Dion a global phenomenon. — Josh Jackson

madonna-immaculate.jpg
Year: 1990
Label: Columbia/Epic
Total certified sales: 19 million ( 31 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 10 million
It wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate enough to pack Madonna ’ s cleverly titled greatest hits collection with fresh remixes of some of the best pop songs of the 1980s ( “ Material Girl, ” “ Crazy for You, ” “ Like a Virgin, ” “ Open Your Heart, ” “ Lucky Star, ” “ Holiday, ” “ Into the Groove ” and eight other hit singles ), Madonna besides tacked on two new originals, both of which would crack the lead 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. The trip-hop “ Justify My Love ” with its controversial video recording would even become the singer/songwriter ’ s ninth Number One hit. This was the collection that fans had been waiting for, cementing her title as the best-selling female recording artist of all fourth dimension. — Josh Jackson

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Year: 1984
Label: Columbia
Total sales: 19 million ( 30 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 15 million
This is Springsteen ’ second finest moment. here are his strongest pop hook shot, his most ripen lyrics, his most complete vision. At farseeing survive, he reconciled the romanticism of his 1973-77 sour with the dark of his 1978-82 work. At long final, he mastered the recording studio to make it an aid to his vision quite than an obstacle, allowing him to ultimately be as powerful in the studio as he constantly had been on stage. At long last, he recognized that drollery could be as disclosure of human nature as drama, and he allowed his fishy songs to stand side by side with his dangerous ones. At retentive last, he resolved his ambivalence about dad stardom and went for it with the attention-getting choruses, biggest guitar riffs and most evangelical vocals he could muster. — Geoffrey Himes

santana-supernatural.jpg
Year: 1999
Label: Arista
Total certified sales: 20 million ( 30 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 15 million
In 1999, Carlos Santana was already a legend. His band had just been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame from a career that ranged from a performance at Woodstock to 13 gold Records between 1969 and 1982. But their next four albums didn ’ thymine get the commercial attention, and there was no argue to expect that a 1999 passing would change that. But buoyed by the hits “ Smooth, ” which featured Matchbox Twenty ’ s Rob Thomas, and “ Maria Maria ” with R & B duo The Product G & B, the album won eight Grammy Awards and the Latin Grammy for Record of the year. It was besides the band ’ south first base Number One album since Santana III 28 years in the first place. It ’ randomness pretty safe to call this one a rejoinder. — Josh Jackson

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Year: 1991
Label: Atlantic/Elektra
Total sales: 21 million ( 30 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 16 million
Metallica had been a band for a decade when they released their self-titled fifth album ( the Black Album ) in 1991. The intense and argumentative record action with producer Bob Rock occurred while three-fourths of the band was going through divorce proceedings. But with the ring partially letting move of its thrash-metal roots, the heavy metallic element of Metallica broke through to mainstream audiences, becoming the best-selling metallic album of all clock time. “ Enter Sandman ”, “ The Unforgiven ”, “ Nothing Else Matters ”, “ Wherever I May Roam ” and “ Sad but True ” remain some of the band ’ s most recognizable tracks of all time. — Josh Jackson

meat-loaf-bat.jpg
Year: 1977
Label: Cleveland International/Epic
Total certified sales: 21 million ( 43 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 14 million
The story of Marvin Lee Aday, well known as Meat Loaf, has been well documented, thanks in part to an often-aired VH1 theatrical film called To Hell and Back. Leaving an abusive life as an corpulence and misunderstood adolescent in Dallas, Texas, entirely to embrace the all-loving counterculture on the West Coast laid the way for Meat Loaf to follow as a singer, performer and actor. Although steeply influenced by Bruce Springsteen ’ s Born To Run, Bat Out of Hell combined the best elements of the urban rock opera and the musicianship of progressive-rock-influenced players, chiefly composer Jim Steinman. — Paste Staff

