Top ten best-selling soundtracks
1. THE BODYGUARD (16 million*) Sure, the 1992 movie’s just a dim memory, but this Whitney Houston-heavy soundtrack remains one of the best-selling albums of all time.
2. PURPLE RAIN (13 million) Prince‘s 1984 masterpiece (the album, that is) spawned five Top 40 hits.
3 & 4. SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER; DIRTY DANCING (11 million) Released a decade apart (Fever in ’77, Dirty in ’87), the dance-crazy films are inextricably linked to their smash soundtracks.
5. THE LION KING (10 million) When animation king Disney teamed up with sappy song maestro Elton John in 1994, the result was predictably enormous. A Simba-otic relationship, indeed.
6, 7 & 8. GREASE; FOOTLOOSE; TITANIC (8 million) John Travolta and Kevin Bacon play dancing bad boys in their musical rebel movies, while Leo DiCaprio plays a hoofing good guy in his rebel-without-a-lifeboat flick. 1978’s Grease is still the word, frequently topping Billboard‘s pop-catalog chart to this day. But Titanic is the juggernaut: After 14 weeks in release, it’s already docked in the top 10 — and the tide is rising.
9 & 10. TOP GUN; WAITING TO EXHALE (7 million) Berlin’s ”Take My Breath Away” pushed Top Gun‘s soundtrack to the top of the pop album charts in 1986. Obviously no one took Whitney’s breath away: Exhale held the No. 1 spot for five weeks in 1996.
— Rob Brunner
*SOURCE: RECORDING INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, DOMESTIC FIGURES ONLY