RIAA on Twitter

Gold & Platinum News

The Recording Industry’s New Diamond® Award Mines Best-Sellers

Led Zeppelin and Nirvana Albums are Newest Winners; Hootie & The Blowfish Advance Their Top Debut Status

Washington, DC - The Recording Industry Association of America’s newly announced Diamond Award has been bestowed on two additional titles from Led Zeppelin and an album by Nirvana as part of the organization’s award certifications for March 1999. The Diamond Award, which was unveiled earlier this month, honors recording artists who have achieved U.S. certified sales of 10 million units or more on an individual release. Currently, a total of 65 titles have qualified for the Diamond Award. The recipients span four decades of top-selling releases.

Led Zeppelin’s “Houses Of The Holy” (10 million) and “Led Zeppelin II” (11 million) are the latest to reach Diamond status. The band’s landmark album “Led Zeppelin IV” was previously awarded at 17 million. Led Zeppelin is only the third act, following the Beatles and Garth Brooks, to have three or more Diamond albums.

“Led Zeppelin is one of the most popular and influential rock bands of all time,” commented Hilary Rosen, President and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America. “Thirty years after their debut, the band’s appeal is as strong as ever. It’s fitting that these rock icons are multiple Diamond winners.”

Other March Highlights:

Nirvana’s “Nevermind” climbs to the 10 million level. It is one of four alternative rock albums at the 10 million mark, alongside U2’s “The Joshua Tree,” Pearl Jam’s “Ten,” and Green Day’s “Dookie.”

Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Cracked Rear View” advances to 16 million and is now tied with Boston’s self-titled album as the best-selling debut album of all time by a group. Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill,” which is also at 16 million, remains the best-selling U.S. debut by a solo artist. (Morissette previously released two albums in her native Canada.)

Shania Twain’s “Come On Over” reaches the nine million mark and LeAnn Rimes’ “Blue” hits eight million. These are among the four best-selling albums of all time by female country artists. They follow Twain’s “The Woman In Me,” the top-seller at 11 million, and Patsy Cline’s “Greatest Hits,” which is also at eight million.

Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill” hits the five million mark in the wake of its Grammy victory as Album of the Year. The album is already halfway to matching George Michael’s “Faith” as the best-selling solo debut spin-off effort. “Faith” was Michael’s first album after leaving Wham! “Miseducation” is Hill’s first album away from the Fugees.

‘N Sync’s “’N Sync” jumps to the six million mark. Among top-selling albums by teen oriented bands, it trails “Backstreet Boys” which is a Diamond winner at 10 million and New Kids On The Block’s “Hangin’ Tough” which hangs at eight million.

George Strait’s 1995 collection, “Strait Out Of The Box” reaches certified sales of six million and becomes of of the three best-selling box sets of all time. It trails “Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Live/1975-’85,” which is at 12 times Platinum. “Strait Out Of The Box” is tied with the 1990 retrospective, “Led Zeppelin.”

2Pac’s double-disc “Greatest Hits” album certifies at the five million mark, becoming the highest-certified hits anthology by a rap artist.

First-time double-Platinum achievers include Korn’s “Follow The Leader,” Ginuwine’s “The Bachelor,” Everlast’s “Whitey Ford Sings The Blues” and Tori Amos’ “Little Earthquakes.”

Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston prove to be singular sensations in the Gold single category. Their duet “When You Believe” from “The Prince Of Egypt” soundtrack marks the 18th Gold single for Houston and the 15th for Carey. Among solo females they trail Madonna who has 22 Gold singles and Janet Jackson with 19. Aretha Franklin is tied with Carey with 15.

Boyz II Men also are awarded a Gold single from “The Prince Of Egypt - Inspirational” album. “I Will Get There” marks their 10th Gold single. Among groups with the most Gold singles, Boyz II Men trail the Beatles with 24 and the Bee Gees with 11. They are tied with Creedence Clearwater Revival who also have 10 Gold singles.

A total of 30 Multi-Platinum, 17 Platinum and 20 Gold albums have been awarded for March 1999. Click here for a complete list of all Gold, Platinum and Multi-Platinum audio and music video titles. All certifications are calculated by Gelfand, Rennert & Feldman.

RIAA awards are based on manufacturer’s unit shipments and dollar value, net after returns. Gold is awarded at 500,000 units; Platinum at one million and Multi-Platinum at two million or more units. Diamond Awards honor artists that have sold 10 million units or more of a single release.


The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and financial vitality of the major music companies. Its members comprise the most vibrant record industry in the world. RIAA® members create, manufacture and/or distribute approximately 85% of all legitimate recorded music produced and sold in the United States.

In support of this mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conduct consumer, industry and technical research; and monitor and review state and federal laws, regulations and policies. The RIAA® also certifies Gold®, Platinum®, Multi-Platinum™ and Diamond sales awards as well as Los Premios De Oro y Platino™, an award celebrating Latin music sales.

Jonathan Lamy
Cara Duckworth
Liz Kennedy