Latin Music Week

Ask Billboard: Michael Jackson, Adina Howard, The Beatles

Keith answers questions about Michael Jackson, Adina Howard, The Beatles and more!

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.



Hello! It's a treat reading your column every week! I wanted to ask about Michael Jackson's 25th anniversary reissue of "Thriller," which this week returned to No. 1 on the Top Pop Catalog chart and is currently the 15th biggest-selling album in the country (according to the Billboard Comprehensive Albums chart), no doubt due to the album being a Halloween staple.

I noticed that "Thriller" was still certified at 27 million copies sold (and has been since 2005) by the Recording Industry Association of America, and was wondering what the album has sold since the reissue in February. One would think that it should be certified at least 28 or 29 million by now, since the reissue has done so well. Thanks very much!

Ron Raymond, Jr.
Winslow, Maine

Hi Ron,

Actually, it wasn't just the time of year that helped "Thriller," it was also how the iTunes Store sold the album for only $4.99 last week (and it included a download of the music video for "Thriller," too).

The album jumped from No. 41 to No. 1 on Top Pop Catalog Albums this week with 31,000 (up 1,008%). Of the set's overall 28,000 unit gain, 99% of it was made up of digital downloads.

So far this year, the album has spent 11 weeks atop the Catalog chart, owed mostly to its 25th anniversary reissue earlier this year. The set is 2008's top selling catalog title, having moved 718,000.


Hello Keith,

I love reading your column every week and I think it's amazing whenever you find information for forgotten/obscure artists. My question is concerning singer Adina Howard's (best known for her one-hit, "Freak Like Me") most recent album, "Private Show." I know it never charted on any of the Billboard charts, but I was wondering if you could find out the sales of it so far since its release last year as well as how the singles off it did?

George Portades

Hi George,

Everyone remembers "Freak Like Me!" The single spent two weeks at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. (It was trapped behind Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It," which spent seven weeks atop the list.)

So, Adina Howard's "Private Show" has sold 4,000 since it was released last year. Combined, the various tracks on the album have sold 6,000 digital downloads. The biggest seller is "Tease," which has moved nearl 2,000 downloads.


Hello Keith,

I was wondering if it is true that the Jackson 5 had more charted hit singles than the Beatles?

August Hayes
Suwanee, Ga.

Hi August,

Ooh, this is an easy one.

If we are looking only at the Billboard Hot 100 chart, which is our signature singles chart that started 50 years ago, the Beatles clearly had more hits.

The Beatles racked up 71 Hot 100 hits between 1964 and 1996. The Jackson 5 notched 30 hits between 1969 and 1989, and that's counting singles credited to the Jacksons, as well.

The Jackson 5 morphed into the Jacksons in 1976 when the group left Motown Records and joined Epic Records. Concurrently, Jermaine left the group and was replaced by younger brother Randy.