After spending 35 years in reign as the biggest selling album in U.S. history, Michael Jackson’s Thriller has officially been dethroned. The RIAA recently revealed new data that calculated ’70s rock band The Eagles’ as the new keepers of the title.
According to the Recording Industry Association of America, The Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) sold 38 million copies while Thriller stands at 33 million. The album was originally released in 1976.
Despite the dethrone, Thriller is still the biggest selling album all over the world. The RIAA reports the classic to have sold a total of 47 copies worldwide.
The profound stats greatly reflect elements of the digital era with the count of streams and downloads. The RIAA adjusted their approach where 1500 streams or 10 song downloads are counted as one album sale.
This does not change the fact that Thriller is arguably the greatest album of all time. But, it certainly puts into question whether the succession is a fair one. The Eagles’ dethroned the King of Pop with a greatest hits project, an overall collection of their hit records over a span of years, reigning from multiple projects. While Thriller is a single project of Michael Jackson, his sixth studio album which happens to have seven hit records out of nine tracks. This should only prove the authentic drive and power of both albums.
Thriller is the album that honed Michael Jackson’s title as The King of Pop. Its record-breaking status earned the legend eight Grammy awards in 1984. Seven singles off the classic hit the top 10 of the US Billboard Hot 100 charts — “Thriller”, “The Girl Is Mine” feat. Paul McCartney, “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” “P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing),” and “Human Nature.”
The 14-minute long horror prodigious music video to the title track single, “Thriller,” became the first visual by a Black artist to air on MTV. Such a broken barrier allowed Black pop, rock, soul, and funk artists to gain shine on the mainstream television network. The moment Thriller was released into the world, it became a blueprint for Black artists when it comes to configuring their groove and maneuvering along the charts. Until this day, no album has been able to top the moving global influence Thriller has accomplished.