Prince's 5 best-selling albums

When Prince died on April 21, 2016, he left behind an extensive catalog which could not to be confined to a single genre.

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Jodi Upchurch
Brandon Griggs, CNN
CNN — When Prince died on April 21, 2016, he left behind an extensive catalog which could not to be confined to a single genre.

His singular sound, which combined elements of rock, jazz, R&B, funk and pop, was as identifiable as the artist himself.

As a solo artist and performing as Prince & the Revolution, he had five albums go multi-platinum in the US, according to the Recording Industry Association of America. (For an album to be considered platinum, it must sell 1 million units.)

On the third anniversary of Prince's death, we look back at his top-selling albums.

'Purple Rain' (soundtrack)

13x multi-platinum

Released June 25, 1984

Singles: "When Doves Cry," "Let's Go Crazy," "Purple Rain," "I Would Die 4 You," "Take Me With U"

The first album credited to Prince and The Revolution, this was his blockbuster -- and one of the defining albums of the '80s. The soundtrack to his rock drama, "Purple Rain," it was released a month before the movie and helped drive audiences to theaters. It also won Prince an Oscar for Best Original Song Score.


4x multi-platinum

Released October 27, 1982

Singles: "1999," "Little Red Corvette," "Delirious," and "Let's Pretend We're Married"

This double album was Prince's breakthrough and spawned three hit singles, including "Little Red Corvette" -- his first Top 10 hit. Its title song became a dance-floor smash and remained a popular party tune through the last years of the millennium.

'Around the World in a Day'

2x multi-platinum

Released April 22, 1985

Singles: "Raspberry Beret," "Pop Life," and "America"

This was the first release from Prince's Paisley Park Records, and although it was considered a critical disappointment after the genius of "Purple Rain," the psychedelic-tinged album produced two Top 10 hits. From 1985 to 1992, Prince would release eight albums, one each year.

'Batman' (soundtrack)

2x multi-platinum

Released June 20, 1989

Singles: "Batdance," "Partyman," "The Arms Of Orion," and "Scandalous"

The soundtrack to Tim Burton's box-office smash "Batman." Some critics thought Prince's songs didn't fit the superhero movie, while others thought they brought it a playful sensuality. The movie was produced by Warner Brothers, who also acted as Prince's record company.


2x multi-platinum

Released November 19, 1996

Singles: "Betcha By Golly Wow!" and "The Holy River"

This was Prince's first triple album and was released under his new name, an unpronounceable symbol. Its title refers to Prince's joy over his freedom from his longtime contract with Warner Brothers.

It was around this time that the media began using the moniker, "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince."

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