Which country artists and bands are bringing home the bacon and frying it too? Not surprisingly, Garth Brooks, who is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music. The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year tops our list of the 20 best-selling acts in country music history as reported by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Heck, no one is even close to Garth’s numbers, but we’ve got 19 other names on the list, and some may surprise you.
Here are the 20 Top-Selling Country Acts of All Time according to the RIAA.
18 million U.S. units sold
2016 Hall of Fame inductee Randy Travis has scored eight platinum albums over his storied career, including 5X-platinum Always & Forever. His honors include seven Grammys, 10 ACMs and five CMAs.
18.5 million U.S. units sold
Rascal Flatts has earned more than 40 trophies from the ACMs, CMAs, People’s Choice Awards and more, making them the most awarded country group of the past decade. All those awards are a result of their seven platinum albums, including 5X-platinum Feels Like Today.
19 million U.S. units sold
A seven-time Grammy winner, the 2005 American Idol champion has amassed more than 100 major honors and recorded 24 No. 1 singles, 13 of which she co-wrote. Of her six career albums, all have earned platinum status, including 8X-platinum Some Hearts.
Hank Williams Jr
19.5 million U.S. units sold
Since he made his Billboard chart debut in 1964, Hank Williams Jr. has amassed one of the most prolific catalogs in the history of the music business, including eight platinum albums. Hank Jr. was also one of the most-awarded artists of his time, winning a trio of Entertainer of the Year trophies from the ACM, as well as back-to-back honors from the CMA in 1987 and 1988.
23.5 million U.S. units sold
Few artists’ names are as synonymous with the word “legend” as Johnny Cash, the trailblazing star whose real life triumphs and struggles often sounded like the work of an imaginative storyteller. Over his long career, Johnny also expanded country music’s reach tremendously with his 10 platinum albums, whether through his early, rocking hits, his groundbreaking live albums or his late-period creative renaissance.
24 million U.S. units sold
For every county renegade hell-bent on bucking the system, there’s a straight shooter like Vince Gill who reminds us that country legends are cut from all types of cloth. Arguably more so than anyone else on this list, Vince is the total package—musician/singer/songwriter—and he has the hardware to prove it, including 20 Grammys (more than any other male country artist), six ACMs and 18 CMAs (five consecutive Best Male Vocalist awards and two for Entertainer of the Year).
25 million U.S. units sold
Since his debut single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” shot up the charts to become his first No. 1 in 1993, Toby Keith has done things his way with his 12 platinum albums. Toby’s tours have drawn more than a million fans each year for more than a decade straight, and his accolades include Artist of the Decade nods from Billboard and the American Country Awards, as well as the ACM’s Career Achievement honor.
25.5 million U.S. units sold
The only country artist on Billboard’s Top 10 Touring Acts of the Last 25 Years, Kenny Chesney has won the CMA and ACM Entertainer of the Year awards eight times and scored 28 career No. 1s with his 11 platinum albums. When he’s not crushing it on tour, he’s working on his tan in the Caribbean. That’s a pretty good gig.
26.5 million U.S. units sold
Before she became the princess of pop with her 2016 album, 1989, Taylor ruled the country charts with records Fearless (7X platinum), Taylor Swift (5X) and Speak Now (4X). The 27-year-old is by far the youngest person on this list (Carrie Underwood, 33)—so she’ll undoubtedly catch many of the artists ahead of her—and she’s already claimed 10 Grammys, 11 CMAs and eight ACMs.
Brooks & Dunn
27. 5 million U.S units sold
Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks & Dunn are the best-selling duo in country music history. Let that sink in for a minute. With their 11 platinum albums, they have amassed more than 80 industry awards, including two Grammy, 20 CMAs and 27 ACMs, making them the most-awarded act in ACM history. They have been named Entertainer of the Year four times collectively by the ACM and CMA.
Linda Ronstadt (pictured right)
30 million U.S. units sold
Country, folk, pop, rock . . . Linda has covered it all in her 40-plus-year career, but no matter which genre you associate her with, her success on the country music charts is undeniable. Linda has 14 platinum albums to her name, including four that climbed to the top of Billboard’s Country chart, as well as 13 Grammys and two ACMs. And who could forget when she teamed up with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris to create the super-est of female super groups and release 1987’s Trio.
