This won't give Michael Jackson a peaceful easy feeling: The Eagles have snatched a piece of the crown from the King of Pop.
The band's 1976 album, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, has been certified for sales of 24-million copies by the Recording Industry Association of America, pulling it into a tie for first place on the all-time U.S. sales list with Jackson's once-thought-uncatchable Thriller.
The Eagles' album, which has outsold the Jackson collection by more than a 3-1 ratio since SoundScan began monitoring U.S. record sales in 1991, seems certain to soon pass Thriller.
"It's obvious that this band is an institution beyond anyone's wildest dreams," says the Eagles' longtime manager, Irving Azoff, when asked about the band's sales milestone. "This faceless, nameless band that's never gotten that much respect sort of just sneaks up on you."
Eagles drummer Don Henley, who co-wrote most of the group's material with band mate and fellow lead vocalist Glenn Frey, says the sales numbers for Their Greatest Hits are gratifying because they show that the music is enduring.
"You think about people listening to your songs when you're writing them, and you're hoping for a wide audience," says Henley, by phone from his home in Dallas, "but it never occurred to me that they would reach so many people.
"I like to think that we have somehow captured some of the essence of our time, that we have somehow touched a nerve in the fabric of our generation _ and subsequent generations. I don't think all these records are being bought by baby boomers."
Their Greatest Hits _ which features songs from the Eagles' first four albums, including the chart-topping singles One of These Nights and Best of My Love _ has crept up steadily on Jackson's 1982 blockbuster collection for more than a decade.
In 1984, when Thriller was certified by the RIAA for sales of 20-million units, the Eagles' record had sold about 10-million. Even as recently as 1993, sales of Their Greatest Hits trailed Thriller sales by 8-million units, according to RIAA certifications.
But while Thriller sales remained slow, the Eagles reunited in 1994 after a 14-year breakup and mounted one of the most successful concert tours in history, drawing more than 3.5-million fans and grossing about $210-million in more than 150 dates around the world before the two-year trek finally ended last August in Scotland.