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Year: 1991
Label: Capitol
Total certified sales: 21 million ( 40 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 16 million
not only did this film introduce the world to the smoldering riddle bearing of John Travolta, but it cemented the Bee Gees ’ place in dad culture history. Their four tracks that kick off the double over LP disco primer— “ Stayin ’ Alive, ” “ How Deep Is Your Love, ” “ Night Fever, ” and “ More Than A Woman ” —are stone cold classics and have remained so for about on 40 years. The perch of the soundtrack is evenly vibrant and important in capturing the tone of the ‘ 70s, from disco remakes of the classical music canyon to a little latin boogaloo to plenty of pop hits that are wedged firm in the awareness of everyone alert post-1977. now if you ’ ll excuse me, I have to strut down the street carrying a paint can, looking cool as can be. — Robert Ham
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Year: 1987
Label: Geffen
Total certified sales: 21 million ( 30 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 18 million
Guns N ’ Roses embodied that coveted spot between the words “ haircloth ” ( they surely had that ) and “ alloy ” ( they rocked ) that comprise the now-infamous ’ 80s genre. Their introduction album, Appetite for Destruction, succeeded because Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven played a furiously as they chugged Jack Daniels and scarfed drugs, placing anthems like “ Welcome to the Jungle ” and “ Sweet Child O ’ Mine ” between songs like the law-evading “ Out Ta Get Me ” and heroin-addled “ Mr. Brownstone. ” But Appetite For Destruction remained rootsy even in its thickness, giving the album an air of musical authenticity unmatched by the band ’ s contemporaries. — Hilary Saunders

bob-marley-legend.jpg
Year: 1984
Label: Island
Total certified sales: 22 million
U.S. sales: 15 million
Bob Marley was a democrat champion if ever there was one, and songs like “ Get Up, Stand Up, ” with its dim-witted, unmoved abstain, spoke in generalities about the need to assert oneself in the face of dictatorship and oppression. But as a divine mouthpiece for Jah, Bob Marley was besides about spreading the love, both literally—he had at least 10 children with a count of a different women—and through songs like “ Stir It Up, ” one of Marley ’ s most feign straight-up love songs, playing out about in boring motion, as if he ’ s been suspended in a blissful stun by his sleep together. Both facets of reggae ’ s most celebrated artist are on display on Legend, which we ’ rhenium pretty sure was purchased by every college freshman for decades after it came out in 1984. — Paste Staff
abba-gold.jpg
Year: 1992
Label: Polygram/Universal
Total certified sales: 22 million ( 30 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 6 million
ABBA ’ s greatest hits compilation sold more copies than any other commemorate in the U.K. besides Queen ’ south Greatest Hits, but the swedish pop group was constantly more of a phenomenon in Europe than in the U.S., tied with the surprise success of Mamma Mia!. The 18-track album contains everything you ’ five hundred expect, from “ Dancing Queen, ” “ Knowing Me, Knowing You ” and “ Take a gamble on Me ” to closing racetrack “ Waterloo. ” This is popular perfection with melody after melody that will have you humming for days. — Josh Jackson
beatles-1.jpg
Year: 2000
Label: Apple/Parlophone, Capitol
Total certified sales: 26 million ( 31 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 12 million
The concept was simply—a compilation of every Beatles birdcall that topped the charts in the U.K. and U.S. For those counting at home, that means a double album with 27 hits covering their eight-year run from 1962 to 1970. To confirm their condition as the biggest band of all time, this greatest hits album besides topped the album charts in at least 35 different countries. It was remixed in 2015 and released with a video of all the songs in a three-disc box set called 1+ because the world can never get enough of the Fab Four. — Josh Jackson
pink-floyd-dark-side.jpg
Year: 1973
Label: Harvest
Total certified sales: 24 million ( 30 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 15 million
The Dark Side of the Moon is one of those records that seems to exist in its own fiddling world. There hasn ’ t been another quite like it before or since its let go of, and its shock on about every expression of music—songwriting, product, engineering—is even felt even decades later. In regards to Pink Floyd as a band, the album marked a distinct change of commission in the group ’ s sound, due in large region to the passing of Syd Barrett, who had been the band ’ sulfur principal songwriter until his deteriorating mental department of state forced him to leave the group. Barrett ’ s genial problems besides served as inspiration for much of Dark Side ’ second concept and themes, which focused on issues like lunacy, the passage of time, dispute and death. — Wyndham Wyeth
alanis-morissette-jagged.jpg Label: Maverick/Reprise
Total certified sales: 24 million ( 33 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 16 million
As dirt ’ s laterality began to wane in the mid 1990s, its influence could calm be felt on pop music, and nowhere was that more discernible than canadian Alanis Morissette ’ s meteoric originate with her third album Jagged Little Pill. Co-written and produced by Glen Ballard—who besides wrote a track for the # 1 best selling album of all time—Morissette married dirt, pop, and bare-assed, universal emotions in that most ’ 90s of genres, alternative rock. “ You Oughta Know, ” “ All I Really Want ” and “ Hand in My Pocket ” spurred sales, but it was truly the fourth single off the album, “ Ironic, ” a song that would cause a lot hand-wringing among english majors, that put Jagged Little Pill on this list. Emotionally raw, frequently bitter and universally accessible, Morissette put her heart into these twelve tracks, and 24 million listeners responded. — Josh Jackson
adele21.jpg
Year: 2011
Label: XL, Columbia
Total sales: 25 million ( 31 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 14 million
Ahh, the wisdom that comes with old old age. british alt-soul prodigy Adele Adkins ’ debut, 19, was stunning in spots, earning both a insomniac eye from critics and a should-have-been-huger hit single, “ Chasing Pavements, ” that absolutely demonstrates what makes her upbeat capture so appeal : a panache for gigantic hooks strung together in melismatic web of old-school energy ; an instrumentally-dense arrangement equally referencing big-band and indie-rock ; and most importantly—that part. Oh, God, that voice—a grating, aged-beyond-its-years thing of hearty smasher. On 21, she sounds fresh and poised to attack. There ’ south no change in style—this is still the stuff of a animal advanced pop-noir landscape, dense on retro textures and relationship drama. But she ’ mho sacrificed some of her introduction ’ s sparse moodiness, resulting in a more cohesive, immediate batch, littered with knock-outs. Working with an eclectic all-star production team ( including Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth, and Ryan Tedder ), Adele emerges with a well-manicured batch of songs that, while still showcasing her concern in layered musicality, shoot directly for the toss off charts with each go-round—which is precisely where she should be aiming. This is what American Idol should sound like. This is what pop radio should sound like. This is what Adele should sound like. — Ryan Reed

