It’s been six years since he passed away but Michael Jackson’s reign over pop music continues.
The Recording Industry Association of America announced today Jackson had sold over 30 million copies of his 1982 album Thriller.
The RIAA’s CEO spoke about the incredible achievement:
“RIAA has awarded Gold & Platinum records on behalf of the music business for nearly 60 years, but this is the first time an artist has crossed the 30X multi-Platinum plateau. We are honored to celebrate the unique status of Thriller in Gold & Platinum history. What an exceptional achievement and testament to Thriller’s enduring spot in our hearts and musical history.”
Thriller is still widely considered the pinnacle of pop music, signifying a turning point for the genre and for pop culture as it influenced everything from the way music videos were filmed and viewed, to breaking down racial barriers still present in the music industry at the time, with black artists rarely appearing on MTV or receiving regular radio play. Once Thriller was released, there’s no doubt everything changed.
Billboard listed the album’s various amazing achievements:
The Quincy Jones and Jackson-produced LP was also the first ever certified RIAA 20 times multi-platinum, doing so after 112 weeks on the album chart — less than two years in all. Seven tracks off the album became top 10 singles with three — “Beat It,” “Billie Jean” and “Thriller” — topping the singles chart. Worldwide, Thriller topped charts in nearly every market, hitting No. 1 in the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and apartheid South Africa. The album won a record-setting 8 Grammys with nominations in 12 categories — another first.
While artists today are beginning to measure up in sales and stature to the rock stars of yesteryear, there’s still no competition when it comes to the role of King of Pop.