Edited By Jonathan Cohen. August 05, 2004, 10:20 AM ET
Britney's Debut Tips 14 Million Mark
As many as 14 million copies of Britney Spears' debut album, "...Baby One More Time," have been put into circulation in the United States. In July, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified the 1999 Jive set 14 times platinum, reflecting shipments to U.S. retailers.
Reaching this level puts "...Baby," which debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 upon its release, in the same league as such classic albums as Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" (Epic), Metallica's "Metallica" (Elektra), Garth Brooks' "Ropin' the Wind" (Capitol Nashville) and Simon & Garfunkel's "Greatest Hits" (Columbia).
It also brings Spears' debut even with the self-titled debut album by fellow Jive pop act the Backstreet Boys, which was certified 14 times platinum in April 2001.
Spears' 2000 follow-up, "Oops!...I Did It Again," has previously been certified at the RIAA's diamond level (10 million copies shipped), while 2001's "Britney" is four times platinum and last year's "In the Zone" double-platinum.
Though the band's heyday is long past, Def Leppard is still racking up numbers for its breakthrough 1983 album, "Pyromania." The Mercury release, which brought the world the then-ubiquitous hits "Photograph" and "Foolin'," was certified at the diamond level last month. The U.K. group continues to record and tour, its most recently release being 2002's "X" (Universal).
Also reaching new multi-platinum heights in July was Keith Sweat's self-titled 1996 Elektra debut (4 million); Phil Collins' Atlantic collection, "Hits" (3 million); the Cure's "Disintegration (Elektra), No Doubt's "The Singles 1992-2003 (Interscope), Pantera's "Vulgar Display of Power" (Elektra), Grover Washington Jr.'s "Limelight" (Elektra) and Gretchen Wilson's Epic set "Here for the Party" (2 million).
A slew of recent releases also made their way to the platinum plateau (1 million copies shipped), including the Beastie Boys' "To the 5 Boroughs" (Capitol), Juvenile's "Juve the Great" (Cash Money/Universal), Avril Lavigne's "Under My Skin" (Arista), Los Lonely Boys' self-titled Epic debut, Brad Paisley's "Mud in the Tires" (Arista Nashville) and Yellowcard's "Ocean Avenue" (Capitol).
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.