16 of the best-selling rock albums of the 1990s

Enter the 1990s and rock evolved from metal and alternative rock to grunge, more commercial sounds, eschewing hair and big solos for plaid shirts and undercuts.

As the mood of the nation and the world changed, musical tastes evolved with them, becoming equal parts voices of celebration and protest.

Here are 16 of the best-selling rock albums of the 1990s, starting at number one.

No. 16 – Ten – Pearl Jam

Image credit: Danny Clinch / Pearljam.com

Sales: 15,710,000

Rank in year of release: 1991 – 6

Seattle-based Pearl Jam's debut studio album Tenabandoned in August 1991. While Ten was not an immediate success, it was a slow burn and by 1992 had spawned three singles – Alive, same flow, And Jeremiah – the last of which earned Pearl Jam nominations for Best Rock Song at the Grammies.

No. 15 – Californication – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Red Hot Chilli Peppers on stage
Editorial credit: Tony Norkus / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 16,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1999 – 7

Although they had been on the music scene since the early 1980s, the group really broke into the mainstream with their 1991 album. Blood sugar sex magic. Their 1999 album was arguably one of their most important in terms of commercial success, and they produced classics like Otherside, Californication and Scar Tissue.

No. 14 – Enema of the State – Blink 182

Blink 182 on stage
Editorial credit: Jacob Giampa / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 16,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1999 – 6

Blink's third studio album was a huge success and truly propelled them into the new millennium as one of the biggest rock bands in the world. With their fun, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and hard-hitting melodies, Enema of the State has seen the release of several hits like How old am I again?, All the small thingsAnd Adam's Song.

No. 13 – Achtung Baby – U2

Cover of the U2 album Achtung Baby
Editorial credit: PHLD Luca / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 18,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1991 – 5

The Irish band's seventh studio album was released in November 1991 and proved to be redemption for the band's 1988 album. Rattle and hum, which was not as well received by critics following their Joshua tree success. Several singles were released from the album, including A mysterious way, And Fly.

No. 12 – Automatic for the people – REM

Image credit: REMHQ.com

Sales: 18,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1992 – 4

REM has enjoyed great success since its beginnings in the early 1980s and has grown in scope and maturity over the past decade. This album was considered a deeper, darker exploration and included songs with string arrangements by former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. This album gave us Everybody Hurts, Drive and Night swimming.

No. 11 – Cross Road – Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi
Editorial credit: Netfalls Remy Musser / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 18,500,000

Rank in year of release: 1994 – 3

The first greatest hits compilation on our list, although in fairness this album included some new hit singles. Always And One day I'll be Saturday night. Bon Jovi grew throughout the 1980s and achieved considerable success with their self-titled album and Slippery when wetso it was inevitable that a greatest hits album would follow.

No. 10 – Greatest Hits II – Queen

Editorial credit: PHLD Luca / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 19,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1991 – 4

It's truly telling of the scale of Queen's achievement that they managed a second greatest hits album following the release of their 1981 greatest hits compilation. Up until now, their career had spanned over 20 years old and they were still competing with groups several years their junior.

The compilation covered their works between 1981 and 1991 and included chartbusters like Under pressure And The show must continue. What's even more impressive is that this isn't Queen's last entry on this list!

#9 – Take Control – Aerosmith

Aerosmith performing
Editorial credit: fornStudio / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 20,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1993 – 3

Aerosmith have truly been impressive in their resilience throughout their career since 1970 – no sooner do they seem to have descended into irrelevance than they release an album that defines them in their genre. Have a grip became the band's best-selling album and gave us some of their greatest contemporary songs like Livin' on the Edge, Cryin' and Crazy.

No. 8 – Dookie – Green Day

Green Day
Editorial credit: Aija Lehtonen / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 20,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1994 – 2

The California band emerged from the punk rock scene of the early 1990s and achieved commercial success in 1994 with their major label debut, Dookie. They were widely broadcast on MTV with Basket case And When I come back.

No. 7 – Made In Heaven – Queen

Editorial credit: Elliott Cowand Jr / Shutterstock.com
Queen's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Sales: 20,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1995 – 5

This album was Queen's fifteenth and final studio album, and it was the only album released under the Queen name following the death of Freddie Mercury in 1991. May, Taylor and Deacon worked on the recorded vocals and piano parts before Mercury's death, and recording was completed in Montreux, Switzerland.

No. 6 – (What is the story) Morning Glory? -Oasis

Oasis in performance
Editorial credit: Amra Pasic / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 22,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1995 – 3

The Manchester rock band's second studio album proved that their success was neither fleeting nor random and cemented the band as legends of the Britpop movement. The album produced several singles, including the eternal Don't look back in anger, Wonderwall And Champagne supernova.

#5 – Cracked Rear View – Hootie & The Blowfish

Englewood, New Jersey - August 4: Hootie and The Blowfish perform
Editorial credit: Eugene Parciasepe / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 22,265,000

Rank in year of release: 1994 – 1

Hootie & The Blowfish's first and most successful album was a huge commercial success for the American rock band and was arguably difficult for the band to overshadow afterwards. The album yielded five singles: Hold My hand, let it cryAnd Just want to be with you.

No. 4 – Supernatural – Santana

Carlos Santana performing
Editorial credit: Myzz Frantastic / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 25,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1999 – 3

That’s right, this one’s a bit controversial – is it rock? Despite its intrinsically Latin theme, Supernatural won the 2000 Grammy for Best Rock Album, so we thought it was best to include it. The group's eighteenth studio album featured numerous collaborations with other guest artists like Eric Clapton, Dave Matthews and Lauryn Hill and featured hit singles like Smooth And Mary Mary.

No. 3 – Unplugged – Eric Clapton

Eric Clapton performing
Editorial credit: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 26,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1992 – 3

Clapton is a pillar of the music industry, active since the 1960s – so by the time this album was released, he was already around 30 years old. This album won him several Grammy Awards in 1993, and although critical feedback was a little muted, it quickly reminded his fans why he was still the best. This live album yielded incredible renditions of Tears in heaven and the acoustic version of Layla.

No. 2 – Whatever – Nirvana

Nirvana Album Brain
Editorial credit: Stefano Chiacchiarini '74 / Shutterstock.com

Sales: 30,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1991 – 2

Nirvana's second studio album and first with drummer Dave Grohl, Nevermind, truly propelled the Kurt Cobain-led band into the spotlight as the poster child of the grunge movement. The album shared the group's anti-establishment views and cemented the group's legendary status with singles: It smells like teenage spirit, come as you are, And Lithium.

No. 1 – Metallica (AKA The Black Album) – Metallica

Image credit: Tim Saccenti / Metallica.com

Sales: 33,000,000

Rank in year of release: 1991 – 1

Despite their popularity among their metal fans in the 1980s, Metallica really broke into the mainstream with their self-titled Black Album in 1991. The sound was a creative departure for the band from their previous thrash metal sound, and it So it was a challenge. to produce a number of classics, including Enter Sandman, The Unforgiven and Nothing Else Matters.


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