Country music is an irreplaceable part of American culture, dating back generations. And while the genre has undoubtedly changed over the years, fans continue to seek it out for its strong melodies, musicianship, and storytelling.
Since 1967, the Country Music Association (CMA) awards have recognized excellence in country music. Each year, more than 7,400 industry professionals – including executives, publicists, songwriters and musicians – vote for the best song, album, artist and more. This year’s ceremony is set to air live on Wednesday, November 13 on the ABC Television Network with Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire.
Although this is not always the case, the music recognized by the CMA often coincides with what fans of the genre appreciate the most. This is every album of the year chosen by the CMAs since 1967.
In anticipation of this year’s ceremony, 24/7 Tempo has identified the 100 most popular country albums of all time based on album sales and performances on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart.
As anyone who has listened to country radio lately knows, country pop is hugely popular. Artists that appeal not only to country fans but also to the average pop music listener are much more in demand than more traditional country artists. The success of crossover artists such as Taylor Swift, Florida Georgia Line and Sam Hunt is proof of this.
That’s not to say that musicians who work strictly within the confines of a country can’t enjoy exceptional success either. Artists such as George Strait, Clint Black and Dolly Parton have all topped the country album charts at times and sold millions of albums. They are the most popular country music stars.
Click here to see the top 100 country music albums.
To determine the most popular country albums of all time, 24/7 Tempo generated an index based on weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart and lifetime album sales. Both components of the index were given equal weight.
An artist’s total certified US album sales came from the Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA tracks sales of albums released in the US market with at least 500,000 units sold. For an album to be considered for our ranking, it must have at least 1,000,000 certified sales.