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Year: 1980
Label: Epic
Total certified sales: 26 million ( 50 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 22 million
When 1980 rolled around, AC/DC was on clear of the world. They ’ five hundred merely released Highway to Hell, the album that made the isthmus celebrated well outside their australian home. But on Feb. 19, with the band working on songs in the studio for their follow-up, lead singer Bon Scott went on a drink gorge and died of acute alcohol poison. The remaining members—brothers Angus and Malcolm Young, Cliff Williams and Phil Rudd—almost called it quits. alternatively they recruited Brian Johnson to take over lead vocals and released Back in Black with an all-black cover in mourning for their lost bandmate. With songs like “ Hells Bells, ” “ You Shook Me All Night Long ” and the title-track, it was an contiguous reach global, cementing the ring ’ s bequest as one of the greatest hard-rock bands of all-time. — Josh Jackson

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Year: 1977
Label: Warner Bros.
Total certified sales: 27 million ( 40 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 20 million
By 1977, hitmaking couple Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks had lost each other in a psychoactive haze. On Fleetwood Mac ’ south Rumours, that haze is compact adequate to suck the air out of the room. These 11 tracks saturate in bad religion. “ second gear Hand News ” and “ Don ’ t Stop ” put on a happy face, but even they evoke violent sensations : the stinging dribble of a cocaine high ; the loiter, afflictive realization that your marriage vows were meaningless. This tension climaxes in “ The Chain, ” where all five members air out their grievances in a slightly bizarre dancing of kabuki theater. The Nicks-anchored “ Dreams ” is even blue, employing a theme of inconsolable suffering. From the slo-mo churn of “ Oh Daddy ” to the boogying disco shamble of “ You Make Loving Fun, ” Rumours hasn ’ triiodothyronine aged a day in 35 years. It might be a snapshot of a band in queer, but it refuses to yellow. — M.T. Richards
the-bodyguard.jpg
Year: 1992
Label: RCA
Total certified sales: 28 million ( 42 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 18 million
Oh, Whitney ! You dateless prima donna, you. Whitney Houston carried half of a soundtrack that won the 1992 Album of the Year Grammy award in her authoritative top out. The movie ’ s star track, “ I Will Always Love You, ” besides won the phonograph record of The Year Grammy and highlighted a slate of songs that besides included “ I Have Nothing, ” “ Queen of The Night, ” “ I ’ meter Every Woman, ” and “ Queen of The Night. ” Pretty pathetic right ? not to be forgotten, is the fan-frickin-tastic collaboration between Kenny G and Aaron Neville, “ even If My Heart Would Break, ” along with a Joe Cocker and another Lisa Stansfield chase. Say what you will about the suspect film ( Kevin Costner ! ) but this soundtrack was early ‘ 90s gold and make no mistake about it, it ’ second all because of Whitney. — Adrian Spinelli
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Year: 1971
Label: Atlantic
Total certified sales: 29 million ( 37 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 23 million
It ’ s unmanageable to call Led Zeppelin IV the greatest “ difficult rock ” album in music history—only because ( in cattiness of its bequest ) it ’ second much, much more than a “ hard rock candy ” album. Led, as constantly, by the black-magic mojo of guitarist-producer Jimmy Page, Led Zep sincerely indulged in 1971, branching out into extended progressive-rock ( the cross, imperial epic “ Stairway to Heaven ” ), chivalric tribe ( the witchy “ The Battle of Evermore ” ) and psychedelic balladry ( the emotional centerpiece, “ Going to California ” ), in addition to their trademark electrified blues ( “ Rock and Roll, ” “ Black Dog, ” “ Four Sticks, ” “ When the Levee Breaks ” ). ashcan school tracks, eight classics : It ’ south one of the greatest rock albums always recorded, whatever it is. — Ryan Reed
shania-come-on-over.jpg
Year: 1997
Label: Mercury Nashville
Total certified sales: 29 million ( 33 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 20 million
If pop anthems are your thing, Shania Twain ’ s got more than your due dose of singable refrains. Ruling radio in the ’ 90s with hits like “ Man ! I Feel Like a Woman ” and “ That Don ’ triiodothyronine Impress Me Much, ” 1997 ’ s Come On Over debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and hang forbidden at the top for 50 consecutive weeks. It wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate just country fans that bought into the ballyhoo : couple was praised for ditching the honky-tonkin ’ that had one characterized area music, giving it a pop and rock appeal that reached an audience who wasn ’ t necessarily well-versed in twang before. The track list is punch after punch of iconic singles for Twain, from “ Honey I ’ m Home ” to “ Don ’ t Be Stupid ” and ballad “ From This Moment, ” and it ’ mho required heed for anyone looking to go deep on just how country music got sol huge. — Dacey Orr

