"Thriller," released in 1982 and featuring seven hit singles
including "Billie Jean," "Beat It" and its title track, had already
crossed 20 million copies in U.S. sales by 1984 during its 112th
week on Billboard's album chart, according to the Recording Industry
Association of America.
Its continued popularity after Jackson's death in 2009 from an
overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol underscores the
strength of the late singer's appeal. The King of Pop remains the
biggest-selling recording artist of all time.
"RIAA has awarded gold and 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," RIAA Chairman and Chief
Executive Cary Sherman said in a statement.
"Thriller" has also surpassed sales of 100 million copies worldwide,
according to the RIAA statement.
"Thriller" has sold more than 2.1 million units in the United States
since Jackson's death, according to Nielsen Music.
The album and its music videos, including one for the title song
"Thriller" that took its inspiration from horror films and won
widespread acclaim, helped the African-American singer overcome
racial barriers by earning Jackson a place on MTV, which until then
had overwhelmingly featured white rock acts.
The next highest-selling album of all time after "Thriller" is the
Eagles' "Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975," with sales of 29 million,
according to the RIAA.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)
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