Metallica’s self-titled 1991 album—commonly known as The Black Album—has just surpassed 16 million U.S. sales according to SoundScan, making it both the first album to cross that threshold and, accordingly, the biggest selling album since SoundScan started counting, also in 1991. For reference, there are 313 million people in the United States, which means that approximately one in every 20 has purchased a copy of Metallica at some point. (When adjusted for demographics like males with mullets, age 14-24, the number rises perilously close to one in one.) The album has also notably spent a whopping 307 non-consecutive weeks on the Billboard 200, including 20 weeks this year alone. (You don’t need to shift as many units nowadays to chart, but still, it’s an impressive number.) But Metallica shouldn’t rest on its laurels and piles of money and impressive art collections yet: Shania Twain’s Come On Over is within striking distance, and Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill is only about a million shy of the lead. (Anecdotal evidence has Jagged Little Pill a long front-runner in the used-CD derby, though.) Exit light, enter night, etc.
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