Best Of Dallas

The 10 Best-Selling Dallas-Fort Worth Musicians of All Time

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5. Leann Rimes (22.5 million)
Albums: 16.5 million, Singles: 6 million

For all the former Disney stars to come out of DFW, there may be no artist on this list more precocious than Leann Rimes. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Rimes moved to Garland when she was 6 and signed a major label record deal while she was in middle school. Much like current up-and-comer Maren Morris, Rimes cut her teeth playing gigs like Johnnie High's Country Music Revue in Arlington. Coming of age in the late '90s with a country crossover sound that had adult contemporary appeal to spare, she was a consistent hit maker for a decade. Her biggest hit of all, "How Do I Live" — released when she was just 14 — has gone triple platinum.

4. Meat Loaf (23 million)
Albums: 21 million, Singles: 2 million

Does Meat Loaf really get his due in the annals of legendary Dallas musicians? If you take a look at his album sales, probably not. In fact, Loaf's major-label debut, 1977's Bat Out of Hell, is the highest-selling full-length to ever be released by anyone from Texas, much less Dallas, having sold 14 million copies to date. (It beats out Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits and the Dixie Chicks' Wide Open Spaces for top honors in the Lone Star State.) Then again, Bat Out of Hell is very much a piece of its time and place, which was 1970s New York City, and by the time Loaf — born Marvin Aday — had started writing it, he'd already left his hometown for good. Bat out of where, you say?
3. Steve Miller (26 million)
Albums: 24.5 million, 1.5 million

More than any other artist on this list, there's room to refute Steve Miller's inclusion here. The band responsible for all of Miller's entries in the RIAA data, the Steve Miller Band, never staked any claim to DFW. They're from San Francisco. Even Miller's own ties here are shaky, as he was born in Milwaukee and left Dallas after he'd finished high school and never looked back. But the years Miller spent in North Texas were important ones, as he learned to play guitar here and formed his first band, the Marksmen, here as well. Still a mainstay of classic rock radio, Steve Miller Band's Greatest Hits has sold 13 million copies and is the 38th best-selling album in U.S. history.
2. Selena Gomez (28 million)
Albums: 2 million, Singles: 26 million

Selena Gomez may be all grown up now, but her high standing on this list has a whole lot to do with her past life as a PG-friendly teen star. Her first stint as a musician came under the guise of her band the Scene, but for all intents and purposes it was a vehicle for Gomez — and the Scene's singles sold no fewer than 15 million units. The Grand Prairie native is approaching those numbers as a solo singer, which gives her double the sales of the next-best-selling singles artist from DFW, Demi Lovato. Gomez benefits disproportionately from the "inflation" of digital sales, but that's more a fault of the times than it is hers: While both of her solo albums went to No. 1, they've sold less than a million copies between the two of them.
1. Dixie Chicks (32.5 million)
Albums: 30.5 million, Singles: 2 million

Ask a country fan why they feel betrayed by the Dixie Chicks, and they might not tell you that it all had to do with Natalie Maines' comments about a certain Texan president. No, the Chicks' crime was more serious: They turned their backs on country music. Those fans have good reason to feel that way, too: The trio's status as DFW's best-selling musical act of all time is emphatically thanks to their early work as a true-blue country outfit, with Wide Open Spaces and Fly selling 22 million copies alone between them. But no matter how you feel about the Chicks today, those numbers put into context just how staggeringly popular the group was at the height of their career.

Honorable mentions:

At this point, you're probably thinking there are some pretty obvious omissions from this list, but the numbers say otherwise. Denton's Sly Stone is arguably the most influential musician this side of Bob Wills to ever come from the area, but his work with Sly & the Family Stone has only sold a combined 10 million units — bringing him up a half million short of making the cut for this list. An even bigger surprise is the exclusion of Vanilla Ice who, while still the biggest-selling rapper to ever come from Dallas, also came up short with a combined 9 million sales. The same goes for the top-selling metal group, Pantera, who much like Stevie Ray Vaughan never got a certified single, but have sold 7 million albums.

Several other it-artists from DFW also came up short, in spite of their current popularity and/or status as local legends. Erykah Badu, for example, also has 7 million in sales, which comes up far short in matching her influence on contemporary hip-hop and R&B. Post Malone has already achieved 2 million in sales, thanks to his viral song "White Iverson," even though he's yet to release a full-length album. Fellow buzz-worthy artists like Leon Bridges and Grammy winner St. Vincent, meanwhile, have failed to get a certified album or single to their names.

A couple other big-selling names have close ties to DFW, but don't really qualify as being local. Don Henley is often cited for his connections to Denton, and he currently lives in Dallas, but the Eagles founding member — who's sold 12 million units as a solo artist — originally hails from Linden. Serial hit maker Usher was born in Dallas, but never actually lived here, which is too bad; he's sold over 30 million albums and singles combined, enough to give the Dixie Chicks a run for the No. 1 spot.
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Jeff Gage
Contact: Jeff Gage