Top 20 Best-Selling Country Artists of All Time: No. 2 George Strait

by Jim Casey
top-20-best-selling-country-artists-of-all-time-no-2-george-strait

George Strait doesn’t finish second often, but there’s no shame finishing runner-up in this race.

George Strait is No. 2 on our list of the Top 20 Best-Selling Country Artists of All Time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The King of Country has moved more music than anyone in the history of country music, sans one man (but we’ll get to him next week). This week, it’s all about King George.

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

No. 2 – George Strait

  • 69 Million Units Sold
  • 13 Multi-Platinum Album
  • 20 Platinum Album
  • 6 Gold Albums
  • 3 Multi-Platinum Singles
  • 5 Platinum Singles
  • 9 Gold Singles

George Out-Boxes the Competition

George Strait’s best-selling album is 1995’s Strait Out of the Box, which has been certified 8X Platinum for sales of 8 million units. The King’s debut box set featured four discs with a total of 72 songs. Yep, that’s a lot of music. In fact, it was three hours and 37 minutes of music that was recorded between 1976-1995. The album also included two brand-new singles, “Check Yes or No” and “I Know She Still Loves Me,” which reached No. 1 and No. 5 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, respectively.

George also has a slew of additional Multi-Platinum compilation albums, including 2004’s 50 Number Ones (7X Platinum), 1985’s Greatest Hits (4X Platinum), 1987’s Greatest Hits Volume II (3X Platinum), and 2000’s Latest Greatest Straitest Hits (2X Platinum).

George’s 1992 soundtrack, Pure Country, is his third best-selling album (6X Platinum), while the King’s best-selling studio album is 1997’s Carrying Your Love With Me (3X Platinum).

Single File

George Strait has scored three Multi-Platinum singles over his royal career. 1983’s “Amarillo By Morning,” 1992’s “I Cross My Heart,” and 1995’s “Check Yes or No” have each been certified 2X Platinum for sales of 2 million units.

George can also claim five Platinum singles and nine Gold singles, including fan-favorites “All My Ex’s Live in Texas,” “Cowboys Like Us,” “Troubadour,” and “Give It Away,” among others.

In Defense of George Strait

Over the last 10 years, when interviewing new artists who have come to Nashville, I’ve heard the following more times than I can count: “I want to be the next George Strait.”

George is, by far, the most name-dropped artist—from both male and female artists—I’ve encountered in my unofficial tally. George has a certain reverence about him, much like Alan Jackson and Dolly Parton, who are the other two names routinely mentioned in my conversations with artists.

The only strike against George—if you can call it one—is that he’s not a pure songwriter. He’s an interpreter of songs. Songs that he has made great. And he deserves all the credit in the world for his keen ear and interpretative skills. If that’s a strike, talk to a songwriter like Dean Dillon. George Strait has made him a rich man by cutting songs “The Chair,” “Ocean Front Property,” and “If I Know Me,” among others. Dean was welcomed into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2020.

Spreading the wealth and fame? That ain’t a strike in my book.

Outsider.com