Best Selling Albums Since 1991 (Soundscan Era): Adele Joins Elite Club
Best Selling Albums Since 1991 (Soundscan Era): Adele Joins Elite Club

Adele's "21" joins a rare group of albums this week, as the XL/Columbia set steps past the 10 million U.S. sales mark according to Nielsen SoundScan. It becomes one of only 21 titles to reach that rare threshold since SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991.

"21" ran to 10 million in only its 92nd week of release. The last set to hit 10 million faster was 'N Sync's "No Strings Attached," which hit the number in its 43rd frame in January of 2001.

So, "21" is the 21st album to sell 10 million. And thus, it becomes the 21st-biggest album of the SoundScan era. Clearly, 21 is a very lucky number for the pop diva. In a statement released by Columbia Records, Adele said, "What an incredible honour. A huge, huge thank you to my American fans for embracing this record on such a massive level."

"21" debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 dated March 12, 2011 and spent 24 non-consecutive weeks atop the tally -- the most in the SoundScan era. It hasn't left the chart's top 40 since, earning 80 weeks in the top 10. This week, the set moves 31-35.

Since 1991, the highest selling album -- according to SoundScan -- is Metallica's self-titled 1991 release, which has moved 15.8 million. Shania Twain's "Come On Over" is in second place with 15.5 million and Alanis Morissette's "Jagged Little Pill" is in third with 14.8 million.

Below is a list of all the albums have have sold more than 10 million in the U.S. according to SoundScan (and thus, the top selling albums since 1991).

Albums With 10 Million in U.S. Sales, 1991-Present*

Artist, Title (Year of Release), Sales to Date, Time to 10 Million

1. Metallica, Metallica (1991), 15.83 million, 337 weeks
2. Shania Twain, Come On Over (1997), 15.52 million, 96 weeks
3. Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (1995), 14.80 million, 66 weeks
4. Backstreet Boys, Millennium (1999), 12.20 million, 39 weeks
5. The Beatles, 1 (2000), 12.11 million, 227 weeks
6. Whitney Houston/Soundtrack, The Bodyguard (1992), 12.05 million, 72 weeks
7. Santana, Supernatural (1999), 11.73 million, 60 weeks
8. Creed, Human Clay (1999), 11.62 million, 93 weeks
9. Bob Marley & the Wailers, Legend (1984), 11.17 million**, 18 years
10. *NSYNC, No Strings Attached (2000), 11.13 million, 43 weeks
11. Norah Jones, Come Away With Me (2002), 10.88 million, 259 weeks
12. Celine Dion, Falling Into You (1996), 10.80 million, 160 weeks
13. Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP (2000), 10.65 million, 343 weeks
14. Britney Spears, . . . Baby One More Time (1999), 10.57 million, 106 weeks
15. Hootie & the Blowfish, Cracked Rear View (1994), 10.28 million, 442 weeks
16. Soundtrack, Titanic (1997), 10.17 million, 263 weeks
17. Backstreet Boys, Backstreet Boys (1997), 10.13 million, 226 weeks
18. Eminem, The Eminem Show (2002), 10.12 million, 489 weeks
19. Usher, Confessions (2004), 10.04 million, 433 weeks
20. Linkin Park, Hybrid Theory (2000), 10.03 million, 617 weeks
21. Adele, 21 (2011), 10.02 million, 92 weeks

* through the week ending Nov. 25, 2012
** 11.17 million between 1991-present; earlier sales not included