The Who – Tommy (1969)
Claimed Sales – 20,000,000
Estimated Sales – 6,900,000
To be honest I’m quite annoyed to put this album on the list. Why so? Because this album just like The Who are often deflated in all best selling albums and artists lists. This band is some kind of The Rolling Stones at a lower scale, with strong sales over all their discography but pretty spread over many titles, resulting in no truly big selling album.
The same situation happens with their catalog sales which are especially good but often off the radar due to the numerous records enjoying it.
Tommy is the band top catalog seller after the cult album Who’s Next, it hasn’t sold 20 million units yet. Just like previously mentioned Iron Butterfly album, it was big when sales were weak. For many such albums, we often feel some kind of frustration from record labels that saw those albums results downgraded when the market exploded a few years later and various much less successful albums started to sell as many copies.
Close to 3 million units in the US, over 2 million in Europe, the album relevant catalog sales keep on pushing its tally everywhere. With the market collapse it is doubtful it will ever reach 10 million in pure album sales yet.