Gold Records: Marking a Milestone

On this date in 1942, the first gold record was awarded to Glenn Miller and his Orchestra.

Here are some things you may not have known about certification of record sales.

The record given to Miller was from his record company, RCA Victor, to celebrate the sales of 1.2 million copies of the single “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” Other gold records awarded by companies were to Elvis Presley in 1956 after selling 1 million copies of his single “Don’t Be Cruel.” A year later RCA Victor game Harry Belafonte a gold record for selling 1 million copies of his album “Calypso.”

These awards were not official, however. The Recording Industry of America introduced its gold record program for singles and albums in 1958. The official program required a record to sell at lease $1 million in retail sales. The sales numbers were restricted to U.S.-based labels and did not include exports.

The first RIAA-certified gold single was “Catch a Falling Star” by Perry Como. The first album to hit gold was the soundtrack from “Oklahoma!”

In 1976, the certification changed to add the platinum record for sales of 1 million or more copies. The gold record level was changed to 500,000 copies. The first platinum single was Johnnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady,” while the first album was “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” by Iron Butterfly.

In 1999, the Diamond certification was introduced for records that have sold more than 10 million copies.

According to the RIAA, the first record to be certified Diamond was “Can’t Slow Down” by Lionel Richie.

Our question: What is the second-best selling album in the United States behind “Thriller” by Michael Jackson?

Today is unofficially Umbrella Day, National Cream Cheese Brownie Day, and National Flannel Day.

It’s the birthday of actor Lon Chaney Jr., who was born in 1902; film director Alexander Payne, who is 56; and actress Elizabeth Banks, who is 43.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1970, the top song in the U.S. was “Thank You (Fallettin Me Be Mice Elf Agin)” by Sly and the Family Stone.

The No. 1 movie was “MASH,” while the novel “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” by John Fowles topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.


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