Here are the 20 longest-charting albums in the history of the Billboard 200

Some classic album artworks
(Image credit: Pink Floyd / Nirvana / Metallica / Journey)

1. Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (1973)

Since its upgrade from an initial weekly top 10 ranking to its iconic top 200 list in May 1967, the Billboard 200 has remained the definitive barometer for chart success in the music world. Over the ensuing decades, as physical sales have dwindled and the manner in which fans consume music has evolved, Billboard's status as a music industry powerhouse has remained intact, not least thanks to the enduring success of some of the most iconic albums in music history.

Many major artists have seen certain albums remain on the Billboard 200 since their initial release - an incredible feat in some cases, given than some of these records have been out for twenty, thirty, forty years or more. With that in mind, here are the 20 current longest-charting albums on the Billboard 200, from rock legends to pop idols and more.

Come September 2023, this particular Pink Floyd masterpiece topped the US album chart and will have dominated the Billboard 200 for a staggering 1000 weeks. This richly-layered, ambitious concept album has sold at least 45 million copies since its release in 1973, making it the biggest-selling album recorded by a British band. 

2. Bob Marley & the Wailers – Legend (1984)

Released three years after Bob Marley's death from cancer, Legend is a compilation of their hit singles released between 1972 and 1983. Including iconic tracks such as No Woman, No Cry, Buffalo Soldier, I Shot the Sheriff and Three Little Birds, it remains the best-selling reggae album of all time. As of March 1, 2023, Legend will been a fixture in the Billboard 200 for 771 weeks. 

3. Journey – Greatest Hits (1988)

Collating Journey's biggest singles released between 1977 and 1986, Greatest Hits has notched up 750 weeks in the Billboard 200 to date and has received a 15-times platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America. Featuring perennial favourites like Don’t Stop Believin’ and Any Way You Want It, Greatest Hits is positively heaving with AOR classics.

4. Metallica – Metallica (1991)

After the labyrinthine and exhaustively long songs on their 1988 album ...And Justice For All, Metallica returned to the studio with Mötley Crüe producer Bob Rock and signalled a shift in their approach to songwriting and the sonic weight of their recordings. Costing over $1 million to make, the results were immediate following the release of The Black Album in the summer of 1991. As the album nears 700 weeks in the Billboard 200, no other metal band has come within sniffing distance of Metallica's landmark album.

5. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Chronicle (1976)

Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits, to give it its full name, actually features 13 of the Creedence Clearwater Revival's singles – including Proud Mary, Bad Moon Rising and Fortunate Son – and a handful of B-sides. This 1976 release follows two other compilations Creedence Gold and More Creedence Gold which emerged after the band's split in 1972. Chronicle, however, remains the band's biggest-selling release and has clocked up 627 weeks on the Billboard 200 charts as of March 1, 2023. 

6. Eminem – Curtain Call: The Hits (2005)

Curtain Call: The Hits collects Marshall Mathers's biggest releases recorded between 1997 and 2005. With singles such as My Name Is, Stan and Lose Yourself, this 2005 compilation earned the Detroit rapper his fifth consecutive US number 1 album. At the time of writing, the album has been a constant in the Billboard 200 for 617 weeks, making it one of the most successful rap albums of all time.  

7. Nirvana – Nevermind (1991)

Nirvana's follow-up to their 1989 debut Bleach, Nevermind was their first for a major label. Their lead single Smells Like Teen Spirit booted grunge into the mainstream and effectively ended hair metal with a wall of feedback. Following its release in September 1991, the huge success of the album spawned countless plaid-shirted imitators but have never been equalled. Nevermind has been in the Billboard 200 for over 600 weeks.

8. Guns N’ Roses – Greatest Hits (2004)

Seemingly released by Geffen as some sort of stop-gap because of the delays surrounding Chinese Democracy, this compilation was met with resistance by members of Guns N' Roses who filed lawsuits against the label in a bid to halt its release. With tracks cherry-picked from Appetite for Destruction, GN'R Lies and Use Your Illusion I and II, The Spaghetti Incident? and their cover of The Rolling Stones' Sympathy for the Devil, this compilation has occupied a spot in the Billboard 200 for over 600 weeks. 

9. Bruno Mars – Doo Wops & Hooligans (2010)

Bruno Mars' critically-acclaimed debut album was released in late 2010. It has sold over 15 million copies around the world and its masterful blend of pop, R&B, soul and rock has earned the Honulu-born singer-songwriter five Grammy nominations along the way. Doo Wops & Hooligans was the ninth album to reach the 500-week mark and has remained in the Billboard 200 for 609 weeks thus far.

10. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)

Thriller – Michael Jackson's sixth studio album – is the best-selling album of all-time, won eight Grammys and has been certified 34 times platinum by the RIAA. Produced by Quincy Jones, the nine-track album contained seven hit singles, including Beat It (which features the late Eddie Van Halen on guitar), his duet with Paul McCartney on The Girl Is Mine and the eponymous title track, which was accompanied by the iconic video which cost an estimated $500,000 to make. Despite its astonishing sales, the album has been in the Billboard 200 for 559 weeks. 

And here's a rundown of 11-20...

11. AC/DC – Back in Black (1980) – 553 weeks
12. Adele – 21 (2011) – 549 weeks
13. Kendrick Lamar – Good Kid m.A.A.d City (2012) – 536 weeks
14. Queen – Greatest Hits (1981) – 528 weeks
15. Drake – Take Care (2011) – 518 weeks
16. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours (1977) – 514 weeks
17. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Greatest Hits (1993) – 499 weeks
18. Johnny Mathis – Johnny's Greatest Hits (1958) – 490 weeks
19. My Fair Lady – Cast Album (1956) – 480 weeks
20. Lana Del Rey – Born to Die (2012) – 469 weeks

Simon Young

Born in 1976 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Simon Young has been a music journalist for over twenty years. His fanzine, Hit A Guy With Glasses, enjoyed a one-issue run before he secured a job at Kerrang! in 1999. His writing has also appeared in Classic RockMetal HammerProg, and Planet Rock. His first book, So Much For The 30 Year Plan: Therapy? — The Authorised Biography is available via Jawbone Press. 

With contributions from