“Thriller” Becomes the First Album to Go Triple Diamond

The landmark album has sold thirty million copies in the US since its 1982 release.

As Billboard reported this morning, Michael Jackson‘s Thriller has reached a new milestone. The 1982 album—which brought the world “Billie Jean,” “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’,” and viral videos of dancing prisoners—has now sold in excess of thirty million copies in the United States, making it the first album ever to be certified triple diamond. And Thriller‘s success isn’t limited to the US—the album has sold over 100 million albums worldwide, making up a significant chunk of the billion-plus albums he’s sold.

While today’s news further cements Thriller‘s legacy as the most popular album in American history, it does have some competition. The Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits 1971–1975 is holding close at twenty-nine million records sold, while Billy Joel‘s Greatest Hits Volume I and II has sold twenty-three million copies. The next-most-popular non-compilation albums are Led Zeppelin’s IV and Pink Floyd‘s The Wall, both of which have also sold twenty-three million records, which will surprise nobody who has ever visited a used record store or college dorm room.

Incredibly, Thriller managed to go double diamond—a feat only nine albums have ever achieved—less than two years after it was released. Seven of the album’s nine tracks were released as singles, which makes you wonder how many copies it would’ve sold if they’d gone ahead and put out “Baby Be Mine” and “The Lady in My Life.”


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