Madonna's Official biggest selling albums

As Madonna prepares to release her 14th studio album, we look at the smashes that came before it.

Unless you've been without wifi for the last two months, you'll know Madonna is poised to release a new album this month. Madame X will be Madonna's 14th official studio album, and will be competing to become her 13th Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart.

As record-holder for the female artist with the most chart-topping albums, Madonna has an impressive back catalogue, so we delved into her archive to rank her Top 10 biggest albums.

Top of the shop is Madonna's first greatest hits retrospective The Immaculate Collection, which has shifted 3.77 million, across physical, digital, and streaming equivalent sales. Released in late 1990, The Immaculate Collection featured all Madonna's hits up to that point, along with future Top 10s Justify My Love and Rescue Me and spent nine consecutive weeks at Number 1, her longest stint at the top. It's one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

Madonna's biggest studio album comes from the peak of mid-eighties Madonna mania. True Blue featured three Number 1s – Papa Don't Preach, the title track, and La Isla Bonita – plus two iconic Top 10s Live to Tell and Open Your Heart. True Blue was the first album by a US artist to go straight in at Number 1, and spent six straight weeks there to become the biggest album of 1986, shifting almost a million in its first six months of release alone. It's sold over two million copies. See all Madonna's hit singles and albums in her chart archive

In third is Madonna's huge late-nineties comeback, Ray of Light. Released in 1998, Madonna's new techno direction spent two weeks at Number 1 and spawned five Top 10 singles, including the chart-topping lead single Frozen. Ray of Light has sold 1.73m. Its follow-up Music, released in 2000, is Madonna's fourth biggest, and features two Number 1s (if you count American Pie, which Madonna very likely doesn't, as she didn't want it on the album). Spending two weeks at the top, Music has shifted 1.63m copies.

In fifth is Madonna's 1989 opus Like A Prayer, perhaps the first major gear shift of her career. The title track was a Number 1, and all the singles from that campaign went Top 5. (Oh Father was released years later but as part of a different album campaign.) 

MORE: 60 of Madonna's most amazing chart facts and feats

With 2005's thumping Confessions on a Dance Floor and 1984's Like A Virgin in sixth and seventh place, each selling over a million, the rest of the Top 10 features greatest hits albums and a stray soundtrack. Something to Remember was Madonna's mid-nineties ballad retrospective, with 880,000 sales, and GHV2 added another decade of hits her existing collection in late 2001, shifting 868,500. Madonna's Evita album rounds things off at 10, with 737,000.

Just outside the Top 10 is another greatest hits: 2009's Celebration, on 666,000 copies.

If you were to cut out those greatest hits and have only studio albums*, removing Immaculate Collection from the top and the other three from the bottom, the lower four rungs of the all-time Madonna albums Top 10 would be occupied by Erotica (1992), Bedtime Stories (1994), American Life (2003), and Hard Candy (2008).

*I'm Breathless, featuring music from and inspired by Dick Tracy, isn't usually considered an official studio album, but if it were… it would come above Erotica on the rundown. 

Here's Madonna's biggest albums of all time:

  TITLE PEAK YEAR
1 THE IMMACULATE COLLECTION 1 1990
2 TRUE BLUE 1 1986
3 RAY OF LIGHT 1 1998
4 MUSIC 1 2000
5 LIKE A PRAYER 1 1989
6 CONFESSIONS ON A DANCE FLOOR 1 2005
7 LIKE A VIRGIN 1 1984
8 SOMETHING TO REMEMBER 3 1995
9 GREATEST HITS - VOL 2 2 2001
10 EVITA - OST 1 1996

And if you're interested, here's her Top 10 studio albums:

  TITLE PEAK YEAR
1 TRUE BLUE 1 1986
2 RAY OF LIGHT 1 1998
3 MUSIC 1 2000
4 LIKE A PRAYER 1 1989
5 CONFESSIONS ON A DANCE FLOOR 1 2005
6 LIKE A VIRGIN 1 1984
7 EROTICA 2 1992
8 BEDTIME STORIES 2 1994
9 AMERICAN LIFE 1 2003
10 HARD CANDY 1 2008

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