Among the various certifications issued by the Recording Industry Association (RIAA) in May is a truly notable achievement for Australian hard rock act AC/DC. The group’s 1980 breakthrough “Back in Black” was certified for U.S. shipments of 21 million copies, tying it for fifth place on the RIAA’s all-time best-sellers list.
The group’s first album with lead singer Brian Johnson, who replaced Bon Scott following his alcohol-related death, “Back in Black” was originally released by Atco and was reissued in 2003 by Epic along with the rest of the band’s catalog. The set was certified platinum (1 million U.S. copies shipped) just months after its August 1980 release.
“Back in Black” is now tied on the all-time list with Billy Joel’s “Greatest Hits Vol. 1 & II,” which reached 21 million in 2000. The leader of the list remains “Eagles/Their Greatest Hits” (Asylum), last certified in 2002 at 28 million. In second is Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” (Epic), which reached 27 million in an April RIAA accounting, followed by Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” (23 million/1999; Capitol) and “Led Zeppelin IV” (22 million/1999; Atlantic).
AC/DC also earned a triple-platinum certification in May for 1976’s “High Voltage.”
Others tipping new multi-platinum heights include Usher, whose latest album, “Confessions” (LaFace) has shipped nine million U.S. copies. Gwen Stefani’s solo debut “Love, Angel, Music, Baby” (Interscope) hit the double-platinum mark, as did Rascal Flatts’ “Feels Like Today” (Lyric Street) and Chicago’s “The Very Best Of: Only the Beginning” (Rhino).
Newly minted platinum titles in May were “Barrio Fino” by Daddy Yankee (VI Music), Jack Johnson’s “In Between Dreams” and “On and On” (Universal), Los Tigres Del Norte’s “Jefe de Jefes” (Fonovisa), Jason Mraz’s “Waiting for My Rocket To Come” (Elektra), Rob Thomas’ “Something To Be” (Atlantic) and Queen’s now-aptly titled “The Platinum Collection” (Hollywood).