eagles-hotel-ca.jpg
Year: 1976
Label: Rhino
Total certified sales: 32 million ( 42 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 26 million
Incredibly, the Eagles first greatest-hits collection came out 10 months before the spill of Hotel California, and now both occupy among the best-selling albums always. Their omnipresent modern-Bakersfield area sound was barely nation, not in truth rock ’ north ’ hustle in the disaffected, anarchic sense, and shot through with keyed-up metaphors and allegories about being a rich, dependent American in the post-hippie, pre-yuppie USA. Before The Eagles recorded Hotel California, founding guitarist Bernie Leadon, who had played in country-rock pioneers The Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons, quit the band and was replaced by Joe Walsh, he of the gleaming guitar riff on “ Life in the Fast Lane. ” Hotel California consequently found the Eagles at their most rock-ish, diluting much of the nation feel that populated their first gear four studio albums. Parsons, who was more or less the messiah of the country-rock sound that the Eagles had turned into something mass consumable, famously called the band ’ s early sound “ a formative dry fuck. ” But the record-buying public eat it up, sending two singles to No. 1— ” New Kid in Town ” and “ Hotel California ” —and buying a million copies within a week of exhaust. — Michael Salfino
eagles-their-greatest.jpg
Year: 1976
Label: Rhino
Total certified sales: 41 million ( 51 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 38 million
The Eagles dominated FM radio in the 1970s with five songs from this compilation album charting in the acme 10, including Number One singles “ One of These Nights ” and “ Best of My Love. ” Don Henley primitively complained about the album as “ nothing more than a ploy by the record company to sell product without having to pay extra production costs, ” but upon learning it had become the best-selling album in U.S. history, he offered a more grateful note towards those who ’ ve supported the bands music over the years : “ We are grateful for our families, our management, our gang, the people at radio and, most of all, the loyal fans who have stuck with us through the ups and downs of 46 years, ” he said in a instruction to the AP. “ It ’ s been quite a ride. ” — Josh Jackson
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Year: 1982
Label: Epic
Total certified sales: 47 million ( 66 million claimed )
U.S. sales: 33 million
Every now and then, an album comes along that we can all agree upon. It ’ s impossible to talk about the music of the ’ 80s without mentioning this watershed criminal record by the King of Pop. The Quincy Jones-produced 1982 classic was able to transcend genre and appeal to fans of all demographics, and it ’ s not surprise that it remains the best-selling phonograph record of all time, with 110 million copies sold. Since its turn, countless others have tried to replicate its pop perfection, but no matchless can touch the killer bassline on “ Billie Jean, ” Jackson ’ south impassioned snarl on “ Beat It, ” the danceability of “ Wan sodium Be Startin ’ Somethin ” or, yes, even Vincent Price ’ s camp spoken-word part on the omnipresent entitle track. It produced a sock seven clear 10 hits for Jackson, and while that ’ mho obviously not a measure of aesthetic deserve ( we ’ ra looking at you, Katy Perry ), it ’ s safe to say that Michael Jackson was pop music in the ’ 80s and that the bequest of Thriller is one that can not be ignored.— Bonnie Stiernberg

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