Elton John has become the music industry’s second-bestselling solo artist, according to the August certifications released Tuesday by the Recording Industry Assn. of America.
With the certification of John’s 1974 “Greatest Hits” at 15 million units, the entertainer’s career tally climbs to 60.6 million units.
John’s total trails the 81 million units currently logged by Garth Brooks, who is the industry’s bestselling solo artist and second-highest selling artist.
John and Brooks are separated from the top slot of the overall listing by the Beatles’ 105.5 million tally; while John must also top Led Zeppelin’s 64.3 million unit tally and the Eagles’ 62 million unit total in order to become the industry’s highest certified artist by any category.
Although John is far behind Brooks, the rise still puts Sir Reginald Dwight ahead of Billy Joel and Barbra Streisand, who check in with 60 million and 57.3 million career units, respectively.
During August, the RIAA — which tracks shipments from record companies to retailers but not yet sold through to consumers — certified 19 platinum albums (1 million units), 22 gold albums (500,000 units) and 22 multiplatinum albums.
John’s most recent offering, the 1997 Rocket Records/Island disc “The Big Picture,” was simultaneously certified gold and platinum. It marked the singer’s 32nd gold and 21st platinum certifications.
As a result, John has the highest tally of gold albums for a solo artist behind Elvis Presley, who has 62 gold discs; and Neil Diamond, who has 34 gold albums.
The Dave Matthews Band scores its third career multiplatinum certification with “Before These Crowded Streets,” its RCA Records disc that entered the album sales chart at No. 1 when it debuted in May.
The band’s “Under the Table and Dreaming” and “Crash” are certified at 5 million and 4 million units, respectively.
George Strait scored his first triple-platinum certification of a studio album with his MCA Records Nashville disc “Carryin’ Your Love With Me.”
Strait previously had a box set, a soundtrack and a pair of greatest hits discs reach the 3 million plateau.
Cher scored the first triple-platinum certification in her 33-year recording career with “Heart of Stone,” the 1989 Geffen Records album, topping 3 million units.
First-time platinum certifications went to “Zoot Suit Riot” from Universal Records newcomers Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, and “Stunt” from Reprise Records act Barenaked Ladies.