Country music arose from a combination of American folk music, blues, cowboy western, and a variety of Southern church music in the early 1900s. By the 1940s, it was an established genre and has evolved into one of the most popular and top selling kinds of music.
As it has evolved musicians have fused country with other genres such as pop, rock, and hip-hop, giving birth to new sounds that continue to top the charts.
To determine the best selling country albums of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on certified U.S. album sales from the Record Industry Association of America. Country albums — albums identified as country by the RIAA or that have charted on Billboard magazine’s Top Country Albums chart — were ranked based on lifetime U.S. unit sales. Data on certification also came from the RIAA. Historical chart data used to determine performance on the Billboard 200 was collected October 2021.
This list is mostly dominated by albums from the 1990s and 2000s but there are some more recent records. The 90s and 00s were a golden era for country stars. Legends like Garth Brooks and Shania Twain pumped out megahits and cleaned up on the best-selling albums of all time.
Taylor Swift also scored several hits on the list with her modern fusion of country and pop. While the sounds of the 90s and 00s have transformed, country music is very much a living and growing genre. These are the 50 most popular country music stars right now.
Many of the artists whose work makes this list are some of the best-selling musicians in any genre. Most of the albums on this list reached the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 and a few stayed there for several weeks.
Two of the albums are movie soundtracks, one from fictional band The Soggy Bottom Boys from “O Brother Where Art Thou?” The movie is a classic for country and non-country fans alike. If you’re looking for some other movies connected to country music — this is our list of the movies for country music fans.