No. 1 of the 1980s - Michael Jackson (181,681,000)
Michael Jackson trounced the competition in the 1980s. People can think whatever they want about the controversies that came to surround Jackson well after the 1980s, but during the decade he was successful to the point that few others have ever experienced. Leading into the decade, Jackson released 1979's Off the Wall which did very well (its sales would increase after the massive success of Jackson's first album of the 1980s), plus Jackson has released five studio albums in the 1970s.
But Michael Jackson's first album of the 1980s changed music. Thriller was released on November 30th, 1982 and produced seven singles. In fact, only two tracks on the record weren't released as singles. Thriller sold 70 million albums worldwide, including 34 million in the United States alone. The album sold almost 5 million in the UK. While Jackson was already popular, his personality and lifestyle seemed to change from the weight of the success of Thriller.
Jackson only released one other studio LP in the 1980s. The second was Bad which came out on August 31st, 1987. While Bad did not have the success that Thriller did - honestly, what could have? - Bad still sold 35 million copies worldwide. The album produced nine singles, including "Dirty Diana," "Man in the Mirror," and "Smooth Criminal."
Along with all the extended singles from Thriller and Bad, Jackson sold more albums in the 1980s than any other artist in any other decade, other than the Beatles in the 1960s. Jackson was also hugely successful on the 1990s as he sold 78,755,000 more records, but he would never come close to reaching his level of success in the 1980s.