Michael Jackson: King of the pop charts

'Thriller' has sold more than 28 million copies

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Michael Jackson's impact on pop music history is impossible to understate. "Thriller," the singer's career-defining album, has gone platinum 28 times over according to the RIAA, making it the top-selling studio album of all time. (Only an Eagles greatest-hits collection has sold more copies.) "Thriller" topped the Billboard 200 for 37 weeks, the second-longest run at No. 1 of any album in history.

Over the course of his solo career, Jackson had 47 tracks in the Hot 100, 13 of which went to No. 1. That's the most No. 1s of the '70s and '80s combined, behind only the Beatles and Mariah Carey for the most No. 1 hits in the rock era. Jackson was also the first artist to ever debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 (with "You Are Not Alone" on Sept. 2, 1995).

Though sales of Jackson's later albums were slow (his last studio project, "Invincible," from 2001, sold 2 million copies), his catalog continues to sell strongly. Since "Thriller" was reissued in February 2008, it has sold 774,000 copies in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan. The album re-entered Billboard's Top Pop Catalog chart at No. 1 with 166,000 sold in its first week. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, it was the 32nd biggest selling album in the world last year and the ninth best seller for Sony Music.

Keith Caulfield and Gary Trust contributed to this report.