In 2006, the bestselling album of all time was still Michael Jackson’s famous pop-epic Thriller. But, just twelve years later, The Recording Industry Association of America has checked the numbers and it turns out the current kings-of-pop aren’t Jackson anymore, but instead, a band beloved by dads everywhere: The Eagles. As of Monday, the album called The Eagles, Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975, is the number one bestselling album of all time because as of 2018, it has sold 38 million copies.
Interestingly enough, The Eagles are also closing in on Michael Jackson from below, too. While Thriller still holds the number two spot with 33 million copies sold, the third place entry is another Eagles record; Hotel California, which has sold 26 million copies to date. Below the Eagles in the third, fourth, and fifth place spots are rock stars Billy Joel, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd all tied at 23 million for Joel’s Greatest Hits, Led Zeppelin IV, and The Wall. This puts ACDC’s Back in Black in sixth place with 22 million.
Obviously, The Eagles are a popular band, but the fact that they have officially have the best-selling album of all-time, at least in terms of American sales, speaks to the obvious power of dad rock. No one has ever accused The Eagles with being as profound as The Beatles or as innovative as Michael Jackson, but perhaps, at the end of the day, that’s not what popular music is supposed to do. For most people, a good pop-rock song is like comfort food, which, is why arguably, The Eagles anthem “Take It Easy” is a combination of gourmet mac and cheese mixed with a medium rare cheeseburger. It isn’t giving you just some of what you want, it’s giving you all of what you want.
And if you don’t like “Take It Easy” or The Eagles numerous other simplistic songs, there are at least 38 million people who disagree with you. For the rest of us, it’s a good time to remember to take the message of “Take It Easy” to heart and not let the sound of our own wheels make us crazy.