NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the Estate of Michael Jackson, Epic Records and Legacy Recordings announced today 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 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.
"Perhaps Michael's most significant racial trailblazing came with music videos," wrote Joe Vogel in Man in the Music. Fascinated with the fledgling art form Michael wanted to tell a story and entertain on a grand scale. Despite the luscious cinematography, dramatic narrative and spectacular choreography of "Billie Jean", a fledgling MTV, which was programming white rock artists almost exclusively, refused to play it. Epic persisted. Once the wall came crashing down, MTV's ratings soared and a door was opened for a generation of African American artists. "He was MTV's Jackie Robinson," said cultural critic Toure. Next came the unforgettable short film for "Beat It" which featured Michael bringing two gangs together through the power of music and dance. And then there was "Thriller". Premiered at the AVCO Theatre in Los Angeles in 1983, it sold out every night for three weeks. No other video before or since has generated such excitement and has such a hold on our attention such that more than 30 years later we all share it as a collective memory and it remains the only music video to be inducted into the elite National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.
During his career, Michael Jackson sold more than a billion records worldwide, released 13 No.1 singles and became one of a handful of artists to be inducted twice into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized Jackson as the Most Successful Entertainer of All Time and ‘Thriller’ as the World's Top-Selling Album of All Time. His artistry, choreography and music continue to inspire generations of pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop artists and fans.