Eagles ‘Greatest Hits’ Now #1 U.S. Album of All-Time

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It’s The Eagles’ world now—or at least their country. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America)—the folks who keep track of what music is selling in the United States and just how many copies a given recording has moved—announced in August 2018 that the Eagles’ album Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975 is now the top album of all-time in the country, surpassing Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

The Eagles’ 1976 collection, which chronicles only the first four years of hits by the California group, has now been certified 38-times platinum, meaning it has sold and streamed some 38 million copies in the U.S. alone. In contrast, Thriller, released in late 1982, has sold 33 million copies.

One week after after its release, Their Greatest Hits became the first album to be certified Platinum by the RIAA. The date was February 24, 1976.

Remarkably, the Eagles’ hits compilation, which includes such classics as “Take It Easy,” “Lyin’ Eyes,” “Already Gone,” “Desperado,” “Take It to the Limit,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling” and “Best of My Love,” was released just months before Hotel California, which quickly became (and remains) the band’s biggest non-hits album.

Watch the Eagles perform “Take It Easy”

But not to worry, Eagles fans: Hotel California is now the third biggest album of all-time, with total sales of 26 million in the States.

Related: The making of Hotel California

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

On February 21, 2019, the RIAA announced that The Beatles’ self-titled 1968 album (aka The White Album) had picked up enough sales from its 50th anniversary reissues in 2018 to vault the title to fourth place.

The all-time Top 11, as of February 2019, via the RIAA

11. Rumours – Fleetwood Mac (20 million)

10. Cracked Rear View – Hootie & the Blowfish (21)

9. Double Live – Garth Brooks (21)

8. Back in Black – AC/DC (22)

7. The Wall – Pink Floyd (23)

6. Led Zeppelin IV (23)

5. Greatest Hits Volume I & Volume II – Billy Joel (23)

4. The Beatles – The Beatles (24)

3. Hotel California – Eagles (26)

2. Thriller – Michael Jackson (33)

1. Their Greatest Hits – Eagles (38)

Early Eagles (L-R): Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Glenn Frey (Photo: Henry Diltz; used by permission)

Billboard noted that the last time sales were tallied for the Eagles’ hits release, in 2006, it had already reached 29x platinum, meaning that it has sold an additional nine million copies in the past dozen years.

Billboard also clarifies, in its article, that the RIAA began to consider streams, as well as sales, in 2013, with 1,500 streams (on online services such as Spotify, YouTube and Pandora) the equivalent of one album sale.

The band has seen many ups and downs in recent years, most notably the 2016 passing of co-founder Glenn Frey. After a brief hiatus, during which their future was undetermined, the Eagles began touring again, with Deacon Frey (son of Glenn) and country star Vince Gill recruited into the band. The band is currently on tour through October.

The Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.

Watch the Eagles perform “Peaceful Easy Feeling” on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert in 1974

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