Atlanta Music Scene

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The Eagles overtake Michael Jackson for best-selling album honors

The best-selling album of all time honors has seesawed back to the Eagles.

The band’s “Greatest Hits 1971-1975” maintained that crown for nearly a decade, until Michael Jackson’s 1982 landmark “Thriller” bypassed it in 2009, a surge attributed to his untimely death.

But The Recording Industry Association of America released new data Monday that certifies the Eagles’ 1976 recording as 38x platinum, bumping “Thriller,” which is 33x platinum, to second place.

All figures are based on sales and streams. Until 2013, platinum status equated to the sale of 1 million albums or songs. But the dominance of digital music services forced a change to include streaming from YouTube, Spotify and other services. The new formula equates 1,500 streams of an album to one album sale and 10 song downloads to one album sale. 

The RIAA last tallied sales of the Eagles album in 2006 (29x platinum at the time). Sales and streams for “Thriller” were reportedly updated last year (the album is still tops in worldwide sales). 

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In more good news for the Eagles, the band’s 1977 “Hotel California” album has been certified as 26x platinum, placing it as the third best-selling album of all time. 

Eagles co-founder Don Henley said in a statement, "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.”

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About the Author

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers the Atlanta Music Scene and entertainment news for print and online.

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