Metallica's 1991 self-titled fifth album, commonly known as "the black album," has surpassed Shania Twain's 1997 record, Come On Over, as the best-selling CD since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking albums sales in May 1991. Just before Christmas, the black album hit total sales of 15,490,000 copies, eclipsing Come On Over's total of 15,487,000. The Nielsen SoundScan system began compiling sales electronically more than 18 years ago on a weekly basis, providing more accurate sales figures that form the basis for the Billboard music charts.
Although Metallica had scored their first radio and video airplay with their previous effort, 1988's . . . And Justice For All, the black album was the band's biggest commercial breakthrough, producing five singles and making them into one of the most popular rock bands in the world.
The other best-selling Metallica albums in the SoundScan era are (numbers do not include copies sold before May 1991):
. . . And Justice For All (1988) -- 5,330,000
Load (1996) -- 5,049,000
Master Of Puppets (1986) -- 4,578,000
Ride The Lightning (1984) -- 4,334,000
Reload (1997) -- 4,036,000
Metallica's latest effort, Death Magnetic, has sold 1,853,000 copies in the United States since it was released in September 2008.
Metallica will resume touring in early 2010 with trips to South America and Europe.
ASK YOUR LISTENERS
How do you feel about the black album? Is it your favorite Metallica record? If not, which one is?
Do you think in the modern era of the Internet and downloading that any single album will ever sell 15 million copies again?
Are you surprised that a heavy metal album has sold the most copies in the last 18 years, even though it's not a "mainstream" genre of music?
INTERNET COMMENTS at Blabbermouth.net -- agree or not?
King Salami wrote: "Its a good album and deserves it's success. The ones after it though dont deserve a fraction of their sales."
Ultimate Warrior wrote: "Not Metallica's best, but they deserve to be atop this list. It is a good day for metal. Greatest American band of all time."
Dr. Gonzo wrote: "One of the worst albums ever made. And you sad pathetic people went out and bought this album. The world has no credibility. Metallica became MTV sellouts and you helped then achieve it."
Metal Fisted wrote: "may not of been their best album, but it did alot to promote the metal genre in the 90s. I think it almost single handedly saved metal from extinction in America during the rise of grunge. To say American heavy metal owes its existence to this album wouldn't be an understatement imho."