Top 20 Best-Selling Country Artists of All Time: No. 5 Alabama

by Jim Casey
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How bout ya, Alabama. Roll on!

Randy Owen, Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry, and Mark Herndon of Alabama came busting out of the chute in 1980 with their major-label debut album, My Home’s in Alabama. At that time, country music didn’t feature “bands” as we now know them. Instead, vocal groups like the Oak Ridge Boys and the Statler Brothers were the norm (there were exceptions like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Charlie Daniels Band). However, Alabama blended country with elements of rock. And the guys played their own instruments. Country music had never seen—or heard—anything like them.

Alabama is No. 5 on our list of the Top 20 Best-Selling Country Artists of All Time, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). In fact, Alabama is the best-selling country band of all time. And it’s not even close.

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

No. 5: Alabama

  • 46.5 Million Units Sold
  • 10 Multi-Platinum Albums
  • 10 Platinum Albums
  • 3 Gold Albums

Mountain Men

Alabama has earned 10 Multi-Platinum albums. Three albums have been certified 5X Platinum for sales of 5 million units each, including their 1982 studio album, Mountain Music. The 10-song offering featured three No. 1 singles: “Mountain Music,” “Take Me Down,” and “Close Enough to Perfect.”

In addition, two of Alabama’s compilation albums have been certified 5X Platinum: Greatest Hits (1986) and For the Record (1998). Three of the band’s studio albums have been certified 4X Platinum: Feels So Right (1981), The Closer You Get (1983), and Roll On (1984).

Rolling On

While Alabama can claim 10 Multi-Platinum albums, 10 Platinum albums, and 3 Gold Albums, the band has never earned a Gold- or Platinum-certified single from the RIAA. That’s an amazing fact when you consider Alabama scored 21 consecutive No. 1 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart between 1980 and 1987. In fact, the band has tallied 33 No. 1 singles on the chart during its Hall of Fame career.

What’s the takeaway? Alabama earned its place on this list by moving albums, not singles. Roll on, boys.

In Defense of Alabama

Alabama revolutionized country music in the 1980s. The band won the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award three consecutive times from 1982 to 1984 (the first band to win the award).

In fact, look at all the bands that began to pop up in the 1990s as a result of Alabama’s unprecedented success, including Lonestar, Diamond Rio, Shenandoah, Sawyer Brown, Ricochet, BlackHawk, and more.

Alabama was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. There was a time when bands ruled country music. And Alabama was king.

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