We’re not entirely sure how to explain this, but the Associated Press is reporting that the Eagles’ Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) has become the best-selling album of all time in the United States, with about 38 million copies sold. That’s a significant lead over the previous record-holder, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, which got a big bump after his death but is currently sitting around 33 million. Their Greatest Hits was also the first album that the Recording Industry Association Of America ever granted a platinum certification for selling a million copies in 1976, meaning a ton of people bought it then have continued to buy it (and stream it) ever since.
“Desperado” is a great song, sure, but we have a hard time believing that new listeners are jumping on the Eagles bandwagon too frequently these days unless they really idolize that guy from that Seinfeld episode. However, maybe that’s the secret to the album’s success: Young listeners have so many options now—what with their Taylor Swifts and their Lil Yachtys—that it would be impossible for an entire generation to rally around a band like everyone did with Eagles in the ‘70s (though we’re getting close with Carly Rae Jepsen). As the Eagles generation gets older, they have to buy new copies of Their Greatest Hits on new formats, adding another few million sales when cassettes replace vinyl and then when CDs replace cassettes, and the number will just keep going up now that the RIAA counts streaming.
Seriously, though, nothing on this album is as good as “Thriller.”