The Album Champs of 1991, for Sure

Until now, the pop world has had to rely on the Recording Industry Assn. of American’s very general “gold” (sales of 500,000 or more) and “platinum” (1 million or more) certifications to determine who sold the most records in a year.

But now SoundScan--the computerized system that monitors sales at more than 9,000 retail outlets around the country--provides the most accurate look ever at the sales leaders.

And the 1991 winner?

Congratulations to Garth Brooks, who not only finished first, but also third!


Because the figures reflect all sales in 1991, albums that were released early in the year--or in late 1990--have an advantage in the yearly sales race. That’s why such year-end blockbusters as Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” and Nirvana’s “Nevermind” aren’t included.

The SoundScan Top 10, in millions sold, in 1991:

1--Garth Brooks, “Ropin’ the Wind”: 4 million (released Sept., 1991).

2--Mariah Carey, “Mariah Carey”: 3.38 (June, 1990).


3--Garth Brooks, “No Fences”: 3.37 (Sept., 1990).

4--Natalie Cole, “Unforgettable”: 3.26 (June, 1991).

5--Michael Bolton, “Time, Love and Tenderness”: 3.17 (April, 1991).

6--Metallica, “Metallica”: 3.2 (Aug., 1991).


7--C+C Music Factory, “Gonna Make You Sweat”: 3.15 (Dec., 1990).

8--Guns N’ Roses, “Use Your Illusion II”: 2.81 (Sept., 1991).

9--R.E.M., “Out of Time”: 2.78 (Feb., 1991)

10--Vanilla Ice, “To the Extreme”: 2.45 (Oct., 1990).