Michael Jackson’s Thriller Has Been Overtaken As The Best-Selling Album Of All Time

by : Charlie Cocksedge on : 20 Aug 2018 00:59
Michael JacksonMichael JacksonGetty

It seems the King of Pop has finally been dethroned, in the United States at least, after sales of another album surpassed those of Michael Jackson’s Thriller.


So who was it to take the top spot? Jackson’s Thriller was released in 1982, so it must be a newer, more modern record by a cool new artist taking the charts by storm, right? Post Malone? Travis Scott? Cardi B?

Well, their albums may one day surpass Thriller in terms of sales, but not this time. Give it 40 years or so.

Nope, this time it was the Eagles’ album Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) which was first released in, surprisingly, 1976.


According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Eagles’ album hit sales and streams of 38 million this week, making it certified 38x platinum and moonwalking its way past Jackson’s classic, which is currently only 33x platinum.

The RIAA also said the Eagle’s iconic album Hotel California, released in 1977, is now 26x platinum, making it the third best-selling album of time, according to Billboard.

So why the sudden surge in the Eagles’ popularity? Well, the last time the RIAA tallied sales of the album was 2006, so they had some catching up to do. Whereas Thriller’s sales and streams record was updated last year.


In a statement, the Eagles founding member and famous singing-drummer Don Henley said:

We are grateful for our families, our management, our crew, the people at radio and, most of all, the loyal fans who have stuck with us through the ups and downs of 46 years. It’s been quite a ride.

It seems the rivalry between Michael and the Eagles is not a new one. Though Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) had been at the top spot previously, Thriller made its way back to the top after the King of Pop died in 2009.

RIAA’s platinum status used to rely on one million physical album or single sales. In 2013, however, the company started to incorporate streams from YouTube, Spotify and other streaming services. Now, 1,500 streams is equivalent to an album sale, and 10 song downloads equals one album.


This isn’t the first record held by Michael Jackson to be beaten this year.

Since its release in 2016, Post Malone’s debut album, Stoney, has spent 77 weeks in the Billboard top 10 R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart, currently sitting at number nine.

The huge number of weeks means that Stoney has just overtaken Michael Jackson’s Thriller for the longest stay in Billboard‘s top 10 since the chart began.

Post MalonePost MaloneGetty

Jackson’s stone cold classic was released in 1982 and spent 76 weeks in the top ten, 12 more weeks than Whitney Houston’s Whitney Houston, which now sits at third place with 64 weeks.

The new record proves Posty’s longevity and an ever-growing fanbase. His debut album was not an initial hit, and took an epic 51 weeks to reach number one on the chart – itself a Billboard record.

However, Jackson’s Thriller does still hold the title of most weeks spent at number one, with 37. Stoney, on the other hand, only spent three weeks at the top spot.

The Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) debuted at number four on the US Billboard charts, reaching number one the following week where it stayed for five weeks.

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Charlie Cocksedge

Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist and sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.

Topics: Music


  1. Billboard

    RIAA: Eagles' Greatest Hits Certified 38x Platinum, Passing 'Thriller'