Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thar's gold in them thar records

The first gold record album was awarded on this date in 1958 by the Record Industry Association of America.  If you can guess the LP we're gonna give you barley, carrots and pertaters, pasture fer the cattle, and spinach and termaters.

OK then, it's Oklahoma!  (And because we know you're wondering, the first gold single went to Perry Como for "Catch a Falling Star.")

Michael Jackson was a thrill a minute so it's not surprising to see the King of Pop at the tippity top of the RIAA's list.  And it does no good to quibble about this because we're talking about certified album sales, not somebody's arbitrary rankings. A couple surprises, though: Shania Twain's Come On Over (20 million!) has outsold Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon (15 million) and the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper (12 million). And Carole King's Tapestry, one of our all-time favorites, is well down the list at 10 mil sold along with Tom Petty's Greatest Hits, U2's Joshua Tree and Eric Clapton's Unplugged.

Kind of strange rounding numbers to the nearest 1 million, since some of our favorite albums have never even reached 5,000 in sales. But here you have it, the Top 10:

1. Michael Jackson, Thriller, 1982, 29 million
2. Eagles, Greatest Hits (1971-75), 1976, 29 million
3. Pink Floyd, The Wall, 1979, 23 million
4. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV, 1971, 23 million
5. AC/DC, Back in Black, 1980, 22 milliion
6. Garth Brooks, Double Live, 1998, 21 million
7. Billy Joel, Greatest Hits Vol. I & II, 1985, 21 million
8. Shania Twain, Come on Over, 1997, 20 million
9. Beatles, White Album, 1968, 19 million
10. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours, 1977, 19 million

For a list of the RIAA's Top 100 click here.


  1. I must say I was a Thriller fan, remember when he did the video on MTV, as a bunch of goulish looking creatures. He sure did have the moves, and quite frankly quite a few memorible songs, on that album.
    Huge AC/DC fan, Rock on......Dirty Deeds done dirt cheap....Safe in New York City...stiff upper lip.....all great songs.
    Beatles White Album..anyone who was a "Hippie" had to it their collection of LP's
    Fleetwood Mac...loved um, especially Don't Stop... to bad Bill Clinton had to make it his theme song on his swearing in day as US President....hated Clinton, still Love the song tho.
    and Carole King is my most favorite chick of all times, loved her then still do, she was on channel 10 with James Taylor, and they were awesome.Infact I want to dedicate her song You've got a friend, to a special dear friend of mine that I met for the first time at a bar called Halftime.
    Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and LIFE to everything.

  2. Here's a bit of a wrench thrown into the works: Pink Floyd's "The Wall" sold only HALF of the units mentioned above (23 million), since double albums are counted double! And worldwide ...
    "The Dark Side of the Moon" has sold more than 45 million units
    and is the longest-charting (741 weeks, and now that Billboard has a "reissue" list, it's charting again!) album ever. By anyone.

  3. Good observation, Wayne the Train! Dark Side is also the biggest selling album on the PSSST big board! (but ranks only No. 15 on the RAII list).