The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Estate of Michael Jackson, Epic Records and Legacy Recordings announced that Michael Jackson’s THRILLER is the first album in riaa Gold & Platinum Program history to be certified 30X Multi-Platinum for U.S. sales, continuing The King of Pop’s reign as the biggest selling artist of all time with worldwide sales of over 100 million for Thriller and 1 billion overall.
“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,” said Cary Sherman, Chairman & CEO, riaa. “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.”
Michael Jackson’s masterpiece Thriller, produced by Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson, won a record setting 8 Grammys, more than any album ever, and has been earning awards and setting new standards of success since its release on November 30, 1982. Thriller spent nearly 2 -1/2 years on the Billboard album chart and holds a modern day record of 37 weeks at #1. It was the first album in history to spend each of its first 80 weeks in the album chart’s Top 10, a feat only reached by one other album in the more than three decades since. During its 112th week on Billboard’s album chart, it became the first title ever to be certified riaa 20Xmulti-Platinum (October 30, 1984). Worldwide, Thriller went to #1 in practically every country in the world, including the UK, France, Italy, Australia, Denmark, Belgium, South Africa, Spain, Ireland, New Zealand, Canada and apartheid South Africa.
The album was acclaimed for its range and depth. Rolling Stone referred to the album as a ”watershed” moment for Michael, and Newsweek prophetically wrote that “Michael’s voice haunts these songs, gives them heart…It is what will make this music endure.” Seven tracks from the album became Top 10 singles, and three, “Beat It”, “Billie Jean” and “Thriller”, went #1. ALL nine assumed a permanent place in hearts and memories of everyone on the planet.
More than just an album, Thriller has remained a global cultural multi-media phenomenon for both the 20th and the 21st centuries, smashing musical barriers and changing the frontiers of pop forever. The music on Thriller is so dynamic and singular that it defied any definition of rock, pop or soul that had gone before. ‘”Beat It” was a new kind of pop rock hybrid and demolished the longstanding segregation between black and white music with Eddie Van Halen’s incendiary guitar. On “The Girl Is Mine” a black man and a white man bantered about the same girl. On the same album were songs like the African-rooted “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” and the rhythm and blues based “Billie Jean”. No one had ever released an album with such a vast range of material.