2018's Top-Selling Vinyl Albums & Singles: Amy Winehouse, Prince, A Porg & More

Rob Verhorst/Redferns
Amy Winehouse photographed in 2004.

Vinyl music sales in the U.S. continue to make a comeback, as Nielsen Music reports that vinyl album sales rose for the 13th consecutive year in 2018. Vinyl album sales grew 14.6 percent in 2018, as compared to 2017, rising to 16.8 million copies sold -- a new one-year Nielsen Era record. (Nielsen began tracking music sales in 1991.)

The Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 soundtrack finished the year as the top-selling LP, with 84,000 copies sold (see top 10 list, below). The year’s top 10 sellers are dominated by older releases and classic titles. The youngest title in the top 10 is Panic! at the Disco’s June 2018 release Pray for the Wicked, which closed out the year as the No. 10 seller, with 59,000 copies sold. The next two youngest releases in the top 10 are the Guardians album (issued in August 2014) and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black (March 2007).

Notably, the top 10 selling vinyl LPs of 2018 also contain seven former No. 1s on the weekly Billboard 200 chart: Guardians, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, The BeatlesAbbey Road, Prince and The Revolution’s Purple Rain soundtrack, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon and Panic!’s Pray.

TOP 10 SELLING VINYL ALBUMS OF 2018 IN U.S. 
RankArtist, TitleSales
1Soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 184,000
2Michael Jackson, Thriller84,000
3Fleetwood Mac, Rumours77,000
4The Beatles, Abbey Road76,000
5Prince and The Revolution, Purple Rain (Soundtrack)71,000
6Pink Floyd, The Dark Side of the Moon67,000
7Bob Marley and The Wailers, Legend: The Best Of…61,000
8Queen, Greatest Hits60,000
9Amy Winehouse, Back to Black59,000
10Panic! at the Disco, Pray for the Wicked59,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019.

As for the top 10 selling vinyl singles of 2018 (see top 10 list, below), they include a bevy of legends, along with … a porg. (More on the porg in a just a moment.)

The best-selling vinyl single of the year is The Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” 7-inch picture disc, with 10,000 copies sold. The title was released on July 6, 2018, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the single and its parent film of the same name. The new picture disc’s B-side is “Eleanor Rigby,” just as it was for the original 7-inch plain black vinyl single release in 1968.

Other acts among the top 10 include Prince, with his original take on “Nothing Compares 2 U” on 7-inch vinyl, Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” / “Friends” on 7-inch yellow vinyl and Chris Cornell’s “When Bad Does Good” on 7-inch vinyl. Many of the year’s biggest selling vinyl singles (including the Led Zep and Cornell offerings) were were released in association with Record Store Day, or, Record Store Day Black Friday initiatives.

Closing out the top 10 selling vinyl singles: John Williams’ “The Rebellion Is Reborn,” backed with “Canto Bight,” from Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The 10-inch single was released by Walt Disney Records and pressed on a porg-shaped picture disc. (A porg is wide-eyed, “flat-muzzled avian” (per StarWars.com) creature that made its debut in The Last Jedi.)

TOP 10 SELLING VINYL SINGLES OF 2018 IN U.S. 
RankArtist, TitleSales
1The Beatles, "Yellow Submarine"10,000
2Prince, "Nothing Compares 2 U"9,000
3Led Zeppelin, "Rock and Roll"/"Friends"8,000
4Sleep, "Leagues Beneath"5,000
5Chris Cornell, "When Bad Does Good"4,000
6David Bowie, "Let's Dance" (Full Length Demo)4,000
7Paul McCartney, "I Don't Know"/"Come On To Me"4,000
8U2, "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me"3,000
9The Jimi Hendrix Experience, "Burning of the Midnight Lamp"3,000
10John Williams, "The Rebellion Is Reborn"3,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 29, 2017 through Jan. 3, 2019.