30.5 million U.S. units sold
The Dixie Chicks are the best-selling female band of all time—of any genre—and one of only a handful of acts that can claim multiple diamond albums (Wide Open Spaces and Fly) for sales of more than 10 million each. The trio has won 13 Grammys, 11 CMAs and nine ACMs.
31.5 million U.S. units sold
Smoke ’em if ya got ’em. And Willie’s got ’em all. With a six-decade career and 200-plus albums, Willie is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of Crazy, Red Headed Stranger and Stardust. The iconic Texan has earned almost every conceivable award as a musician, including 11 Grammys, 9 CMAs, 5 ACMs and the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to popular music.
41 million U.S. units sold
Reba McEntire is country royalty and practically created the template for being a female superstar in country music. The Country Music Hall of Famer has scored 35 No. 1 singles to go along with her 19 platinum albums and has been honored with 13 ACMs, seven CMAs and two Grammys.
43.5 million U.S. units sold
Since 1989, Alan has unleashed 35 No. 1 hits, dropped more than a dozen platinum albums and earned two Grammys, 16 CMAs (three for Entertainer of the Year) and 18 ACMs. Not bad for a man and his mustache.
46.5 million U.S. units sold
Alabama is the most successful country band in history, recording 43 No. 1 songs and 20 platinum albums over their 40-plus-year career. Alabama, which was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005, was the first band to win the CMA Entertainer of the Year award in 1982, a feat they repeated in 1983 and 1984.
47.5 million U.S. units sold
Kenny knows when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em, but his specialty is cashing in with his 16 platinum albums and one diamond album for sales of more that 10 million units. Kenny has recorded 24 No. 1 hits, 11 No. 1 albums, 25 Top 10 country albums and has won three Grammys, eight ACMs and six CMAs. Kenny was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013 and received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2013 CMA Awards.
48 million U.S. units sold
Shania Twain remains the first and only female artist in history to have three consecutive albums certified diamond by the RIAA for sales of more than 10 million units each. “The Queen of Country Pop,” a title she definitely deserved to call her own, earned five Grammys, four ACMs and two CMAs, as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
69 million U.S. units sold
It would hardly be a stretch to consider George Strait the greatest country music artist of all time. He certainly has the numbers: 44 Billboard No. 1 singles (60 across all charts), the most of any artist in any genre of music, and 22 CMA awards, more than any other country entertainer. And few can match The Cowboy, as he’s often referred to, for longevity. He’s been a star practically since his debut in 1981 with “Unwound.” George has been a model of consistency since that time, with 33 platinum albums to prove it.
138 million U.S. units sold
When you talk about Garth Brooks’ album sales, “platinum” doesn’t do them justice. Garth is the first artist in history—in any genre—to receive seven diamond awards for seven albums certified by the RIAA for 10 million album sales each, and he remains the best-selling solo artist in U.S. history certified by the RIAA with over 138 million album sales. He has received every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist, including being inducted into the International Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Country Music Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame. In 2016, he won the CMA Entertainer of the Year award for a record fifth time. It’s not good to be Garth . . . it’s grrrreat.
Randy Travis by Chris Hollo/Hollo Photographics; Rascal Flatts by Todd Owyoung/The Greenroom PR; Carrie Underwood by Douglas Gorenstein/NBC; Hank Williams Jr. by Jason Simanek; Johnny Cash courtesy Sony Music Entertainment; Vince Gill by Trae Patton/NBC; Toby Keith by Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS; Kenny Chesney by Jill Trunnell/EB Media; Taylor Swift courtesy 13 Mgmt; Brooks & Dunn by JAC Photography/Spalding Entertainment; Linda Ronstadt with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris courtesy Webster PR; Dixie Chicks by Marina Chavez/Sony Music Nashville; Willie Nelson courtesy iTunes Festival at SXSW; Reba McEntire by Chris Hollo/ABC; Alan Jackson by Donn Jones/CMA; Alabama courtesy HB PR; Kenny Rogers courtesy Kenny Rogers/CMHOF; Shania Twain by Getty Images/Caesar’s Palace; George Strait by Rick Diamond/EB Media; Garth Brooks by Randy Holmes/ABC;