The Most Popular Album of Every Year Since 1956
by Emily von Hoffmann
From Broadway albums to Adele's latest record, PrettyFamous compiled a list of Billboard's best-selling album for each of the past 60 years.
Can you name even one song popular the year you were born? Odds are, your parents can. Maybe it was playing on the radio as they drove to the hospital, or perhaps it was on their birth mix. To fortify your reminiscences with period-appropriate details, PrettyFamous, an entertainment site by Graphiq, compiled a list of Billboard's best-selling album for each of the past 60 years.
From our findings, it's clear that Broadway musicals were once ultra-mainstream; the soundtracks of shows with their original Broadway casts led sales for six years between 1956-1961, and have not done so since. Filling that space to an extent are the soundtracks of musicals on film, which were best-sellers for seven years on our list, most recently with "High School Musical" in 2006. The list contains many debut albums, including those by Jimi Hendrix, Peter Frampton and Whitney Houston, among others. Conspicuously absent are some of the most obvious artists you might name -- neither The Beatles nor Led Zeppelin appear here, for example.
Billboard creates their ranking of best-selling albums, called the Billboard 200, using Nielsen SoundScan data. Before 1991, however, the Billboard chart was based on a representative sample of retail outlets. Navigate through to find out which album might have been the soundtrack to your birth.
Scroll through the slideshows below to discover the most popular albums of the past seven decades:
- The Most-Streamed Songs on Spotify
- How Hip Hop And Rap Saved Music
- Technology Drives Music Consumption
- Music Streaming's Unstoppable Rise
- New Posthumous Prince Albums Include Unreleased Music
- Bob Dylan Wins Nobel Prize
- The Most Popular Albums Released in 2016
- The Most Popular Album of Every Year Since 1956
- Iconic Musicians Over 70
- The Most Famous Band Formed Each Year Since 1951
- The Most Famous Musician From Each State
- The Top 10 Upbeat Songs
- The Most Popular Song The Year You Were Born
- Famous Musicians Born the Same Year as You
- The Music of Hopelessness
- Jay Z: When Women Attack Men -- a Double Standard
- Lady Gaga Talks About Regrets and Depression
- The Beatles: Change Across the Universe
- The Beatles 50 Years Later
- Daft Punk, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Win Multiple Grammy Awards
- Jay Z & Beyonce in Sizzling Grammy Opening Number
- A Look Back at The Beatles
- Fans Mark 50 Years of US Beatlemania