There are some classic albums that continue to sell years, even decades, after their release. The Beatles Abbey Road, Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon, and The Eagles Hotel California come to mind, but the album that tops all of them is Michael Jackson's Thriller which has just reached the 30 million mark in the US, according the RIAA.
Released in 1982, the album helped lift the music industry from a recession, and has gone on to sell over 100 million copies world-wide.
The album also spent a record setting 37 weeks on top of the Billboard 200 album charts.
While Adele has had some impressive numbers with both her 21 (over 30 million worldwide), and 25 (5 million in the US so far) albums, it's fairly certain that we won't see an album with the sales legs of Thriller again, at least until another consumer-attractive physical format emerges.
It's a different music delivery world that we live in today, so the real numbers to watch are the number of streams and views that an album gets. You know you have a huge hit Thriller-like hit when you hit a billion, as Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Justin Bieber (among a few others) have found out.
That said, Thriller remains a stellar work that still holds up well today. It's the work of a lifetime that captures lightening in a bottle. About the only thing that doesn't work (at least for me) is the cover, which seems disconnected from the album title.