The heavy-metal foursome's self-titled LP debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and still reigns as the MRC Data era's top seller.
Heavy metal's reputation as a niche music genre does not apply to Metallica.
The Bay Area band's self-titled fifth album (often called "The Black Album" because of its cover) debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 dated Aug. 31, 1991, and went on to become the biggest-selling album in the U.S. — 17.2 million copies to date — since MRC Data (originally called SoundScan) began tracking point-of-sale purchases in 1991. (Shania Twain's Come on Over ranks second with 15.7 million sold, followed by Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill at 15.2 million.)
"I think you file that one under 'mind f—,' " drummer Lars Ulrich marveled on Billboard's Pop Shop Podcast in 2016 of the achievement. "There are so many inherently bizarre things about that fact, I don't know where to begin."