Top 20 Best-Selling Country Artists of All Time: No. 9 Tim McGraw

by Jim Casey

Tim McGraw has been topping the country charts for more than 25 years with a catalog of hits ranging from ballads to boot-stompers—and everything in between. Fans like him, they love him, they want some more of him. Obviously.

Tim McGraw is No. 9 on our list of the Top 20 Best-Selling Country Artists of All Time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

The RIAA tracks domestic album sales in the U.S. with its sparkling certifications: Gold (500,000 units), Platinum (1 million units), Multi-Platinum (2 million units and more), and Diamond (10 million units).

No. 9: Tim McGraw

  • 37.5 Million Units Sold
  • 9 Multi-Platinum Albums
  • 2 Platinum Albums
  • 3 Gold Albums
  • 5 Multi-Platinum Singles
  • 13 Platinum Singles
  • 12 Gold Single

Monumental Moment

Tim can claim nine Multi-Platinum albums, more than any of the aforementioned names on our Top 20 list. Two of his albums, 1994’s Not a Moment Too Soon and 2000’s Greatest Hits Vol. 1, have been certified 6X Platinum for sales of 6 million units each.

The aptly named Not a Moment Too Soon was Tim’s sophomore album. After his 1993 self-titled debut album failed to produce a Top 40 single, his sophomore set was a make-it-or-break-it endeavor. Spoiler alert, he made it. Tim’s breakthrough album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and later reached No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. It also produced five Top 10 singles, including No. 1 hits “Don’t Take the Girl” and “Not a Moment Too Soon.”

As expected, Tim’s first compilation album, Greatest Hits Vol. 1, featured 14 of his biggest hits from the 1990s, as well as a duet, “Let’s Make Love,” with wife Faith Hill.

That’s Living

Of Tim’s five Multi-Platinum singles, three have been certified 3X Platinum for sales of 3 million units each: 2004’s “Live Like You Were Dying,” 2013’s “Highway Don’t Care,” and 2016’s “Humble and Kind.”

Penned by Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman, “Live Like You Were Dying” spent seven weeks atop the Billboard Country Airplay chart in 2004. The song was named Single of the Year at the 2005 CMA Awards and 2005 ACM Awards. And it earned Tim the 2004 Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance.

In Defense of Tim

Like George Strait, Tim McGraw has one of the keenest ears in country music. He may not write his own hits—and country purists always cite this as a weakness—but he’s one of the best song pickers who has ever picked. And keep this in mind: Tim McGraw has made some of country music’s best songwriters very wealthy by taking more than 20 of the 200-plus songs he has recorded to No. 1.

It’s not that Tim doesn’t write songs. He does. In fact, he’s co-written a great book. The dude likes to write. But he’s also quick to point out that when he records an album, he pulls from the best songs, whether he’s written them or not. There’s something holistic about that approach.

But if you’ve just got to hear a song Tim co-penned, here ya go.