Strong holiday sales goose RIAA December certs

The annual holiday sales spike has once again pumped up year-end sales certifications, according to the Recording Industry Assn. of America, which released its December roundup on Thursday.

Such veteran top-sellers as MCA’s Meat Loaf (3 million albums sold for “Bat Out of Hell II — Back Into Hell), Columbia’s Mariah Carey (3 million sold for “Music Box”) and Columbia’s Billy Joel (3 million sold for “River of Dreams”) took advantage of the Christmas season to pad their already hefty sales totals.

New to the multiplatinum ring, awarded for multiple sales of 1 million units, were Windham Hill’s George Winston (3 million sold for “December”) Arista’s Toni Braxton (2 million for her self-titled debut) and SBK’s Barney the Dinosaur (2 million sold for “Barney’s Favorites, Vol. I,” ensuring a Vol. II is on its way).

Other acts ringing up multiplatinum included Rush, whose “2112” on Mercury Records has sold 2 million units; Donna Summer, whose Polydor albums “Bad Girls” and “On the Radio — Greatest Hits Vol. 1 and 2” both were certified for sales of 2 million units; Alan Jackson, “A Lot About Livin’ (And a Little ‘Bout Love,” 3 million Arista units; and Pearl Jam, “Ten,” 6 million sold for Epic Records.

Also multiplatinum were Def Leppard, “Hysteria,” 11 million Mercury units; Fleetwood Mac, “Rumours,” now at 14 million units for Warner Bros.; Rod Stewart, “Storyteller — the Complete Anthology 1964-1990,” 2 million units for Warner Bros.; and Brooks & Dunn,”Hard Workin’ Man,” 2 million units for Arista.

Also, Queen, “Classic Queen,” 2 million units for Hollywood Records; the Eagles, “Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975,” 14 million Elektra albums; Alice in Chains, “Dirt,” 2 million units for Columbia; Reba McEntire, “Greatest Hits Vol. II,” 2 million MCA units; Blind Melon, “Blind Melon,” 2 million Capitol units; various artists, “Common Thread — Songs of the Eagles,” 2 million units for Giant Records; Janet Jackson, “Janet,” 5 million units for Virgin; and Enigma, “MCMXC A.D.,” 2 million units for Charisma.

Platinum albums, awarded for sales of 1 million units, went to Rush for the Mercury albums “Hemispheres,””A Farewell to Kings,” and “Fly by Night”; Reba McEntire, “Greatest Hits Vol. II” on MCA/Nashville; George Strait, “Easy Come, Easy Go” on MCA/Nashville; Cream, “Strange Brew — The Very Best of Cream” on RSO/Polydor; and Prince, “The Hits/The B Sides” on Paisley Park.

Also platinum were Lorrie Morgan, “Watch Me” on BNA Entertainment; Rod Stewart, “Storyteller — The Complete Anthology 1964-1970” on Warner

Bros.; Boyz II Men, “Christmas Interpretations” on Motown; the Cranberries, “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We” on Island; various artists, “Common Thread — The Songs of the Eagles” on Giant; Marvin Gaye, “Marvin Gaye’s Greatest Hits” on Motown; Phil Collins, Both Sides” on Atlantic; and Def Leppard , “Retro Active” on Mercury.

Gold albums, awarded for sales topping 500,000 units, included Little Texas, “Big Time” on Warner Bros.; Prince’s “The Hits I” and “The Hits/The B Sides” on Paisley Park; Tears For Fears, “The Hurting” on Mercury; The Gap Band, “Gap Gold/Best Of” on Total Experience; Rush, “Caress of Steel” and “Fly by Night,” both on Mercury Records, and “Counterparts,” released on Atlantic; Reba McEntire , “Greatest Hits Vol. II” on MCA/Nashville; and George Strait, “East Come, Easy Go,” also on MCA/Nashville.

Also gold were Cream, “Strange Brew — The Very Best of Cream” on RSO/Polydor; Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, “20 Years of Dirt: Best of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band” on Warner Bros.; various artists, “MTV Party to Go, Vol. III” on Tommy Boy; Tears for Fears, “Elemental,” on Mercury; Tool, “Undertow,” on Zoo Entertainment; and Robert Plant, “Fate of Nations,” on Atlantic.

Also gold were various artists, “A GRP Christmas Collection” on GRP; Boyz II Men, “Christmas Interpretations” on Motown; various artists, “Sound-track — Free Willy” on MJJ/Epic; Salt ‘N Pepa, “Very Necessary” on Next Plateau; Toby Keith, “Toby Keith” on Mercury; 10,000 Maniacs, “MTV Unplugged” on Elektra; and Xscape, “Humin’ Comin’ At ‘Cha,” on So So Def/Columbia.

Also gold were Paul Simon, “1964-1993” on Warner Bros.; Clay Walker, “Clay Walker,” on Giant; Aaron Tippin, “Call of the Wild” on RCA Nashville; Tanya Tucker, “Greatest Hits 1990-1992” on Liberty; Doug Stone, “From the Heart” on Epic; the Beatles, “The Beatles 1967-1970” on Capitol; various artists, “Common Thread — The Songs of the Eagles” on Giant; and various artists, “Soundtrack — Sliver” on Virgin.

Also gold were Marvin Gaye, “What’s Goin’ On” on Motown; Phil Collins, “Both Sides” on Atlantic; Def Leppard, “Retro Active” on Mercury; They Might Be Giants , “Flood,” on Elektra; David Sanborn, “Up Front” on Elektra; Weird Al Yankovic, “Alapalooza” on Scotti Bros.; Joe Diffie, “Honky Tonk Attitude” on Epic; and Trisha Yearwood, “The Song Remembers When” on MCA.

Platinum singles for December, awarded for sales of 1 million units, included Mariah Carey, “Hero” on Columbia; and Janet Jackson, “Again” on Virgin. Gold singles, awarded for sales of 500,000 units, included Alan Jackson, “Chattahoochee” on Arista; Ugly Kid Joe, “Cats in the Cradle” on Stardog/Mercury; Michael Jackson, “Will You Be There” on MJJ/Epic; Toni Braxton, “Breathe Again” on Arista; 2 Pac, “I Get Around” on Interscope; Tevin Campbell, “Can We Talk” on Qwest; Mariah Carey, “Hero” on Columbia; Janet Jackson, “Again” on Virgin; and 2 Pac, “Keep Ya Head Up” on Interscope.

Other gold singles included Shaquille O’Neal, “I Know I Got Skillz” on Jive; R. Kelley, “Sex Me (Parts 1 & 2)” on Jive; and Michael Bolton, “Said I Loved You , But I Lied” on Columbia.

Eazy-E scored the only short-form albums certified platinum and gold, awarded for sales of 1 million and 500,000 units, respectively. Eazy’s winner was “It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187 Um Killa” on Ruthless Records.

Video certifications for December saw Ray Stevens’ “Comedy Video Classics” wrack up a multiplatinum award for Curb Home Video, scoring sales of 300,000 units. Platinum awards, granted for sales of 100,000 units, went to Stevens and John Tesh’s “A Romantic Christmas” on GTS Records.

Gold awards for December, granted for sales of 50,000 units, went to Stevens, Tesh, Gaither Vocal Band’s “Homecoming Video Album” on Star Song Moving Pictures; Bill Gaither & Friends, “Reunion: A Gospel Homecoming Celebration” on Star Song Moving Pictures; Prince, “The Hits Collection” on Paisley Park/Warner Music Video; and Reba McEntire, “Greatest Hits” on MCA Music Video.

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